What the hell is an NFT anyway? Non-Fungible Tokens are basically digital assets or collectors items, sort of like a rare Pokémon card that has gained value over time due to its scarcity, except NFTs only exist digitally on ‘proof of work’ blockchains, like Ethereum. When one buys an NFT, they aren’t buying the image itself, but rather the token that points to the image or video and says ‘this is the only one that exists.’ Now people can even buy individual tweets as NFTs, but the way that works is a little more complicated, and frankly, we don’t really get it. All we know is, Jack Dorsey is selling his first tweet ever for like, millions of dollars and ‘Bad Luck Brian‘ sold an NFT of his school photo for 20 ETH (about $36,000 at the time). NFTs aren’t only being used to sell digital art, the memes have unsurprisingly taken over and you can find everything from the ‘Deal With It‘ sunglasses to ‘Nyan Cat‘ selling for lots of money. All of this absurdity might seem like a harmless game to some—buying the metadata of original troll face for thousands of dollars in crypto? Sure, okay. But sadly minting NFTs on proof-of-work blockchain has disturbing environmental consequences. The average NFT that gets minted to the ETH network has the same carbon footprint as one European resident’s electricity consumption for 1.5 months. So until we can figure out a more efficient way to sell digital assets, some suggest that participants in this madness will have to offset the environmental cost by doing things like reinvesting their gains into renewable energy.
We’ve collected some tweets that paint a picture of the current NFT frenzy—some from high-profile public figures who are participating and some reactions from people who are watching from the sidelines.