Environmental impact: insane. Absolutely bonkers that it’s that bad. People say “proof of stake is coming” or that they have eco-friendly coins. Well, nobody’s using that stuff then. Which will people do, go to the big insanely-wasteful market or the small eco-friendly markets? In a sane world, wasting this much energy would be a criminal offense.
Implementation: a blockchain is a decentralized ledger and an NFT is a link to a piece of art. If people stop caring about your blockchain, it becomes worthless. If the link breaks (pretty common thing online),Check out the story on “Evolved Apes”, where the NFT dev vanished with the cash. No accountability, no protection, no lasting value.
Creative Implications: You cannot create a market where none exists. The reason artists can’t support themselves from art isn’t the way it’s sold. A few reasons are: oversaturated market, infinitely replicable product, high cost of living. NFTs do not solve any of these problems. Unless you make un-digitizeable or extremely marketable art, you are unlikely to earn a living making art. Really, only donation or patrons (basically donations) work, and those are still extremely top heavy. A tiny minority of creators make most of the money.
And from an aesthetic level, do you think making online art a speculative asset will improve the quality of the art? This isn’t new, the fine art world functions somewhat similarly. And what is the fine art world if not a money laundering scheme? Nobody would be interested in Rothkos or Pollacks but for the titanic sums attached to them. No offense to abstract art, I’m here so I obviously like it, but that’s reality.
When you first saw the big stories about artists making millions off of NFTs, didn’t you get a bit suspicious? I will lay out two scenarios. The first is that rich art fan tech bros decided that this new technology and the art associated with it was amazing, the future, yada yada. They spent X millions of dollars to own a link to someone else’s art (again…an NFT isn’t even the rights to someone’s art…deviant art plebs will give you much more for much less).
The second scenario is that, in the completely unregulated financial market that crypto is, some enterprising crooks pulled the oldest trick in the book: a pump and dump. What’s to stop the Etherium guy from spending big on a few key NFT artists? Literally nothing. Suddenly his coin is big news. Artists are trying to get rich quick, speculators are investing, and suckers are arriving in droves.
The idea that this is a lasting solution to any of the problems artists face (only a problem if you believe you’re entitled to make a living off of making art) is absurd. This is a speculative bubble crossed with a massive series of interconnected scams. With all scams, some people do make money. But you’re not making money because your art is good, you’re making money because people see your art as a speculative asset.