NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are one of those new digital trends that can be difficult to get a grasp of, but this has not prevented people from spending small fortunes on buying the “ownership” of these digital intellectual properties. The problem – for those who see it as a problem – is that an NFT does not prevent anyone from copying the work itself.
As a result, the Australian developer Geoffrey Huntley has now released 19.5 terabytes of art that are actually linked to “all the NFTs on the Ethereum and Solana blockchains”. The site making it all available has been given the nostalgic name “The NFT Bay“.
Huntley claims that the whole stunt is an “art project”, and that the goal of the website is for people to get a better understanding of what NFTs actually are – and what they are not. In a sort of press release, he writes the following:
“I hope through http://thenftbay.org people learn to understand what people are buying when purchasing NFT art right now is nothing more than directions on how to access or download an image. There is a gap of understanding between buyer and seller right now that is being used to exploit people. The image is typically not stored on the blockchain and the majority of images I’ve seen are hosted on web2.0 storage which is likely to end up as 404 meaning the NFT has even less value.”
By Web 2.0 storage, he means general storage services in the cloud, and 404 is a known error message that appears in the browser when web resources are no longer available at the given address. The Internet is dynamic, with changing addresses and shifting servers. An image file at any given URL might not remain available for long.
The NFT Bay itself is, as the name implies, built on the model of the infamous pirate site The Pirate Bay, but is essentially just a shell. The few individual NFTs that are shown an only link to “The Million Dollar Torrent”, which according to Huntley contains the entirety of digital art people have paid absurd amounts to claim ownership of.
As already mentioned, the torrent file is a whopping 19.5 terabytes, so it might not tempt too many people to download. The size also makes it hard to confirm or deny that the torrent actually does contain crypto art, but that doesn’t change the point of the stunt.
The three letters are short for non-fungible tokens and are a digital token based on blockchain technology – just like cryptocurrency. The idea is that an NFT should be a kind of digital “voucher” linked, for example, to a picture or other intellectual property. Such an NFT may not be copied or shared. But, as Huntley points out, there is nothing wrong with copying the work itself. Which, of course, makes many question the point of it all. If The NFT Bay will make even more people critical remains to be seen.
The most expensive NFT recently sold for $530 million – kind of. We “stole” it for you so you get to see it in all its glory below. Someone has also paid a whopping $100,000 for what was described by the creator as a “video of my poop”, an NFTurd. The second most expensive NFT ever sold is a piece by the digital artist Beeple, who cashed in a very decent $69.3 million US dollars, making him one of the most expensive artists in history of mankind.