Hacker News Re-Imagined

The Worrisome Rise of NFTs

  • 71 points
  • 13 hours ago

  • @zwieback
  • Created a post
  • • 137 comments

The Worrisome Rise of NFTs


@rvz 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

Here we go again. 'NFTs is a scam', 'web3 is a bubble', 'This is a going to crash', etc. They already know it is a scam, ponzi and a bubble which is why everyone is cashing in on the hype before it collapses.

90% - 98% of these NFTs will not survive and will be worthless, so let us ignore this common form of NFTs (images, videos, etc) and look at NFTs that have utility and value like blockchain domain names like ENS, which at least that is useful.

The fact you cannot store the NFT image, video or audio on the blockchain tells you alone it is a scam anyway. Even if you could do that, how would you totally remove the image, video or audio if criminals and terrorists also use it for storing illegal content?

So, if you think it is going to collapse, just ignore it. Otherwise we will all be back to complain about NFTs in another thread once again.

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@hnuser847 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

Professor of made up field writes an article bemoaning the existing of made up money. Oh, and how these made up tokens are going to literally end all human life.

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@diogenesjunior 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

One of my favorite rappers, Nas, is selling royalty rights to his songs as NFTs[0]. I think selling NFTs as if they were trading cards is silly, but what Nas is doing? I think that's actually pretty cool. Thoughts?

0: https://www.nme.com/news/music/nas-to-sell-royalty-rights-to...

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@kryogen1c 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

i flagged this article. there is no new or intersting information. it is an opinion piece on a well-known subject both sides have thoroughly voiced their opinions on. regardless, the article itself is barely coherent and i dont even detect a running theme.

im a crypto hater and id rather this not be here.

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@1970-01-01 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

I have a bridge to sell you. It's an unbelievable deal for anyone, but I don't think you're ready for it.

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@daenz 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

To me, NFTs reek of crypto FOMO. It's like a manifestation of all of those who missed out on the Bitcoin wave, and all of those who want a second version of the Bitcoin wave. The concentrated desire of those two groups create a reality distortion field around NFTs being cool and valuable.

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@golemotron 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

> The much bigger question, though, has less to do with these emergent upstarts in our informational world and more to do with humanity’s overall trajectory. Any species that endlessly grows, and continually invents energy-hungry processes, may not be destined for a happy ending.

Unless energy consumptive processes lead you off-world for more resources. I'm surprised that the author, an astrobiologist, doesn't see a more open ended future.

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@friendlydog 12 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

Commercial aviation makes up 918 million metric tons of carbon.

Bitcoin mining makes up 22 million metric tons.

I'm less worried about NFTs than I am air travel.

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@treycopeland 12 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

If it's good enough for Radio Shack, then it's good enough for me!

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@pphysch 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

don't worry, "web3" nonsense will be among the first bubbles to pop as US monetary policy tightens over the next couple years

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@ourmandave 12 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

NFTs are the blockchain version of the International Star Registry.

At least those scammers send you a participation badge suitable for framing.

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@echelon 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

When the GAP is getting into NFTs, you know the bubble has already burst.

Pogs3.

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@legutierr 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

> Blockchain technology is purposefully burdensome and computationally distributed, making it notoriously energy intensive. Estimates put the energy used to create and trade a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin on a par with the total consumption of a country like Sweden. And that’s without accounting for the environmental footprint of the physical computer hardware.

Another critic who is willing to criticize without updating their knowledge as to the current state of the technology. Blockchain is not the same as proof-of-work. Yes, Bitcoin is energy-intensive, but other consensus algorithms do not use energy at nearly the same scale.

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@brian_cloutier 12 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

Astonishingly low quality article for a publication as wonderful as Nautilus.

For now I just want to comment on one piece, this meme that NFTs are killing the planet through consumption of insane amounts of energy is silly and falls apart with a moment's thought.

All estimates of per-txn energy usage take the total number of transactions and divide by the total energy usage of the chain. However... bitcoin (and other chains) happily consume a lot of energy even when no transactions are being processed. The more important question is: when you make a transaction how much more energy is consumed than in a counterfactual world where you did not make that transaction.

This number is very difficult to estimate, but seems to be at most 10kwh, or as much as driving your tesla ~30 miles, or running your dishwasher 5 times, or running your air conditioner for 5 hours, or doing any of a number of other things which people happily do every day without thinking twice. It would be nice if energy consumption was much lower, this is a non-trivial amount of energy, and multiple chains are working toward lowering it, but popular articles all seem to believe your NFT could power Berlin for a day if only you weren't being so selfish.

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@temp438 2 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

What is really worrisome is a recent flood of cryptoposts in HR top about smth which doesn't matter at all. It starts to look like black PR already. "oh no, nfts!! Oh no, web3!! Oh no, a scam! Memcoins! Ponzi scheme!!"

These money would've ended in some bullshit anyways. We are in the middle of economical crizis. Bitcoin, selfdriving cars, tesla, space tourism or whatever just create a false sense of activity in the market while everything is going down.

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@EGreg 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

The company Ethereum (that supports cryptocurrency as well as NFTs) has indicated it aims to cut energy use by more than 99 percent by changing its core methodology.

Interesting, Ethereum is referred to as a company by these authors?

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@abetusk 12 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

I would like to see an actual measured critique or discussion of NFTs and adjacent cryptocurrencies.

I'm absolutely willing to hear that NFTs (and related cryptocurrencies) are bad for the environment, bad for society, have no "intrinsic" value, but I'd really like to hear some counterpoints.

For example.

* Which is worse in terms of environmental costs: ordering 100 T-shirts or minting an NFT [0]?

