Every time I scroll down NFT arts or games like a NET30 vendor list, my depression sunk deeper, seeing many people hopping onto the wagon and hoping to cash their so-called “crafts” out early based on pure speculation. This is probably the only time where I feel like a boomer because as much as I want to understand, it always boils down to the same conclusion.
It is nothing but speculative investment. Today’s example of the “greater fool theory”.” Essentially, you sell something to someone else with a higher price that in reality, doesn’t reflect its true value. If you actually sell that object, you win. The cycle repeats when the buyer will do the same as you to another buyer, increasing the price.
At this point you might be asking, what is so bad about NFTs that I ended up not liking it at all? What does the title mean when it points out their “worthlessness”?
You will find out.
NFTs in a nutshell
Before I get into the meat, I will brief on how NFTs generally work. First, there is a difference between a fungible and non-fungible object.
Money is an example of a fungible object. You can swap your 20 buck note with another of the same value and you still do not feel ripped off, because it is the same as your former note. In other words, identical items of similar value are interchangeable.
A non-fungible object is when its uniqueness cannot be replicated and thus, traded as a fungible object would be. Historic paintings are a good example, since their unique art styles can never be flawlessly replicated. This is why forgery is taken seriously and genuine, original arts are highly valued.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are named so because they are cryptographic tokens with unique identifiers and thus cannot be copied, substituted or subdivided. They are recorded in a blockchain so the authentic authorship can be certified. NFTs digitally represent assets such as art, games, cards and so on.
In other words, they are original receipts of said assets. For instance, buying a Terminator-esque Bored Ape NFT means that you are buying the receipt that now authenticates your ownership, and not necessarily the art itself. You are the “pseudo” owner of that ape.
Save as JPEG
No matter how “unique” the generated art and respective codes are, at the end of the day, they are still files. Do you know what you can do with files?
Right click, save as, and download.
Lamenting that people “steal” your art is like talking to a wall. Even if people don’t automatically assume that the art that they like wasn’t saved before, the culprit will still profit from a few fools or so. Cases of NFT “thefts” happen frequently because they are so easy to forge.
Save any NFT image you can find, go to an auction website like OpenSea, and mint that art as your own NFT. Unless it warrants a DMCA notice, OpenSea proved in the past that it doesn’t matter if that art was stolen, the uploader can still profit from it.
You could probably even alter the art with Photoshop so it is different enough to be passed as your own, and mint it as a new NFT in OpenSea.
I think what makes NFTs worthless isn’t that they can be forged. It makes no difference either way because in the end, what benefit can they bring to people?
You still own the receipt of an art that belongs to nobody but the creator, and what do you think you can do with it when the NFT trainhype crashes all the way into an abyss of irrelevancy? Maybe you think, “Hey for now, a lot of NFT artists are making good money so that is great right?”
The reality is that many NFT artists barely make money from selling their generated arts. How fast do you normally scroll when you browse them? How many did you ignore? Unless that art happens to look so good to the eyes that it is worth the price, you have a fat chance of making Ethereum out of your art.
There is also the issue of artificial scarcity, purposeful limitations of products despite the technology to develop or produce sufficient amounts of them. Each NFT art is supposedly unique, yet they are placed among the thousands of other “unique” arts where regardless of the details, the designs and framework are still identical.
The result is that you have too many options to choose from, and the site hosting the masses feel bloated as a result. What is unique from that art to another ten apart from a different haircut and accessories? CryptoPunks are a notorious example where they are nothing but pixelated faces facing the same direction, their only uniqueness stems from the props and looks. Nothing more.
And again, what am I supposed to do with that art upon successfully purchasing it? Leave it to dust on my computer? Stare at it all day? The only use I can see is selling it to another person, maybe for a higher price. If I want to, I can probably even alter the art with my Photoshopping skills so I can pass it off on my own and sell it to another fool.
If the market falls, that art will no longer be of use in any way. It is just a digital picture used as a speculative asset and waiting to be sold.
NFT arts are nothing but investments without any gain other than profit, and they are also not aesthetically pleasing to look at. Looking at the same ape, fox or whatnot in different hairstyles and props made me feel like I was already dead and had sunk into what is essentially investment hell.
Anyone getting into NFTs are either unironically believing their so-called value, desperate or are aware of how nonsensical the whole trend is and jumped onto the wagon to make money from other fools.
Though I am harsh throughout the article, I do think that perhaps, NFT arts could still be somewhat of value if the following is done. The arts could not only be drawn by the artists themselves, but they are also variable.
For instance, you could make a small collection of arts where a Bored Ape is in different situations in different outfits. Maybe he is drinking with his friends in a bar populated by other patrons. Maybe he is relaxing on a balcony in a futuristic city. Maybe he is in the middle of a vicious fight in a war trench, and does not look so clean thanks to bloodstains, injuries and torn uniform.
It may sound like pure suggestions, but at least those arts could look way better and truly UNIQUE than the Bored Apes we see today. Only then will the prices and sales be justified, because you have an art that you genuinely want to look at in some days and appreciate the artistry behind it.
But then, you have pirates to deal with, which in that case, rather than just codes, authenticate the art with your own hand. Put your signature, logo, website, thumbnails, anything that you can use to verify your authorship. Put disclaimers and links in the description too if there is an option.