Monday 21 February 2022

NFTs: cool TOOL or rad FAD?

Spud in Paris; not yet NFT though.

When Beeple's non-fungible token crypto-art, Everydays*, sold for 69.3 m  at Christie's, it grabbed my attention. EVERDAYS is recorded on a blockchain (Ethereum). If the work is re-sold Beeple gets a cut.  Like cryptocurrency, NFTs leave a massive carbon footprint. But it's been a boon for digital artists, designers, games**, virtual property, films, you-name-it.

Bored Ape Yacht club's four founders created 10,0000 images of a bored ape. They originally sold for $300. An NFT owner meant to list his ape for $30,000. By mistake, it was priced at $3000 and snapped up. Paris Hilton paid $285,000  for her BA.  At this writing, BAYC was worth approx. 2.8bn. The buckets of money sloshing around the NFT world is off the charts.

A legacy player's recreation of London property sold for $54m before the site was launched. The Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal are for sale listed at $20,000 and $40,000. Originally they sold for $400 each. You can still buy property on Fantasy Island for around $105,000. A digital house on Mars costs $500,000. Nutty or not, little margie wants in on the digi-action. Eki!!

Naggy being persuasive: illustration By Maggy Fellman


*(5836 consecutive days). Digital artist Mike Winkelman, in an interview in the NYT, said most of his work was crap.
**Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard for 68.7BN, the company's most expensive acquisition.
**Sony bought Bungie for 3.6BN

Note: Non-fungible token copyrights represent a specific item. If sold, the creator gets a cut. They can't be used to buy stuff like crypto coins.

Sources: The Economist, Financial Times, New York Times, BuzzFeed, Shark

Next week: CONDOMS come in handy: ask the CUBANS

Note: Well where should I start? I guess cryptocurrency. I see it as a sort of cancer in the monetary system - wasting a country's worth of electricity and huge computing resources calculating nothing meaningful, for imaginary wealth. The crypto miners are hoarding all the good graphics cards we digital creators could put into good use (if making imagery is considered better than nothing whatsoever, that is). Not to say the "real" money is any more tangible, it's mostly imaginary too - just a vague promise of future services in the form of zeroes and ones.

Sigh. I just hope NFT:s, Bitcoin et al. come crashing down, burning in flames in a crypto-market apocalypse like never seen before. They really are the Dutch tulip mania of this millennium (google it, it's a fun story).

But yeah, I guess we will dip our toes in this hot pile of a mess too, for the sake of art, or something. I have rather mixed feelings about this though - is it okay to contribute to a problem, even if we do it as a social commentary (and for fun)?


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