NFTs: The Gathering

(of my thoughts)

Revelations 3:16

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth.

– God


I’m no longer religious, but the above scripture keeps coming to mind when I consider my relationship with digital collectibles.

I worry that I’m lukewarm, but ultimately, I think I’m cold. I mean, nobody wants to be a waffling hypocrite. So, yeah, fuck all that. Fuck NFTs, Stamps, BRC-20s, Ordinals, all of that shit. For now. Until I get proven otherwise. If you’re a true collector TM, then bully for you. Congrats. You are truly enlightened TM . Truth seems to be at the crux of all this, and truth, it seems, can get lost in translation. Here’s my attempt:

Collecting

  • Everything boils down to 3 primordial facts: 
    1. The collector mindset is just inherent in some people and… it can’t be re-wired (no matter how much disdain you heap upon it)
    2. If you don’t have that collector’s mindset, digital collectibles will strike you as utterly pointless. And despite my next point, you gotta find a higher road or more strategic tack.
    3. A LOT of people feel like they missed the ‘bitcoin get rich boat’, contract blockchain fever, and are willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make bank. This unfortunate fact drives an unsavory galaxy of insatiable grift and inexhaustible nonsense that clouds other sincere efforts at education and adoption.

Not to Put Too Much of a Point On It But

  • I can even forgive the genuinely ignorant, desperate, clamoring noobs in point #3 above, god knows the global fiscal cards are stacked against them, but the VCs and OGs that capitalize on this opportunity…yick. They should be ashamed of themselves.
  • I mean, maybe there’s a wonderful world of collectibles that *needs to be built right fucking now or else*, but I tend to believe that they’ve just convinced themselves that blockchain permanence is kinda cool, without thinking much more about it. Did the baseball card community 1000x overnight, or did people just stumble upon a new way to maybe gamble?

Novel Invention

  • Here’s one last thing: your art sucks. Okay, maybe not. Maybe it’s neat or cool or actually kind of good — but hashing it into bitcoin doesn’t make *you* or the image any better. Apart from the fee, it’s practically effortless, meaningless. Anyone can do it. You’re not special. Bitcoin isn’t special, or rather, bitcoin doesn’t make your art special.
  • In defense of the digital JPEGGERS, I’d also like to mention that without acknowledging my initial points #1 & #2 above, you risk becoming a right-click clucker: forever uninsightful, forever tedious
  • Maybe go hang out at some board game cafés and scream at the customers. They love it when you do that.

If you don’t want to play the game,
you don’t have to play the game.

Room to Chill

  • Aaaall that said, and as someone who works in and around bitcoin all the time, the irony is not lost on me when I say this: if NFTs and the like are all you talk about, then it can get to be a bit much. I can see why it attracts detractors and cluckers. It’s an all too easy target. It’s not quite like this Shatner moment from the old SNL sketch, but it’s darn close:

NFT as Distraction

  • So, in the end, I think I’m just disappointed. We’re trying to build a rocket to the moon and people want to strap kites to the fuselage. Annoying.
  • It’s argued that NFTs distract from a larger purpose. Bitcoin’s earth-shattering profundity should easily outweigh the fascination with NFTs by orders of magnitude — it seems obvious to me, but obviously not to others. Why do people spend their time on anything other than bitcoin? Good question! Go ask Twitter and I’m sure everyone will weigh in politely.

  • A *lot* of people just can’t see the need to prioritize fixing the money. I know, it sucks and is kind of baffling in a way. But you might as well go complain to a blind person about VR tech shortcomings if that makes you feel better.
  • I’ve become reconciled with the fact that NFTs are an inevitable by-product. Bitcoin is a language, NFTs are a dialect. Not everyone speaks it. Some bastardize it.

– – – I N T E R M I S S I O N – – –

Time Travel

  • While I don’t collect, I do appreciate the implied value of embedding information on an append-only data structure in perpetuity. It’s a way of saying “I was here”.
  • We can’t go back. We can never go back. But we can mark the moment. I get it. It’s frozen in time, and time is the most precious thing we have.
  • The further into the future we go, the past can seem more and more meaningful. It’s very personal and metaphysical. Acknowledging and commemorating these feelings is only natural. I could never hold this desire for time travel against anyone.
  • To this idea I would say: find a way to make your mark genuinely, rather than low-effort hashing it into a bitcoin block. Make a real difference somewhere, somehow. If you can’t, well, so be it.

Patronage

  • In a world where online content is king, and you have to constantly pump stuff out to stay relevant, that’s a bit at odds with the scarcity aspect of good art. So I guess what I’m trying to say is: just be mindful of your reasons for fawning over what might, in a non-blockchain context, be seen as just a ‘cool drawing, bro!’ Adjust your bids accordingly.

Money Money Money

  • Again, it’s possible the ‘normie class’ will rampage onto the scene en masse and throw billions of dollars around, but I’ve just seen too many ‘digital assets’ bleed out slowly over and over and over and over and over and over again without a proper raison d’être.
  • Just promise me you’ll come up for air once in a while and honestly try to discern whether you’re one of the true investment geniuses or the greater fool.

Respect for Different Chains

  • I find that being negative in my art has always left me feeling a bit hollow, so I’ve evolved to just focus in positive ways on solutions that I believe in (i.e. run a bitcoin node). In this way, maybe I’ll set an example.

Innovation / Utility

I had a lot of bullet points here, but really, just see the bandwagon image below:

In Closing

So much of the magic of art, be it cave paintings, Rare Pepes or a Cézanne, is that the artist was most likely doing it to just express themselves. The adulation is secondary. I guess my point here is that artists and collectors alike should strive for the humility to be here for the right reasons, or you risk debasing everything, including yourself.

So much of this issue boils down to personal priorities and investment of energy. I feel very similar to when I sold my last bleeding altcoin – it was a relief because I could just focus on what engages my intellect most: bitcoin.

For now, I bid you a fond adieu.