"Why would you want ownership of this art? Why is it crypto?"
One week ago, in a sprawling thought piece, the best surfer in the world years 2007 until 2016, Dane Reynolds, wrote about being accosted in the water by a man pushing NFT’s.
A long haired fellow on a soft top asks if he can have thirty seconds of my time for a business pitch. You can’t really say no so he proceeds to inform me that NFT’s are all the rage and they could be right up my alley.
What are NFT’s? Well shit, I still don’t quite understand but someone is creating something called crypto punks which are 8 bit digital art files that are being traded for millions of dollars. Fuckin crazy. My brain does not compute. Fascinating and foreign. Why would you want ownership of this art? Why is it crypto? What the fuck?
The man on the softie was John Caldwell, the thirty-seven-year logistics and marketing guy for Martin Daly’s Indies Trader and his surf heaven resort on Beran Island in the Marshalls.
Anyway, he saw Dane in the water, had an inkling Dane’s label Former had the sorta low-fi cred that is big in the virtual world and figured, what the hell, I’ll see if I can sell him on NFTs.
Dane asked if NFTs were going to be the next beanie babies.
John said, I ain’t got a clue, but crypto is the future.
What’s an NFT?
Oh it’s wild. And it’s nothing, at least nothing physical.
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token.
Fungible means exchangeable. You bought a watch. You can give to to someone else. A plane ticket? Not without a ton of hassle, if at all. Non-fungible.
NFTs, if we’re to be kind, are unique, collectable tokens. They can be permanently affixed to art, music, whatever.
Like baseball cards and other pointless collectables, they run on FOMO and limited supply.
Last year, there were two-hundred fifty mill, US, in NFT transactions, up from under a hundred mill the year before.
“Nobody knows what’s going to happen, what’s going to fucking take off,” says John.
He tells me the story of one of these NFTs called MoonCat Rescue. Twenty-five thousand virtual space cats that needed rescuing from a long defunct website. Real cute. You wanted one? Totally free apart from the fifty-dollar transaction cost. Somebody tweeted about it and they were all gone in a few hours. Want one now? Four grand.
FOMO, of course, is an old art trick.
As Tommy Wolfe wrote in The Painted Word, his book from 1975 that jams a skewer right into the high-falutin art biz’ guts.
“First you do everything possible to make sure your world is antibourgeois, that it defies bourgeois tastes, that it mystifies the mob, the public, that it outdistances the insensible middle-class multitudes by light-years of subtlety and intellect…”
You buy one of these things and you get a sorta certificate of authenticity.
You can’t put it on your wall, unless you live in some virtual meta-verse and you want to decorate your beachfront casino.
Anyway, we’re having a swing.