• Are NFTs a plague on humanity or a technology you can tame?

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    #2423644

    PUBLIC DEFENDER By Brian Livingston Seemingly out of nowhere, people are paying thousands or millions of dollars in cryptocurrency to buy NFTs, otherw
    [See the full post at: Are NFTs a plague on humanity or a technology you can tame?]

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    • #2423659

      I’ve been reading several articles about NFT’s over the last months and I still don’t grasp the concept. To me it looks like buying ‘baked air’ (as it’s called overhere) and pay for it with baked air. More historically, it looks like the tulip-mania.

      I tried to translate NFT’s to the real world, but I’m unable to make the connection between, for example, a painting by Rembrand and a NFT. Can anyone explain how NFT’s work in real life, or do they solely exist in the digital domain?

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    • #2423690

      As a practising fine artist (good old-fashioned oil paint on canvas) working in the traditional art world, I rely on the structure that endorses art (i.e., curators, museums, collectors, critics and galleries). The sudden explosion of NFTs has come so relatively quickly that no such validating structure has had time to be established. There are some NFT collectors and emerging NFT galleries, but their experience only goes back a few years. Few have the depth of experience in this new field and are not yet able to take a long-term view of what is significant and what is not. Sooner or later validation will be required. There is an overwhelming quantity of digital art out there but I don’t think the quality of the art offered will threaten the traditional art market any time soon. The real danger is that with prices artificially way too high, a great deal of money could be lost when the market cools, as I believe it will do so.

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    • #2423672

      I’m rather disappointed by this article. It appears the author just asked some of the people trying to sell everyone on NFTs, and didn’t look into how dark they really are. There’s a video from Dan Olson that has been going around online that sums up how it works, and I would expect anyone trying to cover the technology would cover what is in there.

      NFTs and crypto are an attempt to make money after the stock market crash of 2008. They are largely inefficient in what they do, compared to alternatives. Everyone saying that they’ll be useful cannot seem to come up with any actual useful technology that would be better. And ultimately it would result in more people actually owning your data, shared publicly.

      The money involved is entirely fueled by speculation, using the fact that the concepts are complicated to their advantage, using that to take advantage of those who are gullible enough. The way they are used resembles Multi Level Marketing. They are also used to exploit people in impoverished countries by a “play to earn” idea, where you play a game to earn money. None of this is sustainable.

      There’s a reason why the general public sees them as a farce, and only those who have a monetary stake in the concept are pushing it. We see all the signs of a scam, of something that will just get better “in the future” with no specified way it can happen that isn’t easily debunkable. We know that speculation cannot provide actual value, as the bubble always pops.

      Theranos also loved to say it would revolutionize healthcare. It doesn’t make it true. I’m disappointed you reported what one evangelist said and not all the others who disagree heavily with them.

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    • #2423689

      This video is great and worth the time https://youtu.be/YQ_xWvX1n9g

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    • #2423790

      It’s not hard to understand the desire of people living in places like Venezuela to find some alternative to their government’s debased money. All the same, it would be well to remember that for many Russians their experience with [what was erroneously labeled] the free market after the collapse of the Soviet Union consisted largely of getting scammed out of what little they had. We can see where that has led. I have to wonder whether the result will be the same with crypto. Free enterprise depends on freedom from force and fraud, and given human fallibility, that requires the rule of law, with all the issues that brings.

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    • #2423856

      Crypto is not just for fly-by-night fraudsters and speculators with money to burn. It is also an idea that some countries are implementing, or planning to implement, as alternatives to their paper and metallic cash, in a form of crypto issued by their central banks, with different and even questionable degrees of success:

      https://techmonitor.ai/policy/digital-economy/government-cryptocurrency-bitcoin-ethereum

      Excerpt:

      “Typically, countries considering it [issuing as central bank currency, or else allowing the free circulation of crypto in a “user beware” mode] are failed states in terms of monetary policy, countries whose central bank does not have any credibility and has been unable to make its domestic currency widely used; countries with a history of high inflation that have dollarized, or de facto adopted another international reserve currency as the favorite means of exchange and store of wealth,”

      Also:

      https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/11/predictions-for-future-of-money-cbdcs-stablecoins-cryptocurrency.html

      Excerpts (the emphases are mine):

      Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies that are meant to be pegged to a reserve asset, such as gold or the U.S. dollar, but are not issued by a central bank. “The business case for stablecoins is that they provide low-cost and easily accessible digital payments within and across national borders” Prasad says.

      In fact, the Biden administration recently told Congress that when regulated, stablecoins could “support faster, more efficient and more inclusive payment options.”

      But stablecoins have caught the eye of U.S. lawmakers as a potential threat to financial stability, with many at the center of controversy. In one example, critics have questioned whether so-called stablecoin tether has enough dollar reserves to back its currency, since tether is supposed to be pegged to the dollar. It remains the largest stablecoin by market value.”

      And then there is the deep flaw in the idea of a “cashless society”:

      “The rich might be more capable than others of taking advantage of new investment opportunities and reaping more of the benefits,” Prasad says. “As the economically marginalized have limited digital access and lack financial literacy, some of the changes could harm as much as they could help those segments of the population.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

    • #2423936

      What Are NFTs? An Easy Explanation For Anyone

      Are people really paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for 5-second videos of LeBron James’s latest dunk?

