Sunday Morning Coffee with Jeemes: What’s All This Fuss about NFT’s?

           WHAT’S ALL THIS FUSS ABOUT NFT’S?                                       

 

“NFT’s [non-fungible tokens] are having their big-bang moment: collectors and speculators have spent more than $200 million on an array of NFT-based artwork, memes and GIFs in the past month alone, according to market tracker NonFungible.com, compared with $250 million throughout all of 2020.”

                                                                                                 Andrew R. Chow[1]

“The People’s Daily article [mouthpiece of the ruling Chinese Communist Party], published online on Thursday under the title ‘Is NFT leading to metaverse or fraud?’, questioned skyrocketing NFT prices, such as the record-breaking sale of the digital photo collage Everydays: The First 5000 Dayswhich was sold at US $69.3 million in March...[In China] NFTs have so far evaded regulatory scrutiny, but the window appears to be closing. Both Tencent and Ant recently renamed their NFT offerings as “digital collectibles” after Securities Times, a financial newspaper supervised by the People’s Dailywarned of a potential bubble in NFT’s.”

                                                                                                  Coco Feng[2]

 

As usual, I have missed the techno-boat.

Several futuristic technology-based ideas peppered throughout my Christian-fiction novels (set 15-20 years in the future) are now the subject of everyday “stuff.” As a result, what I pictured to take place several years in the future now seems to be reactive on my part rather than prophetic.

Why? Two reasons: the principle of exponential change in the realm of today’s technology (a frequent topic of my missives) and my lack of urgency in getting my manuscript self-published.

Today’s fuss about NFTs is a case in point.

What is an NFT?

An NFT (non-fungible token) is a digital asset that exists on a blockchain. The blockchain serves as a public ledger, allowing anyone to verify the asset’s authenticity and ownership. So, unlike most digital items which can be endlessly reproduced, each NFT has a unique digital signature, meaning it is one of a kind. NFTs are usually bought with the cryptocurrency Ether or in dollars and the blockchain keeps a record of transactions. While anyone can view the NFTs, the buyer has the status of being the official owner—a kind of digital bragging rights.[3]

Okay Jeemes. Enough of the techno-mumble-jumble.

Why are you interested in NFTs and, more to the point, why should I as a reader be interested?

For one thing, today’s technologists see NFTs as the latest step toward a long-promised global blockchain revolution that could radically transform consumer capitalism, with major implications for everything from home loans to health care.[4]

This trend has been accelerated by lockdown situations prompted by the pandemic.

At the present time, however, the most popular NFTs are collectibles, followed by sports-themed tokens, and thirdly, digital artwork, according to NonFungible.com. During the first half of 2021, 367,129 NFT collectibles, almost 300,000 sports cars and 124,000 artworks were sold.[5] So far, the record for the most expensive NFT in history is held by digital artist “Beeple’s”[6] Everyday: The First 5000 Days, which reached an impressive $69.3 million in March 2021, when auctioned at the prestigious Christie’s house. The buyer of Beeple’s digital artwork turned out to be a collector group called Metapurse, two anonymous Singapore-based investors who have been experimenting with tech-driven collective-ownership models. In January, the duo bought 20 Beeple artworks, placed them in a virtual museum that can be visited for free, and then fractionalized their new enterprise into tokens which are now co-owned by 5,400 people. Their value has since increased sixfold as of March 16. The duo is considering a similar move with their latest headline-grabbing purchase, which they hope to display in a cutting-edge virtual museum. The idea, says Metapurse co-partner Twobadour, is to “open up both the experience of art and its ownership to everybody.”[7]

I predicted such a trend years ago in my futuristic Christian fiction manuscript.

Indeed, in the first novel of my Christian fiction trilogy, Prawnocous Rising, I describe the world’s most expensive piece of art twenty years in the future—The Prawnocuos—as being funded by NFTs. The novel begins with a prologue citing a futuristic excerpt from Baidu Baike (literally “Collaborative Chinese Encyclopedia”—Beijing’s version of Wikipedia):

                   The Prawnocuos (compound term coined by eccentric billionaire Daryl Lee Haman to describe the world’s most expensive artwork; word almost certainly derives from old English prayne—15th century, origin unknown, and –ocuos  from Latin nocere “to injure or harm.” “Prawn,” in turn, is the common name for small aquatic crustaceans with an exo-skeleton and ten legs; phylum decapoda. In Chinese Mandarin rendered xia, in Cantonese haa). The Prawnocuos is often described as the world’s most famous example of modern techno-art, with design attributed in whole or in part to Daryl Lee Haman.

