NFTs are silly – also, they are the same old stuff

Someone posted a link to this story on Facebook

How a $300K Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT accidentally sold for $3K

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is a collection of 10,000 NFTs, each depicting an ape with different traits and visual attributes. It may sound arcane, but it’s one of the most prestigious NFT collections in the world. Jimmy Fallon, Steph Curry and Post Malone are among its star-studded members. Right now the price of entry — that is, the cheapest you can buy a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT for — is 52 ether, or $210,000.

NFTs is a ridiculous scam, where you pay a fortune to own a computer graphic, which other people can freely copy and have themselves. Many NFTs are connected to existing art work, digital or digitalized, and are often created by people who have no rights to the original artwork, earning money on other peoples’ intellectual property. This is not the case with the Bored Ape Yacht Club images, who were created specifically for usages in NFTs. It is not clear to me, whether the right to the intellectual property is transferred at the same time. It appears from other articles that this might be the case, but often this is not the case, and the NFT is just a proof that you own “the original” digital version of the digital artwork – something which is nonsense, because that is not how digital images works on computers and on networks.

Which is why it’s so painful to see that someone accidentally sold their Bored Ape NFT on Saturday for $3,066.

No, it is not painful. It shows how ridiculous this is.

What really happened was that someone got $3K for something, instead of the $300K that they wanted, because they made a mistake. This is something which is reversable in most transactions, but not with NFTs.

The rest of the article goes into several examples of stupid mistakes in cryptocurrency, which depends on the same technology as NFTs (blockchains), clearly showing a major issue with decentralized assets, where it is not possible to reverse mistakes.

One interesting thing about the Bored Ape Yacht Club, unlike a lot of NFTs, is that because you actually get the rights of the digital artwork, you are actually buying a real product. Not “the original” artwork, but rather the rights surrounding the artwork. This makes them less silly than NFTs of art where the rights to the image doesn’t transfer as well. It also means that it is nothing new – the trade of intellectual rights to an artwork has been around for a long time. So, if someone tries to use this as an good example of NFTs, remember to point out that people don’t just by the NFT when buying an image in this collection, so it can’t be used as an general example.


  1. says

    NFTs is a ridiculous scam, where you pay a fortune to own a computer graphic, which other people can freely copy and have themselves

    You don’t even own it! You get a copy just like everyone else’s – but what you own is the right to say that you have the right to say you “own” the original collection of bits that you have the right to say you own. I am pretty sure someone put Andre Bretton in a time-machine and he suggested NFTs.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    I’m no expert, but this is my limited understanding of NFTs: it’s just cryptocurrency with a bit of flash.

    If I buy a crypto coin, that coin has a number assigned to it which, backed up by blockchain, proves it is uniquely mine. With an NFT, that number happens to consist of a digital representation of an artwork–which is actually a meaningless distinction, because as far as the blockchain is concerned, there is no difference between digital artwork and any other string of ones and zeroes.

    So when you buy an NFT, you aren’t really “owning” anything. The art is just a 2-D representation of a number that proves you claim a particular piece of cryptocurrency, but which you can also show people on your phone.

    I still look at the entire industry and think “Dutch tulips.” I suppose it does have some real utility, but that utility — mainly, the facilitation of crime and money laundering — doesn’t exactly make it attractive to me.

  3. JM says

    @2 brucegee1962: An NFT doesn’t always contain a representation of the art. It often contains a URL and license to use the art. Leaving the owner open to the server with the actual art shutting down.

    NFTs can also contain a link to something else. Game companies are jumping on NFTs as a way to sell things to gamers that can then be carried across games. The companies will be able to charge a lot more for skins and weapons and such if they can promise that they will work across multiple games.

    Meta (and some other VR companies) are also jumping at NFTs as a way to make things unique in their virtual space. If an avatar is tied to an NFT run through an authorization server hosted by Meta you can’t just steal the avatar. This lets Meta create a market for selling avatars and other VR world assets. This also lets Meta create the illusion of a free market because you can create and sell things without obviously involving Meta but Meta is still in total control when they want to step in.

  4. lanir says

    @JM – The game thing sounds like a simple bundle deal with a boondoggle (the NFT) added as a sort of meaningless ribbon on top. I guess it further shows how silly NFTs are in that no one would want to make a skin that only you could use. So you’ll get an original, unique to you copy… of a link that they’re probably hoping to sell in the thousands.