Opinion: NFTs – The Non-Fungible Threat

If you’ve used the internet at any point since the last quarter of 2021, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of NFTs, the latest sensation sweeping the web like the ten plagues of Egypt. I’d also put good money on you not really understanding what they are, and I can’t even fault you for that. If I could live in a world where I didn’t need to know what they were, I would do whatever it took to do so, but alas, I must be burdened with this knowledge.

So, what is an NFT?

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, referring to a sort of digitalised asset that can be speculated upon in terms of its value, much like a stock on the stock market. However, the key difference is that first key term; “Non-Fungible”. 

A fungible asset is one that can be exchanged for an identical copy of itself, one that is numerous. For example, the money sitting in your wallet or purse right now is fungible, as your specific notes and coins are not unique. Non-Fungible assets however are intrinsically unique, and cannot be replicated. 

These NFTs are backed by cryptocurrency and the Blockchain, where crypto such as Bitcoin or Ethereum are used to purchase them, and their data is stored on the associated blockchain. This all sounds fairly simple, right? Wrong. I have not begun to get into what these digital parasites can really be.

In Depth with NFTs – What are they really?

An NFT can be just about anything. A digital image, an audio file, a virtual item in a video game, things you would perhaps expect to purchase in a digital space. But NFTs can also be such bizarre things as the very first tweet ever written by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, or a house on Mars, or jars with farts in them. 

Now, of course, no one wants such a horrible thing, so it’s just as well that those things do not actually exist… right? Well, yes, those items were sold as NFTs, but they were never sent to the buyers; because that’s the point. The curious individual who bought the first ever Tweet cannot post it onto their own Twitter page and force Jack Dorsey to take it off of his own. 

The fantastical creature that purchased a house on Mars cannot go to live there. The absolute heathen who bought those fart jars will not receive them. They are a digital asset, having no real physical value or worth. Furthermore, this is the very important part so I invite you to pay exceptional attention…

In my opinion NFTs are the scammiest scam, the most ponzi of schemes!

That’s right dear reader, NFTs are a sham! A hoax! A cavalcade of lies and deceit that would make even infamous Spider-Man antagonist Mysterio cry foul. Allow me to ask you a question. What do you actually get when you purchase an NFT? You may be led to believe that you become the owner of this individual piece, the sole and rightful owner at that. 

You would be wrong, but I cannot fault you for that. NFTs are, in actuality, not the items listed. They are not even pictures of the items listed. They are hyperlinks that take you to pictures of the items listed, which are often bereft of any artistic value and exist solely as a dice roll of features that become more valuable the higher each dice rolls, such as with the Bored Ape Yacht Club line, or CryptoPunks. So you do not own the NFT that you purchase, you cannot stop someone from right clicking your horrific ape and posting it somewhere else, and the worst part is? 

If you decide to commit the eighth deadly sin and mint yourself a fresh new NFT on the Blockchain, you not only earn yourself a cosy spot on my list, but you do not need to own the subject in question. That’s right, you have read these accursed words correctly! You can mint an NFT of anything in the world, no questions asked. This is how there exist NFTs of realistic Pokemon, or other people’s YouTube channels! Hell, just recently, three NFTs were seized by the UK Tax Department during a fraud inquiry

I’ll double down on a promise earlier in this article and double down on my bet of good money; If you were to find one of the many cesspools where NFTs are displayed, bought and sold, and you looked around long enough? You may even see your very face staring back at you. 

The Final Nail in this Non-Fungible Coffin

NFTs sound pretty bad then from what I’m saying. They’re lies, they’re schemes, they are the epitome of all things that grind my gears something fierce. But if you’re not me, which I hope you’re not, you may be wondering why you should care about them. After all, you may not be an artist, or a YouTuber, or someone who cares about the ramblings of someone you don’t know. 

But here’s the kicker, my friend. NFTs are destroying our world. The amount of energy required to mint a single NFT is enormous, and the amount to create a transaction is even greater. The amount of electricity required to buy or sell one NFT based on Ethereum, one of the most popular NFT bases to draw upon, is enough to power the average household for a day and a half, and thousands of those transactions occur every day, of every week, of every month. 

Our planet is already on fire and has been for the better part of a decade, but before this we would place the blame solely on big corporations who use their power to maximise profits and minimise expenditure, at any cost to the world. Now, however, we must turn our iron sights of justice to all who trade in these beasts. Much like the mushrooms their names suggest, Non-Fungible Tokens are parasites, draining the planet dry of its resources and polluting the world like it’s Captain Planet’s most pants wetting nightmare.

But why, then?

Greed.

Allow me to explain. It’s common knowledge at this point that value is not an intrinsic thing, and is instead derived from the perspectives of those who observe it. Therefore, there must be people who want something for it to be valuable. 

This is why money is a thing at all, because everyone came together and decided these coins and paper slips would have a certain amount of value to them. The same applies to collectables, such as trading cards. If I have a first edition holographic Charizard card from the 90s, in mint condition, that is worth a lot of money, yes, but only because there are people in this world who will buy it from me due to its rarity. This line of reasoning, then, applies to NFTs. They are unique, and therefore considered valuable by collectors. NFTs can, depending on a number of factors, be sold for thousands, tens of thousands or millions due to this, which makes them very valuable to a certain group of people; the already rich and wealthy, who seek to become so rich that they may undergo the final step and become men and women of solid gold, and no soul. 

Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but who knows what Elon Musk is up to these days. A crucial component of the way NFTs are traded is that there must be someone willing to buy for anyone looking to make money, so that person can then use their newly gained NFT and sell it for themselves. 

However, when everyone wants to have more money, they sit on their piles of stupid jpegs and wait, unwilling to buy from each other due to the costs of an NFT. Therefore, they must sucker those who are unaware into the practice so that they may continue to profit, or their Metaverse dies out, because take a second and think to yourself. 

If these things were really so valuable, why would every other celebrity or small time Twitter User be trying to get you in on it too? Why wouldn’t they be snatching it all up for themselves? Because without new blood, their dynasties die out, their legacies extinguished by the falling sands of time, becoming kings of nothing.

A Lingering Hope

But there is hope. The internet is a wild, wild world, and it is full of those who both agree and disagree with you on every conceivable opinion. There exist hundreds of thousands of those who agree with myself, and hopefully you as well, about the disgusting nature of these vile tokens. 

Man is powerless alone, but when in great numbers, it can move mountains. Just recently, game studio Team17, most known for the Worms franchise, has both announced and given up on its MetaWorms NFT project thanks to swift and brutal backlash on the behalf of the masses. 

Discord, the popular social application used by communities the world over, has halted its own plans to integrate Crypto Wallets into its application following the en masse cancellation of the premium Discord Nitro subscriptions by its users. 

Even the god forsaken WWF, an organisation you would assume would never risk the environment, has both announced and cancelled an NFT project following massive backlash from the world at large. 

If enough people get together and take action, those considering taking the plunge will be forced to reconsider their positions at least, and beg for forgiveness at worst.