Six months into writing for Culture H0R, my mental reserve of crypto information is the equivalent of an average house on Hoarders. And, since some of you apparently still don’t get what an NFT even is, let me stay on theme and dive a little deeper into the aforementioned Super Fungible Token as an opportunity to share the burden of all this thoroughly fugazi information.
NFTs aren’t actually overpriced JPGs. You’re not paying for an image. You’re paying to own a unique combination of characters on a blockchain, which is basically a permanent virtual transaction log. It’s ‘permanent’ because, unlike traditional databases hosted on server farms, chains are decentralized. For example. If the Facebook server shut down, you wouldn’t be able to access the site until they got it back up again. But for the Ethereum blockchain to shut down, 51% of all access points would have to, which is next to impossible. (Unless the whole world goes all Revolution on us, which probably won’t happen for another year or two at least.)
So, if you buy an NFT, your (anonymous user) name is etched in history next to the string of characters representing a non-fungible token. To a lot of people who spend too much time on the Internet, this digital, cosplayed permanence is a valuable thing. Especially if the string of characters point to an asset with some sort of social or economic worth, like an ape profile picture priced higher than an island nation.
However, because blockchain real estate is expensive and it would take immense capital and computing power to upload an actual image file onto a chain, there is almost always no ‘real’ link between the image and the actual NFT. There are automated smart contracts designed to regulate the transactions, but they can be written to allow the image to change at any given time. Which is exactly the absurdity that the Super Fungible Token lampshades. Designed by the multimedia project digital void and Twitter meme curator @WTTDOTM, the SFT is an NFT minted so anyone can drop a link to any image, which will, for the time being, become the NFT.
Now, no one actually owns the SFT. The best art is never for sale, although its exquisite approximation of vintage Nintendo style and thematically appropriate meme (submitted, at the time of publication, by yours truly) would surely fetch a pretty altcoin penny on the patently tasteless OpenSea. But the idea it represents is priceless. There is no inherent value to NFTs, because not even the sometimes-excellent, oft-atrocious art associated with them is really permanent. The only part that lasts forever is the record of you buying into the hype, even if your Pudgy Penguin animorphed into an unsolicited DP in the meantime.