NFTs are all the rage in the tech and art worlds. They are hyped as the salvation of digital art and generate millions in profits. But are they useful? Does the world need NFTs? Do you help artists? No! A comment.
$69.3 million for a Beeple digital artwork. $590,000 for the Nyan Cat meme. NFTs are selling like hotcakes right now and I just don’t get it.
The longer one thinks about what NFTs actually are and, above all, what one can buy with them, the more one has to come to the conclusion that the world is the
NFTs: Millions for braggart rights
After all, what exactly is someone buying when they purchase an NFT? A certificate of authenticity for a digital product. But not for a digital product, which then belongs exclusively to the buyer. I would even understand that.
If a person wanted to pay $69 million for a Beeple piece of art that they would then own the exclusive rights to display in a digital picture frame and post on the web, NFTs would make perfect sense. But that doesn’t happen when someone buys an NFT.
The Beeple pictures or the Nyan Cat memes continue to be happily distributed on the Internet. And, what is most amazing for me, the experience of an image or video file is exactly the same.
No difference between original and copy
The buyer of the Beeple plant, Vignesh Sundaresan
Only: I can do that too. And we see the EXACT SAME file. After all, this is exactly what distinguishes digital files from unique canvas artworks. The copy and the original are identical.
So if you shell out millions for NFTs, you don’t have a unique art experience. Rather, he pays for the bragging rights by owning the first file ever created.
It’s a bit like someone paying a million for a Ferrari that you can take away for free at Aldi. In any other situation you would say: stupid.
The meta level of NFT art
Rather, I suspect that investors like Vignesh Sundaresan are paying a lot of money for NFTs because they are speculating that the technology will give them more than bragging rights in the future.
They are also partly involved in technologies, such as cryptocurrencies , which benefit directly from the NFT hype. So it is in their interest that NFTs are hyped for no reason.
NFTs are not helping the art world
Now, NFT proponents keep claiming that the non-fungible tokens help the artists, who are finally being recognized and paid appropriately through the tokens. I think that’s naive, to say the least.
Yes, if artists tokenize their own artworks as NFTs and then make millions from them, the theory is correct. Only: Who prevents me from pulling any random meme out of the net, tokenizing it and getting rich with it without the original artists ever seeing a dime for it?
Exactly, nobody! There are no clear copyright regulations for NFTs, so digital artists now have to fear that someone will tokenize their own works before them and that strangers will make money with their art.
The only protection for digital artists is copyright – and you don’t need NFTs for that.
If you want to help digital artists, hire them
It would be fair if, firstly, only the artists themselves were allowed to tokenize their art in this way. In the case of memes whose origins are rarely known, this is complicated again. But for original works or music that would be quite feasible.
And then there would have to be some kind of royalties system tied to the NFTs, where artists get paid a percentage each time their work is shared, like the “Disaster Girl” did with her own meme. But if there are no such contractual regulations, artists are at a disadvantage.
Here, too, this would have less to do with NFTs and more to do with the rights to redistribute art on the Internet.
So NFTs don’t seriously support artists. If you really want to show that you value digital art, hire digital artists and pay for commissioned work.
We need people who pay money
If you already have a few million lying around, you can easily reach out to Beeple or your favorite digital artists directly and say, “Please create an original piece of art for me. I’ll pay you for it.”
Not only would you have a personal work of art that not just any person can distribute on the net, you would also have helped the artists. Because we don’t need NFTs to appreciate digital artists. We need people to pay them directly for it.
Do NFTs have a future?
The future of NFTs depends on how the technology evolves. Because the basic idea of authenticating digital goods and securing them via blockchain is very good.
But the implementation is still lacking at the moment. So far, it is the websites that tokenize and authenticate the NFTs that are considered the verification platform. But what happens if the company behind it goes bankrupt? What happens to the tokens then? At the moment they are more or less worthless.
And if the certificate is no longer valid, how will my file differ from all other copies? Exactly, absolutely nothing! After all, experts can check the authenticity of a Picasso. But with a digital work of art, you end up paying millions for a file that has absolutely no value.
Nobody needs the tokens in this form, neither today nor in the future!