Friday, June 14, 2024

NFTs (are worse than you thought) | ARTISTS BEWARE

Get your typing fingers ready, we are talking about NFTs today and why they might be even worse than you thought and not great for most artists. I really wanted to look at NFTs and the infiltration of cryptocurrency in art in all of its context with the current art market. No shade to those artists who are making NFTs right now, get your (bit)coin, but perhaps consider the bigger picture and who is pulling the strings!


Thank you to Kim Parker for the extremely illuminating data on NFT sales:

Music: Aviino – Slim Bobby

0:00 Introduction
2:50 Defining NFTs
6:12 How We Value Art
10:16 The Infection of Capitalism
18:09 The Claims
30:51 The Environmental Impact


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  • This was great! I stumbled onto NFT Art Twitter a while back and the manner in which people were describing themselves as “NFT Artists” was fascinating. The most interesting thing was the way in which, as you mention here, they speak as though it changes something about the art itself but it simply doesn’t; your illustration/gif/video is still the same!

  • So sell your art – and go forward,don’t mint your art as an NFT!

  • I'm with you, and I'm a certified IT professional. NFT are the dumbest thing anyone could spend money on.

  • This was so informative for me,thank you so much🙏🏻I think capitalism always finds a way to manipulate human behaviour and monetize everything. And can anyone tell me (I still couldn’t find a proper explanation to this): Why does someone buy an incredibly-common digital image (an NFT emoji,for example) and HOPE that someone will buy it in the future?What is the future use of an NFT emoji? What kind of an investment is it?

  • Great video Cat! 👏 The irony when i clicked this video and got an ad for promoting NFTs 🙃

  • You live in a capitalist society get over it

  • I've heard cases like the banana and duct tape are about money laundering.

  • You are actually just purchasing a hyperlink, the image is centralized on the server and therefore can be lost or changed. the art is not on the blockchain.

  • Very insightful and well analysed – thank you! I am currently thinking about NFTs as a way of selling something connected to my art (large scale wire sculptures) . I live in an out of the way place in the NE of Brazil and for many reasons selling the art itself is logistically impossible.

  • The purchasing of NFTs are proof that humans, as a species, are in a decline of cognitive progression. I say let people buy 'em. There will be multitudes of people to roast that have buyer's remorse. 🤷🤣

    Oh, also… it's proof that human "art" has hit a plateau. Groups of people paint the same shit, sing the same shit, write the same shit…you get the point.

  • Loved this video <3 And I really love your voice, could listen to you speak all day long <3

  • I’m a simple woman. I see bisexual lighting in the profile pic, I like comment and subscribe. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    I’ve been fascinated by the scams in the NFT and the art world for a long time! Most essays only examine NFTs as speculative crypto scams rather than the ways they mirror existing scammy systems (while still being worse somehow lol)

    Love it! Great work.

  • I like to hear arguments against NFTs. Personally I really like NFTs, but I also like to challenge my own views and be all intentional and shit. So I find myself here, typing a youtube comment on a friday night. Sad. But I'm high as fuck so I'll type it anyways.

    I like your video style, but felt like your arguments were un-researched. Did you look into multiple chains outside of the big one (Ethereum). Did you look into fees and environmental impacts from these different blockchains? I mean yes, Ethereum's not great environmentally, and don't get me started on the fees (although environmentally I think it's judged harshly considering the awful environmental impact of every single thing we humans do on a daily basis). But sure, Ethereum's not great too. But there is a plan to change that impact already in the works. And even if that plan didn't pan out there's already alternatives. So pick a better blockchain with low fee's and low environment impact. Problem solved

    The criminal thing and the idea that one can remain anonymous with blockchain tech…well I guess those are possible, but difficult. Because something people don't seem to get is that every transaction on the blockchain is public and unchangeable. For example, Melania Trump was caught buying her own NFTs because someone tracked the wallets used in the transactions. They could only do this because all financial transactions are public so they were able to see the transactions were tied back to Melania Trumps personal wallet. Making all financial transactions public is a type of transparency the world has never seen. There are ways around it, there's always bad actors who learn how to game the system. But for average people, if this ever goes mainstream it's gonna be uncomfortably transparent at times.

