NFTs: The World’s Greatest Scam?. NFT.NYC taught me a lot | by Isaiah McCall | Apr, 2023 | #lovescams | #datingapps

CryptoPunk from Twitter, edited by Author

The majesty that is NFT.NYC week. Here, normalcy is the outsider and deviance and esotericism reign supreme as crypto diehards try to sell you kindergarten art for your rent money.

I saw one piece called “Virgin Rock” that sold for $200—a “steal,” according to the buyer.

All of this feels deeply like a religion — perhaps even a cult — which is unhealthy?

I attended several events at NFT.NYC and found nobody who wanted to address the scams, manipulation, grifters, lack of adoption and how Web3 is the butt of everyone’s joke who isn’t part of its inner circle. Instead, I heard the same story: “NFTs will work because Pokémon worked.”

Mind. Blown.

It wasn’t until I talked to two keynote speakers from England that everything changed.

NFT market OpenSea recently uncovered an alarming truth: 80% of the digital art minted through its “trust us, it’s free!” creation tool revealed themselves as spam, scams, or otherwise fraudulent.

Another popular marketplace Blur shook up the NFT world this year, becoming the new market leader and generating over $200 million in weekly trading volume. Why the sudden uptick?

Because Blur is the best money laundering method in the crypto world.

CryptoSlam, a leading platform for tracking NFT sales, even took action: they purged $577 million of suspicious sale data from their analytics in response to “market manipulation” by Blur traders — all filtered through an updated algorithm.

How did NFT.NYC react to this? They ignored it.

We did body shots, snorted blow, talked about Bitcoin hitting $30,000 and danced to Daft Punk. The only people who wanted to talk about the real implications of NFTs were a mom-and-son duo from Felbridge, England.

“The branding around NFTs is dead; nobody wants to hear someone trying to sell them NFTs,” said Daniel Bedford, CEO of Re-Evolution a video game using blockchain and digital assets. “We’ve completely reworded our message and purged almost every reference to NFTs in our product because it’s a turn-off.”

At this moment, I realized two of the event organizers’ faces were twisting in shame. Daniel wasn’t shilling the metaverse. He didn’t talk about diamond hands or his Elon Musk fanfic.

He spoke truth to power: NFTs need a rebirth or they’re dead.

NFTs aren’t anything new. Everyone misses this. President of Valve and Steam Corporation Gabe Newell built a billion-dollar empire and fortune out of purchasable pixels locked to a fictional economy in crappy software.

Steam’s platform even allowed you to trade and gamble on virtual weapon skins in games like ‘Counter-Strike’ and ‘Dota 2’ for thousands.

(If not millions at one time)

Steam is NFTs 1.0.

Csgo Case Opening GIF

People do give a crap about digital items. Why? Hell if I know. It probably is our inner Pokémon instinct. But NFTs have ZERO future as “NFTs”it’s like trying to sell a subprime mortgage in 2023.

The “non-fungible” part of NFTs doesn’t sound like a word.

They also need utility. Wouldn’t NFTs be useful for game ownership, for instance? You could resell your digital games, then.

NFTs could change everything if:

  1. You didn’t have to pay extortionate gas fees to move or unstake them on Ethereum
  2. You didn’t have to deal with scams and rugs that cannot even be pursued by law because they’re not securities
  3. You didn’t have major players of the NFT community up their own ass
  4. You didn’t have 80% of the projects on it being actual cash-grab scams with absolutely zero purpose. Even the most high-profile projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club became dumpster fires once they tried to go for “legitimacy” with their failed airdrop that worsened their image.
  5. You didn’t have centralized/user-friendly apps and economies like Counter-Strike, allowing even the biggest tech illiterate to make money while buying skins for a game he plays daily, aka an actual purpose for said pixels.

NFT ownership is a great idea, but 99% of the environment it’s built on is garbage with zero legitimacy, just scammers trying to fuck you.

Crazy enough, GameStop’s NFT marketplace solves all of these issues but it’s been shamed hard by people who hate NFTs.

Daniel pointed out that the only companies succeeding with NFTs are the ones that “don’t mention them.” Companies like Starbucks recently made a bold foray into the world of NFTs with their newly-launched loyalty program: Odyssey.

It’s an extension of their reward program, offering loyal customers access to exclusive experiences — all they need to do is earn collectible Journey Stamps (aka an easier way for non-geeks to say ‘NFT’).

NFTs will also have a place in gaming.

Yet the games that do exist, like Axie Infinity and whatever Pokémon ripoff, are God-awful. Somebody needs to make an actual good game first.

I would love to invest in NFTs because a digital economy is coming, but I just don’t know how.

And I don’t think the NFT.NYC community knows, either.

God love em’.

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