  Artist             Unknown, could be result of secret team collaboration.

Year               c. 2040-2042

Type              Proprietary mixture of algorithmic paints, proteins, enzymes, and other living organisms.

Dimensions   609.6 cm x 457.2 cm (20 feet x 15 feet)

Owner           Commissioned and owned exclusively by billionaire CEO of Sincom, Daryl Lee Haman

The wall-sized artwork itself is contained in a special display room on the mezzanine level of the Sincom Headquarters Building in Singapore’s Central Business District. The display is open to visitors from 0800-1700 hours, Monday through Friday. The unique, constantly shifting organisms make the artwork one of the city-state’s leading tourist attractions. Conspiracy theories continue to abound      about the fate of the artist—or artists—mostly swirling around the eccentric behavior and genius of Haman.”

Interesting concept Jeemes, but how do NFTs fit in?

As I go on to explain in the prologue:

“The true value of The Prawnocous is difficult to assess,  in that its value increases on an hourly basis due to a growing body of global individual investors and Haman’s proprietary NFT (non-fungible tokens)—a  derivative cryptocurrency based  on its rising value. An investment team of art collectors from Shanghai’s famous Long Museum, established by flamboyant art dealer Liu Yiqian and his wife in 2016, reportedly offered Haman over $817 million dollars for the artwork during secret  negotiations in 2045. If true, that makes The Prawnocous several times more valuable than Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, (c. 1490-1500) sold at a Christie’s auction to a group of Arab investors three years ago for a reported US$712 million.

According to a variety of unsubstantiated underground social media sites in the U.S. and elsewhere, Haman uses the unreported income flows from The Prawnocous to fund a number of global anti-Christian causes.”

What other types of predictions are included in the novel? A future war, a ruinous economic collapse, police drones, medical “sniffers” to detect diseases, American Christians sent to concentration camps, a future pandemic, increasingly intrusive technology, biogenetic NINs (national identification numbers) powered by the human body’s internal systems, DNA-powered memory pods, a global megacorporation, a new Asian-based techno-religion, cybernetic-humanoid investigators given extraordinary legal rights to protect proprietary claims, a globalist and wealthy anti-Christian elite, and a spiritually-empowered Christian remnant.

Interestingly enough, all these ideas preceded the world of cellphones, ubiquitous social media platforms, the political dominance of far-left agendas, CRISPR-Cas9, and COVID-19.

[1] Andrew R. Chow, “NFTs Are Shaking Up the Art World—But They Could Change So Much More,” TIME, Mar 22, 2021.

[2] Coco Feng, “Chinese state media renews warning against NFT ‘zero-sum’ game, flagging ‘fraud’ risks as digital collectibles gain recognition,” South China Morning Post, Nov 26, 2021. For an additional article relating to the status of NFTs in China—including the giving away of 1,124 metaverse-themed “digital collectibles” by the Chinese media firm 36kr Holdings at a Shenzhen conference in late November—see Josh Ye, “Metaverse and NFT gain traction in China despite Beijing’s wariness as media firm 36kr issues ‘digital collectibles,’” South China Morning Post, Nov 25, 2021.

[3] Definition taken from Elizabeth Howcroft’s article “Explainer: NFTs are hot. So what are they?” Reuters (Technology News), Mar 21, 2021.

[4] Chow, “NFTs are shaking up the art world.”

[5] Entrepreneur en Espanol, “NFT fever hit all-time highs with sales of $2.5 billion so far in 2021,” Entrepreneur, Jul 8, 2021.

[6] Beeple is the professional name for 40-year-old Wisconsin native and digital artist Mike Winkelmann. According to Wikipedia, Beeple’s works make political and social commentary while using pop culture figures as references.

[7] Tanveer Tafar, “5 Reasons Why NFTs Are The Metaverse’s Ideal Revenue Model,” Entrepreneur, Oct 29, 2021.

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