    The other big issue I have with your argument is that it doesn't get the emotional impact that a digital signature can give someone. Like the shit that makes people feel good doesn't have to be tactile. Like if Dwayne Johnson tweeted me I'd be fucking going crazy like why the fuck would he tweet me and acknowledge my existence! It's just a tweet right? Just some code and a few typed words. But fuck, the emotional impact of being tweeted by someone you admire is big. And that's not even art. When it comes to art, there's plenty that's collectable but not made by hand. What about 1st edition books, records, or even trading cards. These are their own form of art. But the author doesn't touch each 1st edition of the books they release. Trading cards aren't made by hand. Band merch just has to reference the right tour to have additional value. All of these things give owners a feeling of uniqueness. And being unique is enough. And this is so obviously, SO OBVIOUSLY, not a system based around monetary value like you argued. That feeling has nothing to do with money and everything to do with connection and admiration and even flexing and everything that makes art beautiful (and not beautiful)

    And so yes, I see your point about a digital signature embedded into the code of an NFT and how that is not gonna mimic exactly the feel of owning irl art. But that's because it captures something else. Having an original or ticket of authenticity or digital signature can just be about the money. But it's more than that for people who don't have the moneys too. It captures that feeling of uniquesness

    And this doesn't even scratch the surface of what you can do when you give a jpeg a unique digital signature. Personally I dig how you can use it to gain access to things, but that's me

    Idk man, but I think you missed the mark. There's definitely problems, but I think there's also some cool shit here too. And not that you have to agree or anything, but you should at least understand it fully if you're gonna try and condemn it

  • Seems like way to launder money.

  • Thank you for your clear explanation of NFT’s. Seems like this takes away the intrinsic value of art. To me, art should be enjoyed IRL. NFT’s sound like a complete scam to me.

  • This seems like another coin bubble and old video game bubble

  • Is that a banana on your wall or are you just happy to see me, but seriously, the person that bought that banana wasn't really buying a banana, they were purchasing the social status that comes with a work from that artist, the higher the cost the more status. With NTF's you get the same thing except it has more favorable options than a rotting banana can offer.

  • I like the banana duct taped to the wall.

  • The audacity of some of the “art community members” I’ll never understand NFTs are an actual disaster lawyers have been calling into question the ability for them to even work not to mention the impact these are having.

    It honestly shocks me how outright stupid people are to Think NFTs will actually work