* There will always be fads, regardless of NFTs. Beanie Babies were the fad in the 2000s that bootstrapped PayPal and EBay [1]

* There is at least an argument, whether it's true or not, that cryptocurrency can/will bootstrap solar adoption [2]

* Explorations of what it means to have "unique" art, especially as it pertains to the current ability to mass produce and copy maybe with real attempts at a critique against academic artists who believe in intrinsic value of fine art vs. digital art.

Though I'm not sure if there's any concrete statistics, it's at least a well accepted hypothesis that fine art is used as a tax evasion and/or money laundering device. If anyone has references on this point, I would appreciate it.

Again, maybe NFTs are an indication of societal decline, but I'd like to have a good faith discussion about it instead of incredulous dismissals.

[0] https://web.archive.org/web/20211112062740/https://twitter.c...

[1] https://morfene.com/021.pdf (pg 43-44)

[2] https://assets.ctfassets.net/2d5q1td6cyxq/5mRjc9X5LTXFFihIlT...

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@strict9 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

>NFTs are comically bereft of anything we would associate with social or cultural value.

This subjective opinion is frequently trotted out to describe digital items that people pay money for. The arguments used in this piece can just as easily apply to video games or anything else.

There isn't anything new presented here, just one person railing against something they do not like using familiar arguments. IMO not the type of thought provoking content that people come to HN for.

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@SMAAART 12 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

"Worrisome"?

New tech will always bring out fear and anxiety, and fear and anxiety secures eyeballs and votes. Blockchain is here to stay, and Art will always leverage new tech.

Simialar arguments were made at the dawn of the internet, and at the dawn of photography as far as Art is concerned.

NFTs are Art, that's for sure. The concept of ownership that is challenged might as well be part of the Art itself.

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@WriterGuy2021 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

"An astrobiologist says non-fungible tokens do not bode well for our species’s future. " This is a historical subhead.

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@dexwiz 12 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

Digital goods have proven to be viable goods that people will pay for, trade, and hold. Counter Strike Cosmetics, Fortnite Skins, and iTunes downloads are just a few examples of something that used to be a labeled as a gimmick, but are now big money makers. It's very easy to extends these to NFTs, a seemingly more generic digital good that is not tied to a specific company.

But In Game Cosmetics have something that NFTs still seem to lack, a way to use them. Sure you can use an NFT in a Twitter Profile, but so can I with a simple copy/paste. Is anyone really going to surf a metamask wallet gallery to look at others' NFTs? Probably not. But that cool Counter Strike Knife skin can be used in an actual game that people actually play. Until NFTs can be used in a way that is not easily stolen, they will be relegated to speculation and money laundering vehicles like every other shitcoin out there. In theory games could plug into federated markets where an NFT could be used in multiple games, but where is the incentive to open a walled garden that prints money?

The economic and energy arguments are just bikeshedding the real issue of finding an actual purpose for NFTs. 90% of people probably have never been to a museum to look existing art outside of school field trips, why will that change just because it's digital? Just because digital goods are viable, doesn't make NFTs viable by association.

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@labrador 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

I'm as concerned as the next person about energy use, but I did read some counterpoints in an article published yesterday [1]

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee is reportedly going to investigate cryptocurrency’s effect on the environment...

But the meme that bitcoin or cryptocurrency uses as much power as one country or another, promoted by The New York Times last September, for example, deserves a bit of pushback on a couple of fronts.

[1] https://www.aei.org/technology-and-innovation/no-hearing-on-...

Edit: and then someone pushes back on Nic Carter today:

https://jpkoning.blogspot.com/2022/01/the-fallacy-of-bitcoin...

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@e67f70028a46fba 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

if, by “worrisome”, you mean “hilarious”

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@joeman1000 12 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

I’m honestly surprised that hysterics about NFTs have dragged on so long. People must be super bored to give a fuck about this or become upset. People just want to trade proof of ownership, as defined in their own sense. They aren’t really bothering anyone or causing any havoc. Why are people so bloody crazy about it? Just ignore it for fucks sake.

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@api 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

I checked out OpenSea a few days ago to see what was selling. I went in with low expectations but I was still shocked. The hottest NFTs are all trash. It's a bunch of dumb ape doodles and piles of variations on the same few templates. Some of them are algorithmically generated.

It's just shockingly dumb, yet I have smart people I follow on Twitter and elsewhere who are convinced this is all world changing. I keep asking for people to point me to the evidence and it's never there. I've been asking for years.

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@dvt 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

At this point, articles on NFTs are the same as articles on vaccines or articles on Jan 6, or Trump, or anything controversial. It's purely done to drive clicks and serves no real dialectic purpose (there are, of course, some thoughtful writers, but the vast majority is drivel).

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@gringoDan 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

This is a lazy argument that could apply to any art or leisure activity. Counterpoint (and shameless plug) – NFTs are one of the best bundles ever created. They combine:

1. A display of wealth.

2. An elite social network.

3. A signal of good taste.

4. A limited collectible.

5. The excitement of roulette.

https://paranoidenough.com/2021/12/21/The-Value-of-the-NFT-B...

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@threeseed 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

The worst thing is the constant and malicious lie being perpetuated.

You do not own an NFT in any legal or moral sense. The ownership is not recognised in any country, by any court or international body.

All you have is an entry in a logical database that says you own it. But unless you have signed a contract with the seller transferring or licensing copyright then it as meaningless as you buying a certificate saying you've named a planet.

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@golemotron 13 hours

Replying to @zwieback 🎙

> It’s possible to see a purpose for cryptocurrencies, but NFTs are (for now) almost comically bereft of anything most of us would associate with social or cultural value.

They incentivize energy production and research into better energy production. That isn't trivial.

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