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NFTs are Not a Fucking Thing

Look, if you didn't see Crypto coming, don't blame yourself. It didn't make sense then and it hardly makes sense now. But for the love of baby Jesus, don't invest in cartoon apes out of FOMO.

Web 3.0 is Bullshit

The 2021 Internet is aflame with charlatans and suckers minting and trading NFTs as if they were a real asset class. And the joke may well be on us, the sensible, for not getting a piece of this hot, hot NFT action. But what is an NFT? Answer: not a fucking thing. It's nothing. It's a fugazi. An NFT is a way for Chinese money to flow out of China and for drug dealers to launder cash. An NFT is literally nothing.


If you were to ask an NFT evangelist what an NFT is, then they would tell you that it is a token that can be used to authenticate the ownership of digital assets like artworks. But that's a bunch of bullshit. We already have laws used to authenticate the ownership of digital assets. They're called copyrights.


If you want to let the world know that you are the owner of an original work of authorship, then all you need to do is register your copyright at your country's friendly copyright office. And unlike owning absolutely fucking nothing, owning a copyright gives you a right to sue in Federal court for copyright infringement, getting you access to damage multipliers and attorney fees.


Owning an NFT, on the other hand, gets you precisely nothing. You do not gain a copyright in any artworks by owning an NFT ambiguously related to that artwork. You don't own shit.


Why are NFTs worth so much money?


Short answer: people are fucking morons. Long answer: crime. I guess that was a short answer too.


Imagine that you have a giant pile of money that you want to legitimize (launder) or convert to post-tax cash. An NFT is a perfect vehicle for washing away your gains, and it can work something like this:


First, you "Mint" (create) an ape cartoon as an NFT and list it for sale for a million dollars. Next, using a phony account funded with your drug money, you buy the ape cartoon NFT from your legitimate self. Wow! A one million dollar profit on your ape! Amazing! But who wants to pay taxes on that?

Certainly not you. But seeing as you control the supply and demand for cartoon apes, you do a little market manipulation and swap a few NFTs with friends to make it look like you’ve reinvested your one million dollars into other NFTs. But then, suddendly, it just so happens that the market for cartoon apes takes a plunge around tax time. You are forced to liquidate your ape for $10,000 to some sucker. The sucker believes he got a deal. A million dollar ape for only ten grand!? Awesome! And you, the criminal mastermind, get to take a $990,000 capital loss. Plus you put a fresh ten grand in your pocket.


The losers in this situation are: (1) the government, and (2) the sucker who paid $10k for an ape. The only upside is for the guy who made the cartoon ape and bought it from himself. Everyone else is a rube.


Web 3.0 NFT-gates for Content are not going to happen


If you were to ask some of the Internet's largest NFT charlatans, the next iteration of the web (version 3.0) is going to be controlled by Decentralized Autonomous Organizations or "DAOs." This is the concept that governance over anything--websites, games, communities, even cities--will be completely decentralized and that every participant will require their own NFT to cast a vote. And there is a related concept providing that people without the NFT are going to be excluded from the community. So, for example, if you wanted to read and post on the Reddit DAO, you would need to have the Reddit NFT.


This is solving a problem that no one has. If you want to gate off access to paying community members then that technology already exists. If you want to securely collect votes from verified parties, then that technology already exists. If you want to create digital items that can be transported from one digital medium to another digital medium, then that technology already exists.


NFTs bring nothing to the equation except the inherent blockchain transparency benefits. Blockchains are an interesting way to store data. But to date, I cannot think of a single real-world use-case for blockchain and NFTs that could not be accomplished with traditional server architectures. Blockchain technology is completely self-perpetuating at this point. You need the blockchain for Crypto, and people keep buying Crypto, and so blockchain tech keeps multiplying. But I'm waiting to see a use for blockchain tech that has nothing to do with Crypto and actually solves a problem in the real world.

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