  • m

    0:33 And after the sale, David Datuna ate the banana as part of his performance-art intervention piece "Hungry Artist". Meh, that's still better than "Two Naked Men Jump into Tracey's Bed". 🤷
    2:12 You're absolutely correct. They're not buying it for the art, they're buying it for hte investment. They're doing to art what people have been doing to comics for years. Actually, the Vatican has been doing it to art for decades, hoarding art (and other stuff), shutting them away in a dark room to never be seen, just keeping them for their potential monetary value, and thus completely wasting them. The same thing is happening to video-games now. 😒
    3:00 What? No, that's not what fungibility means. Fungible is a synonym for interchangeable. Outside the numismatic world, for financial purposes, two dimes have the same value of 10 cents and either one can be used to buy a gumball. The coins are fungible, they are interchangeable, they are, for all (fiduciary) intents and purposes, identical.
    10:54 That sham of an auction was literally a scam, a washing-trade scam to be specific. Beeple owns 2% of Metakovan's NFT company, so the whole charade was just a way to promote NFTs, and it worked. Sotheby's can look down on Christie's.
    13:20 That's what they hope, to be able to resell the NFTs for a profit, but there are two problems with that: (1) they've gone out of their way to make a point about the NFTs themselves having no intrinsic value, only in their ability to be resold for a profit, thus nobody would be interested in specific NFTs, especially if they can get another one cheaper to resell for a profit. Why buy one for $10,000 and hope to sell it for $11,000 when you can buy a dozen for $1,000 and sell them all for $2,000? and (2) Since most NFTs are procedurally -generated to minimize effort and maximize profit, there are essentially infinite NFTs available, enough so that every single person on Earth can have thousands of their own unique NFTs, so why would anyone bother buying a second-hand one for a lot of money to make someone profit when they can get lots of cheap ones per (1)? 🙄
    14:03 No, "no man's lands" was correct; the land is no man's, and there are more than one of them.
    16:52 Clearly the Metakovan/Beeple stunt was what garnered NFTs their current fame, there's no doubt about it, the media played their part in spreading the word. I'd like to think that Metakovan is the kind of person that Cat was discussing, but I suspect it's less about that, and more about the current state of the world and economy due to the virus that has people looking for other ways to make money, especially after the successful GameStop meme-stonk incident.
    17:08 I am. I'm looking to evade taxes. Between all the guns, SB8, and the deadly snowstorms they keep having, who would wan't to avoid it? Wait, what did you say? 🤔
    19:05 There's no inherent reason that NFTs even have to be art at all, they could very well be anything. It's just that something has to be provided in exchange for the money, and digital images are the easiest and most perceptible and tangible thing to represent the something being transacted. Plus, the art world is notorious for having a ridiculously skewed sense of (extrinsic) value, so it was the perfect candidate to mint into NFTs. Regardless, there are indeed non-art things that are being NFTized from audio, to code, to a newlywed couple's wedding rings (🤨), to in-game assets (which was so inevitable, the game industry had been laying the groundwork for it for years 😒).
    19:24 Theft is absolutely rampant in the NFT world now, it's gotten so much worse in the nine months since this video was posted. They steal with bald-faced impunity. In fact, they're all ripping each other off, there are countless ape offshoots now.
    19:25 So… if you can find a way to get famous, any junk you do becomes valuable? 🤨
    19:34 That's exactly what they did to the "Charlie Bit My Finger" video, they sold it as an NFT and offered to remove the original video, but the buyer (an NFT corporation) opted to not remove it—which would lose all the YT metadata—and just left it private as a backup to be able to restore it in case they get destroyed by people.
    20:00 And this was May 2021, Cat hadn't seen the depths NFTbros sunk to since then. I'm watching the followup video next…
    20:10 People who were in some memes have sold those memes as NFTs. 🤨 Expect an absolute explosion in contrived memes as people try to make one of themselves go viral just so that they can sell it as an NFT. 🙄
    24:45 They are indeed a pyramid scheme, just a really wonky pyramid that looks like a brain-damaged monkey made it.
    30:25 It makes me angry that I know who all of those people are. 😒
    31:03 The environmental problem isn't about NFTs or even Ethereum, it's a problem with the very concept of "blockchain technology", you know, that technojargonbuzzword that people love throwing around these days as "the future"? The very way that blockchains work means they have to consume a lot of processing power and burn waste electricity. Proof-of-stake mitigates that, but it also obviates the very purpose of cryptocurrency in the first place, using proof-of-stake instead of proof-of-work transforms cryptocurrency into nothing more than traditional stocks, which defeats the whole "equality" purpose. 🤦
    31:29 The miners (even dedicated ASICs) directly use a lot of electricity themselves, but they also use a lot more electricity for the cooling that's required to prevent them from dying. They're not just wasting power, they're not just contributing (a significant amount) to climate-change from using fossil-fuel-derived electricity, but they're also directly contributing to global warming by directly generating a tremendous amount of heat. 🤦
    32:50 They aren't even creating artificial scarcity because of the low-cost, low- no-effort nature of most the NFTs makes it too tempting to make only a few, they can't resist procedurally-generating thousands millions billions infinite of them.
    33:32 You're getting your wish. Bananas may very well go extinct in our lifetimes. The Gros Michele was essentially completely wiped out from a blight, and they didn't learn anything from that (or the Irish potato famine 😒), and continued doing monoculture, and there is already a new blight that affects the Cavendish making its way around the world now. So enjoy bananas while you can; your kids may not get to.

  • While I love bananas, they are super carb heavy and I'm a diabetic, so I share your sentiment about the world needing fewer bananas. Same with NFT's.

  • I am getting a $150,000 of personal enrichment from looking at that banana on your wall. Now I'm going to mint an NFT of my personal enrichment from said banana.

  • And ofc the pre-roll ad is some guy trying to convince you that you must use NFT if you're doing crypto. rotfl

  • This was brilliant, informative, and often funny. I came across it because I've been seriously considering getting into NFTs as a way to pay my bills while doing less client work. You've done a lot to pull me back from the idea. I already knew about the environmental impact and money laundering, but not being a big name artist with existing wealth and fame the most likely outcome of me getting involved is that I just make someone else even richer… and the world doesn't need that.

    Also the more I've been looking into what sort of stuff really sells big in NFT land the more disappointed I am in humanity.

  • Hahaha this video is not going to age well and a lot of artists are already getting mad at people like you because they're realizing everything youtubers like you say about NFTs are flat wrong (because, shocker: you didn't do proper research before making the video, lol) and are actively working to keep artists from earning a LOT easier living)

    I wonder if you'll leave it up when they come, lol.

  • I guarantee you this man is now buying, selling and trading NFTS lol 😂

  • Sounds like a Ponzi scheme for drug dealers to launder money.

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