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NFTs

Last updated February 15, 2022

Source: vgr on Magic Beans

An NFT need not to contain something. All it guarantees is that it has an “identity and can be traded, transferred, mixed and matched indiscriminately with other things in a social context.” See the Degraded Blockchain problem.

# 3 (progressively more ambitious) ways to think about NFTs

  1. Signifier-value mental models: right to represent things
  2. Agency-value mental models: right to do things
  3. Right-to-future-rights mental models: right to expect things

I specifically like the last version of these: the right to expect things. “An NFT represents an access pass to an unspecified, generative possible future associated with an object. It is a key to a possible world.”

# Ownership

Right-clicking is not a problem for the NFT world because securing exclusive possession rights is not the problem NFTs aim to solve.

Do you really think 9/10ths of the value associated with the Mona Lisa accrues to the Louvre? I can put a photograph of it in an article, write a book discussing it, even make a movie about it, without paying the Louvre anything. The Louvre has the right to hold the original physically, but every other meaningful right is in the public domain. Not only are these other rights collectively far more valuable, physical possession only has value by way of derivation from these other rights.

Digital Permanence

“Our web experiences to date have [for the majority of users] been like running errands out from points of departure/return within the physical world. Of going out to the web to - browse the news, buy something, trade a stock, whatever - but then coming back to the physical world. Our trips are short, and we travel lightly - by necessity - for we have no real way to “bring” anything with us from site to site besides our wallets.

The NFT, at least as a concept, represents something of a sea change in that mentality. That the web will not be errand space forever, but a place that we come to “inhabit” to a deeper degree than we do now (and maybe which most people would even think they’d ever want to).”


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