NFTs: Investments or Pollutants?

Jackson Gordon ’22      

Science & Tech Editor

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have recently become popular and the market for them has expanded greatly in the past year. But what is an NFT? An NFT is simply a unit of data that proves ownership of a digital file such as a photo, video, or GIF. While the owner of the NFT does own the file attached to it, anyone can still access and view it. Also, the creator of the digital file still owns full copyright of the file’s contents, so the owner cannot use it, they just own it.

There are really only two reasons to buy an NFT. The first is the belief that it will gain value in the future and the second is to “flex.” Some examples of NFTs that have been purchased are a digital artwork entitled “Everydays – The First 5000 Days,” which sold for 69.3 million USD (83.6 million CAD), Deadpool 2 posters, and a LeBron James trading card.

The problem with NFTs is that they are stored on blockchains which require proof-of-work protocols. These protocols are hugely energy demanding and contribute to the billions of metric tons of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere annually. While there are some less energy demanding protocols being developed, NFTs are still a horrible purchase because all you own is the right to say you have a piece of art, GIF, video, etc., and are greatly contributing to global warming.

In general, you should avoid buying NFTs, but in some cases their value can increase. Taco Bell put out 25 taco-themed GIFs, which sold out in just 30 minutes. Each of these NFTs also came with a 500 USD (602 CAD) gift card, which the initial owner could spend. The Taco Bell NFTs are now selling for up

to 3,500 USD (4,200 CAD) and they don’t even include the gift card. Clearly NFTs are not worth the trouble.

Photo Credit: Dave Roth

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