NFTs - I have got something, but I haven’t
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are opening up a whole world of new possibilities. For example, what if one was able to sell one’s child's drawing online while keeping it on the fridge? A written invitation to think further ... and dream.
by Strigalt von Entf*
You know the problem, dear readers: you would like to own Ingres' masterpiece "The Great Odalisque". But alas, it doesn't quite fit into the living room, the lighting in the hallway is inadequate, the cerulean curtain of the painting doesn't match the lapis-coloured favourite tablecloth, yes, and anyway, the stimulating work should continue to be available to the appreciative eye of the general public. Don't despair, because in the technological world, there is a simple solution to this problem: NFTs!
NFTs, or if you are not in a hurry: Non-Fungible Tokens, allow the common computer owner to call a particular work their own without actually having to own it. So you, art-loving fellow readers, could acquire the back view so liberally staged by Ingres, but it could still remain where it is not safe from other lust-filled eyes either.
Admittedly, so far this blockchain-based wonder is mainly used to assign inconsequential image files and similar binary flotsam in the sea of the World Wide Web to an owner. This, too, provides charming options: Instead of radically banishing the archive data rubbish to the orcus of the digital wastebasket, simply offer the old treasures on a digital flea market. Copy your old holiday photos? Not interesting. But thanks to NFTs, the work "big toe in front of blurred sunset" becomes a precious individual item with collector's value.
Admittedly, so far this blockchain-based wonder is mainly used to assign inconsequential image files and similar binary flotsam in the sea of the World Wide Web to an owner.
Visionary as I consider you, dear information seekers, you have already been thinking one step ahead: Why stop at the trade of digital objects? Extended to the physical world, unimagined possibilities spin out.
One of the interesting oddities of the NFT trade is that there is no single market. The various blockchain projects are as diverse as the hairs of Medusa springing from her head, each of which defines its own market – and thus, independently of one another, its own owners of the same work. With just a little imagination, this should warm the hearts of die-hard Marxists: We only need as many blockchains as people, and all the inhabitants of the earth could be owners of everything at the same time. The dream of communism – digitally, it has never been so real!
Well, for practical life this may bring new problems: It may be charming that in our blockchain we all count as the owner of the elegant Jaguar on the neighbour's doorstep – but who is allowed to drive it through reality? One would have to agree on a global system, just as VHS prevailed in the epic battle against Betamax. Already you could sell the precious brushstrokes of your obviously highly gifted son to art-loving people all over the world and still have them hanging on your fridge. Once and for all, the Wüthrich family can settle which favourite teacup belongs to which member.
For now, one can still enjoy the entry of an NFT oneself, while the rest of the world can ignore it, like Agamemnon ignored the warnings of Cassandra.
As I write these words, I can sense the sheer excitement that overtakes you as you read them, but the best is yet to come: in addition to their uniqueness, NFTs also guarantee that digital information cannot be falsified. Certificates can thus be passed on digitally without the need for costly certified copies. Even better: Grandmother Annegret's original noodle soup recipe can be offered for sale on the net without the risk of a culinarily lost soul replacing French tarragon with ordinary tarragon. A portent that would otherwise stick to grandma fizzles out into oblivion.
Mankind has not yet climbed the Olympus of the unified blockchain. But before you start digging your heels in with impatience to see when the time will finally come, let me explain to you the benefit of the deficit: For now, one can still enjoy the entry of an NFT yourself, while the rest of the world can ignore it like Agamemnon ignored the warnings of Cassandra. Now if one were to think not only of property in the proper sense ... well ... please understand ... the following is difficult even for a vocal hero like me ... imagine if an unnamed, articulate columnist could have a marriage to the wonderful, enchanting Aida Garifullina registered in an unknown blockchain ... after all, the lovely one would not have to care, but the columnist would experience a brief promise of paradise.
In love ... I mean: with adoration,
Strigalt von Entf
*Our "Feuill-IT-ong" format is created in collaboration with the two freelance writers Tobias Lauterbach und Daniel Al-Kabbani who occasionally contribute to the satire platform "Der Postillon". Under the pseudonym Strigalt von Entf, they report on current events from the world of technology – always with a wink! ;-)