I minted and sold an NFT of Mona Lisa
It has been hard not to hear about the NFT craze that has developed over the last few weeks. I first heard about NFTs when NBA Top Shot sold NBA highlights for amounts of money I haven't even made in my lifetime.
Drinking the NFT kool aid
At first I shrugged NFTs off, but then my co-worker just told me to take a deeper look into it. I did. After reading how the Ethereum website describes NFTs, I drank some of the kool aid. Whoever conceptualized a Non-fungible Token has very admirable goals. The most familiar use case for NFTs is allowing digital artists to monetize their work, but Ethereum's vision is much greater than that. On their site, they imagine using NFTs as collateral in decentralized loans, to buy a car or a house, to increase royalties for game developers, or even to represent a domain name!
Clearly, Ethereum has some very futurist visions for NFTs that I fully support. I mean, the idea of using an NFT in my ethereum wallet as proof of car ownership, and therefore, as my car keys, is just insane.
Trying to get my piece of the pie
Of course, beyond just thinking NFTs are conceptually cool, I wanted to see how I can make a profit off the craze.
As I was looking for some interesting NFTs, I found that most marketplaces were very saturated. There was no good way to really find interesting NFTs without browsing through piles and piles of very low-quality content. That's where I came up with my first idea, to build an NFT Museum. The purpose of this was for art collectors to show off their favorite finds, and for artists to have a curated platform to show off their work. In addition, I am hopeful that I can get into touch with people who have actually tapped into the more futurist side of NFTs and are using them to do more surprising things like sell an essay.
I think this will be good for the NFT community, digital artists, and also give me the chance to learn about more interesting applications of NFTs and meet some pretty cool people. I haven't thought too far about monetization yet, but if I could build an engaged audience, perhaps I can also host promotional exhibits! Our first exhibit is on April 1st, 2021, and we will have new exhibits monthly. Check it out!
Realizing NFT Scarcity Is Flawed
As I learned more about NFTs, I realized that you can just make anything into an NFT... NFTs are just class objects with fields that represent the name, description, owner, etc.. Of course, the true value of an NFT would be if the creator's signature was embedded into the NFT. For example, Jack Dorsey selling his first tweet is worth much more than someone else selling Jack Dorsey's tweet. V.cent, a marketplace for NFTs of tweets, circumvents this problem by making sure that only the owner of the tweet can initiate a selling of that tweet.
That's a good solution for tweets, but it doesn't fully solve the problem for NFTs in general. As it turns out, anyone can steal any copyrighted material, create NFTs out of them, and then sell them. As far as I know, there are no legal consequences to this (yet?). Of course, there are no laws about this, but I find it hard to imagine that someone can be sued for creating an NFT on a decentralized platform that does not imply actual ownership of the object. I know nothing about law, though, and imagine this will become an ongoing debate.
Minting and Selling the Mona Lisa
I knew it was possible, but I still thought it seemed bonkers. Can I really just create and sell anything? I had to give it a try.
After setting up my Ethereum wallet, I downloaded an image of Mona Lisa, stole a description straight off Wikipedia, and created the NFT on mintable.app. "No way this will sell..." But an hour later, someone bid $5! What the hell?!? The fact that I can even profit off this is probably a red flag?
I got excited and created a collection of Spongebob Meme NFTs to sell. Gotta shoot my shot, right?
The world is getting weird. My conceptualization of property and legality is just not up to date with all of the stuff happening in the digital realm. I don't know if anyone's is, and I don't know how long it will take for the digital and physical world to come together on this. (Lord, please don't let me be sued)