The delirium of NFTs will lead us to the end of the world
8 min read
If it is possible for anyone to obtain the Beeple's digital artwork with a `Ctrl + C`, `Ctrl + V`, why would anyone pay millions for a certificate of ownership that has no legal backing and can disappear at any time? Rodrigo Ghedin's analysis of NFTs for LABS
If Walter Benjamin were alive, he would have a lot to think and write about the digitization of culture, services like streaming, and all the kinds of business that gravitate around the arts, such as NFTs. In the absence of the 20th-century German thinker, you will have to content yourself with me, a mere observer without Benjamin's talent or knowledge, to try to understand this last one, the NFT (Non-fungible token), the great 2021's market sensation or fraud, depending on whom you ask.

At first, I should explain, or try to, what an NFT is. I will do this but avoiding the technical details that generally do not contribute so much. Some people argue that the supposed complexity of the thing is a prerequisite to sell it, but the NFT is, in its essence, much simpler than it seems. If the basic investment tip is to know what you are investing in, this purposeful difficulty in understanding NFTs turns on the red alerts.

In simple, or understandable, terms, NFT is a record in a distributed database (the blockchain) that assigns ownership (and therefore intrinsic value) to a digital item.

What makes NFT a weird business is that it reneges on the defining characteristic of digital even though it is itself digital: the perfect reproducibility at negligible cost. You can do a test yourself on your computer: open Windows Explorer, select a file, make a `Ctrl + C`,`Ctrl + V`. Congratulations, you have created a perfect copy of a digital item. There are even mechanisms to certify the perfection of the copy, to attest that the zeros and ones of the new file are exactly the same as the "original". In digital, the perfect copy is so trivial that we are not even aware of it in everyday life.

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The ownership of an NFT is recorded on a blockchain, another technology that is hard to explain and, so far, useless. (Note a pattern.) The buyer receives a JSON file with a brief description of the item and…
Rodrigo Ghedin
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