What is an NFT, behind the scenes?

An ugly ape which could be an NFT

“NFT” is currently on everyone’s lips again, and not only because of Pro Senectute. But what is actually behind the full-bodied promises of the NFT advocates?

For more insights on NFTs and the entire blockchain ecosystem, click here. You can also read this text in German 🇩🇪.

“NFT” stands for “Non-Fungible Token” and is being marketed by some for the future of digital art and so on.


In reality, however, an art NFT is:

In short, a very complex, opaque and unclear system is being set up without any possibility for appeal or mercy, which tramples on our rights to privacy and – despite all protestations of fairness and distribution – actually only benefits a few (newly) rich.

Unsubstantiated promises

Tante (aka Jürgen Geuter) recently took a close look at the promises made by NFT supporters. His findings:

The use of NFTs does not fundamentally change the often unfair access to audiences, the often unfair payment, and the often difficult access to upfront investment. Nor is it a step into a completely new arts culture or arts funding culture. (Or, in the case of Pro Senectute, donation culture).

Jumping on short-term hype alone, which simply adds a layer of abstraction and complexity to existing possibilities, does not bring about the sustainable change that is needed in our society. On the contrary, it tends to reinforce disincentives for unfair power structures.

Thus, they are not only of no use, but in my view even harmful to society in the long run.

Let’s better support artists and other people and organisations that mean something to us, directly and without expensive, complex and non-transparent intermediaries. Bank details can be found on almost every website.

Instead of adding more complexity to our already excessively complex world, how about getting back to the basics and keep thing simple?

Blockchain ecosystem

More posts in the blockchain ecosystem here, with the latest here:

  • The year in review
    This is the time to catch up on what you missed during the year. For some, it is meeting the family. For others, doing snowsports. For even others, it is cuddling up and reading. This is an article for the latter.
  • NFTs are unethical
    As an avid reader, you know my arguments that neither NFT nor smart contracts live up to their promises, and that the blockchain underneath is also more fragile and has a worse cost-benefit ratio than most believe. Similarly, I also claim the same for the metaverses built on top of them all. And that the… Read more: NFTs are unethical
  • Inefficiency is bliss (sometimes)
    Bureaucracy and inefficiency are frowned upon, often rightly so. But they also have their good sides: Properly applied, they ensure reliability and legal certainty. Blockchain disciples want to “improve” bureaucracy-ridden processes, but achieve the opposite. Two examples:
  • The FTX crypto exchange and its spider web
    Yesterday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released its indictment against Sam Bankman-Fried. It details the financial entanglements of FTX, Alameda Research and more than a hundred other companies and individuals. We have tried to disentangle these allegations somewhat for you.
  • Web3 for data preservation? (Or is it just another expensive P2P?)
    Drew Austin raises an important question in Wired: How should we deal with our accumulated personal data? How can we get from randomly hoarding to selection and preservation? And why does his proposed solution of Web3 not work out? A few analytical thoughts.
  • Rejuvenation for Pro Senectute through NFT and Metaverse?
    Pro Senectute beider Basel, a foundation to help the elderly around Basel, launched its NFT project last week and already informed about its Metaverse commitment beforehand. According to a media release, Michael Harr, managing director of the 15-million Basel-based company, wants to use the purchase of these “properties” in a “central location” in two online… Read more: Rejuvenation for Pro Senectute through NFT and Metaverse?

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