Brian Eno on NFTs

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2022/01/02/brian-eno-on-nfts.html

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How can we use these to absorb all this spare money that’s washing around?’.

Simply put, thanks Eno.

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I keep hearing people say they’re a medium which they are not. All artwork associated with NFTs has been made using an existing medium and the NFT is just a digital proof of purchase.

Saying you bought an NFT is a bit like saying you bought a receipt.

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That so sad & true, I almost cried, but nice words mutant friend.

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I do not always ask artists about obscure crypto and NFT questions, but when I do, I ask Brian Eno.

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Egg-zactly.
And help to destroy the planet in the process.

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Yeah this was an amazing read. Some of the most talented musicians are also very very interesting people, for example:

corresponding BB topic

Both of these are almost essential reads, IMO. Especially for white dudes like me… very eye opening. Also a ton of great David Byrne essays.

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Yeah. The only thing I want to know is why it took them eight months to get around to it. He probably could have said the same thing the day after Beeple.

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Wow. Read the whole piece. He nails it. NFTs, crypto, libertarianism. His main concern is adding something positive to the world and these things dont necessarily do that.

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I can see something like NFTs as an alternative to Patreon playing a positive role in society. They could be used as a way to support an artist or creator.

To be clear, just because a technology can be used positively, it does not mean that it will be used positively, or even that its positive uses outweigh its negative uses.

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Asking what crypto can do to the world is like asking how padlocks can change lives. It can be useful, but a lot of folks are meaninglessly getting ahead of themselves.

Except padlocks were a solution to a well-defined problem, NFTs are a solution looking for a problem, as pointed out in the linked article.

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I remain open to being wrong about NFTs being useless, but I’ll need someone to actually show me a useful case for them that isn’t better handled by existing technology (or doesn’t ascribe to hyper-anarchistic ideals, which is probably the only space in which crypto and NFTs kind of start to make sense.)

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So can cash, but it’s not any more of a solution on it’s own than NFTs. As pointed out earlier, they are just a receipt, and they frequently just point to a URL, subject to link rot. An NFT is no more of a guarantee of ownership of a unique item than a scrawled note on a sticky note. They both have the same legal authority and vetting that the author owns the IP and has a right to transfer it.

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You could argue things like cryptocurrency and NFTs are a net negative since they contribute to the worsening climate catastrophe in a non-trivial way - all for something intangible and inherently worthless.

(And before the cryptobros chime in with the same old tired ass arguments about how “oh it’s not that bad”, just save it. I’m not interested in hearing it.)

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For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

The fact that it’s putting money in someone’s pocket is a tempting argument, but at what cost. Burning up gigawatts of energy in your cryto-mining warehouse is like stealing from the power grid, or shooting elephants for the ivory.

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For me, the best line is this: “How sweet – now artists can become little capitalist assholes as well.”

And I don’t really fault the artist selling an NFT. If someone wants to give me a million dollars for something with no real value, that requires no real work on my part to create then I think I’d want to let them. I assume they have more dollars than sense and some fools should be parted with their money- assuming they can afford to lose it of course.

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Do we have to keep reminding people that this isn’t just run of the mill beanie baby style gambling. This stuff literally burns fossil fuels. I saw somewhere that essentially crypto like NFTs have negated all the environmental gains from electric cars. They are inherently evil. Not just for the people wasting their money but for all of us.

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75% of NFTs sell for an average of $15. So most aren’t even achieving the objective of making money for artists.

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a cryptocurrency is assuming that idling your car 24/7 can generate worked sudokos which can be traded for heroin.

an nft is a drawing on the back of one of your heroin sudokus.

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