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Reblogged:The Right(-Click) Mentality?

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I know next to nothing about Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), but an article at VICE certainly isn't making me become any less skeptical.

First, a definition, courtesy of Wikipedia:
People pay lots of money to be able to say they own images like this. (Image by Maqbool321, via Wikipedia, license.)
A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger (blockchain). NFTs can be associated with easily-reproducible items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files as unique items (analogous to a certificate of authenticity), and use blockchain technology to give the NFT a verified and public proof of ownership. Copies of the original file are not restricted to the owner of the NFT, and can be copied and shared like any file. The lack of interchangeability (fungibility) distinguishes NFTs from blockchain cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. [bold added, links and notes removed]
The cartoon character pictured in this post is an example of what all the hubbub is about.

I'm not completely dismissive of NFTs: I can see the concept being useful in some rational context as a kind of proof of ownership, but dumping wads of cash just to be able to say something like Yeah, but I'm the actual owner of this image doesn't strike me as one of them.

Indeed, after reading "What the Hell Is 'Right-Clicker Mentality'?, it looks a lot like Peter Keating finally learned how to use a computer.

We can see this when an "NFT-bro" ridicules someone who posted a photo of his relatively inexpensive knock-off of a famous restaurant's astronomically-priced gold-encrusted steak:
"This is a great example of right-clicker mentality," Midwit Milhouse said on Twitter. "Sure, you can make your own gold-coated steak for 65GBP, but then you don't have the satisfaction, flex, clout that comes from having eaten at Salt Bae's restaurant. The value is not in the cost of the steak. Go ahead, make yourself a gold-coated steak at home. Post a picture of it on Instagram. See how much clout it gets you. Salt Bae's dish costs around 1500GBP because people want to pay 1500 GBP to show off that they can afford to pay that much. It's all about the flex."

... To be an NFT collector is to philosophically buy into the idea that owning this string of numbers means you "own" a JPEG that lesser people simply right-click to save on their machines at any time.[bold added]
Again, I can't just discount the idea, even if I find the application under discussion to be daft. (A real-world example might help: There is great art worth collecting and there is junk that gets bidded up into the stratosphere by second-handers trying to buy prestige. I can likewise imagine an NFT tied to something of actual value being useful.)

That said, the article indicates a cultural divide about NFTs that also brings to my mind the way the Wright Brothers were ridiculed about the impossibility of air travel.

Again, I know little about NFTs and can just as easily see these NFT-bros as wealthy early adopters having fun some financially-risky fun with a new technology.

This leaping laggard will stop now, enjoy his popcorn, and see where things shake out in a few years. The fact that some people act like idiots concerning a new idea does not necessarily damn the idea.

-- CAV

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