      Grimes, a Canadian musician and record producer, recently sold approximately $6 million worth of digital artworks at auction, including a one-of-a-kind video featuring her music.

      A digitally remastered edition of the iconic Nyan Cat GIF also sold for $600,000.

      People are even shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars for clipart of virtual rocks…

      No matter how you turn it. it is a hoax. You buy a NFT to a digital painting but you can remove it from the Internet, nor can you block anyone from watching, downloading…that painting.

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      • #2424089

        Alex, I think that there are two separate issues that you have brought up:

        (1) That people go crazy and buy all sorts of garbage for large amounts of money, because, having the money, for them it is the thing to do: to beat the neighbors in their running competition for who has the most of anything, because everybody in their personal social circle of not the brightest and not the best do it, and other equally pathetic non-reasons.

        (2) That NFTs do not give one the actual possession of something one bought with them. This is interesting: Could you provide a reference explaining this?

         

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

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        • #2424171

          What you do own when you buy an NFT are the keys to a non-fungible – perhaps unique – token. That token is yours to trade or hold or display in Decentraland. But the digital file associated with an NFT is just as easy to copy and paste and download as any other

          https://www.coindesk.com/layer2/2022/01/17/what-you-own-when-you-own-an-nft/

        • #2424174

          So … Big Deal, huh?

          Except the article is about copyright and who owns it: clearly when one buys a book or whatever that is copyrighted, one owns that copy of the book, or that whatever. If you are the one who bought it, I cannot come and delete (if an electronic copy) or burn your book (if a paper copy) and expect resignation on your part; I would hope that when, some time later, you come at me with an axe, I’ll have a gun in my left hand (I’m left handed) loaded, cocked and with the security catch removed, but even while quite properly coming so armed at me, you still won’t have the right to stop other people, who actually own the copyright, from printing the book again, or selling it, or anybody else, when required by law, with the permission of the copyright owner, from quoting the book, copying paragraphs of it, or whatever. Nothing new about any of this, NFT or no NFT.

          Now, this has nothing to do with a confidence trick that falsely claims you are the owner of this one copy of the book you have bought with an NFT, that is merely a token that shows you bought it and own this copy. Much as you could have bought the book at a bookstore and got a receipt that shows that you have the right to own this particular paper copy, but not that you have a right to make and sell copies of the book. No different from having bought the book paying for it with cash, be it paper or plastic.

          So this does not say much about the usefulness, or other wise, of NFTs …

          And it does not tell me why should anyone bother with NFTs in the first place, why it is preferable to using cash. Unless one is a big financial operator in need to move lots of money electronically, or a crook (or both), with good financial assessors that know how to game the market using NTFs. Or something like that.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

        • #2424237

          https://twitter.com/itchio/status/1490141815294414856

          itch.io

          A few have asked about our stance on NFTs:

          NFTs are a scam. If you think they are legitimately useful for anything other than the exploitation of creators, financial scams, and the destruction of the planet the we ask that please reevaluate your life choices.

          NFT doesn’t give the buyer ownership or IP.

          Did you know that people are pouring millions buying space in ‘never will happen’ Metaverse ?

        • #2424297

          NFT doesn’t give the buyer ownership or IP.

          These NFTs are a realized aspect of dystopia and love of money. If people like the art just try to donate to the artist, purchase a real licensed copy of the work, or if possible the real result of the artist’s work.

    • #2424312

      Anonymous: I agree about the “dystopia” part of your comment: people using NFTs to pay lots of money for what seems like so much ephemeral and pretentious garbage. But, so far, I have yet to see a real explanation of the claims that NFTs are a scam. Notice that I am not defending NTFS, merely asking for the clarification of such claims. Simply writing that something is a scam without providing an explanation as to why this is so, or quoting someone who made the same kind of unsupported statement, proves nothing. People may be throwing good money in the garbage, but they seem to be doing so willingly — and it is their money, after all. Not exactly doing something that can earn them a lot of respect, but something they have a right to do.

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

      • #2424346

        I’m not sure why I quoted that, may a person can be allowed to print a copy. Yeah it appears you can buy a sometimes very expensive unique token representing one or more virtual objects.

        The marketing off object can be off putting claiming indestructibility (https://www.cryptokitties.co/), sorry people have had their Bitcoins looted from their digital wallets or the whole wallet itself.

        Data loss or intentional corruption can happen. What makes this any different or more immutable than Bitcoin ledger (or any other coin tracking technology)?

        • #2424452

          …sorry people have had their Bitcoins looted from their digital wallets or the whole wallet itself.

          I deeply apologize and am regretful to everybody reading this discussion.

          I did mean to type that out as “Sorry, but people…”, not to slander people for using this technology.

    • #2424435

      Enlightening as usual Brian. Thanks for helping us to understand this latest, greatest… thing.

      I’m not sure i agree with the conclusion:

            NFTs will grow in importance for decades to come

      I’m old, and could see this very well being the latest junk bond, derivative, [insert dubious financial tool here]. Having their 15 minutes.

      The most insightful part of the piece was where you detailed how Metakovan created bitcoins, which were bid up by hopeful buyers. I’m no finance guy, That sounds like a scam to me. Nothing for you if you didn’t know when to sell.

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