What is an NFT?

Please explain it like I’m 5. I think it’s some kind of digital ownership of an image, but I don’t get what sets it apart from a copyright.

Apparently someone recently paid $475,000 for the NFT of this MEME.


an NFT is a pointer on the blockchain to a url. It often points to an image, but doesn’t have to. It conveys some measure of social ownership of something, but exactly what can vary and is hard to pin down.

It is distinct from copyright in that copyright is a set of legal rights to do certain things with intellectual property, and prevent others from doing so, while an NFT doesn’t convey any of those rights.

Sometimes it’s sort of a resellable membership in a club. The Bored Ape Yacht Club, for example, a popular set of NFT pictures of apes, holds real events that only holders of BAYC NFTs may attend.

Sorry, I don’t have a good answer for that one. It’s either the future of commerce and ownership or a speculative bubble filled with fraud.

Thank you. Is the immediate investment possibly some shady excuse to sue people for using an image they didn’t create?

Maybe. But the more likely immediate purpose is to launder large sums of illegally obtained cash.

It is possible the actual technology underlying NFTs will have a genuinely useful and legitimately revolutionary application in the future.

But for the time being, NFTs are solely a very effective and efficient mechanism for separating foolish people from their money.

I asked this question last month in the MPSIMS thread about Melania Trump selling NFTs. Snowboarder_Bo provided links to some previous threads discussing NFTs.

Also there is this MPSIMS thread with a link to a 2 hour video that is probably more than you would ever want to know about NFTs. (Honestly, I only got through about 45 minutes but feel like I had a pretty good grasp of the idea by then.)

The “Line Goes Up” video is utterly brilliant. Highly recommended.

You can think of it like an autograph. Autographs are prized when they’re rare, authentic, and associated with someone famous, but they’re not necessarily prized as works of art or items with a specific function.

The difference is that a lot of people just want to have autographs for the memory of meeting the person or sinilar. NFTs are always intended to be sold. What fuels them is entirely speculation that they can sell the NFT to someone else. No one values them in and of themselves.

On theory they could, since NFTs usually come with usage rights. But there are already ways to handle those, and those who need usage rights see no benefit in the NFT system. They aren’t having problems verifying they bought the rights, and the actual stored part of the NFT tends to only store a URL, which could be changed our from under you.

It’s basically a technology searching for a use case, plus unscrupulous business people taking advantage of people’s lack of understanding.

Not unless they pay for it in bundles of used bills, which is unlikely.

This is much more likely.

Current PvP strip (dated 31 January):

NFTs are mostly paid via cryptocurrency, which has for a very long period of their existence been used for money laundering purpose. There are any number of relevant articles when you Google “NFT money laundering”. I don’t have any real interest in attempting to persuade you that NFTs are a magnet for money laundering - if you have any real questions on the subject, you should seek out a local expert in the field.

Yes, although I would suggest that (in most cases) if someone goes out to get an autograph that they know is incredibly rare and valuable that the fact that it’s rare and valuable is part of the attraction.

You certainly only hear about NFTs going for big money. I doubt the press would have a big story on “Unknown guy Joe Smith creates an NFT and it’s worth nothing!”

I am an expert. ACAMs certified and all.

Sure, NFTs , horses, real estate, art- all sorts of things can be used in the layering stages of Money laundering: placement, layering and integration but the difficult one is placement. Layering is easy, once you get the cash into the system through placement.

Bitcoin, etc is a great tool for layering, but not for placement.

This is similar to my understanding. It’s like those lettered edition books released by authors like Stephen King and Dean Koontz. They have a a page saying something like this copy is letter G of A through Z, and will have the author’s signature. Buying such a book doesn’t give you copyright, which of course still resides with King, Koontz, or whoever. It doesn’t mean that no one else can go out and buy their own copy of The Stand. It’s just a nice presentation of a book, typically with better paper stock, leather covers, unique artwork, etc.

With a specially presented copy of something like The Stand or It, I can understand why someone might pay a few thousand dollars. With a digital NFT, I don’t have the same understanding.

Do you know what a photocopy of a rare signature is worth?

I’m aware of that. I’m also aware of your long history of giving contradictory information regarding that field on this board.

So in other words, crypto and NFTs are a pretty good tool for money laundering? Thanks - glad you could clear that up.

NFTs are basically an unfakeable digital instrument that prove you “own” an image, where “ownership” is defined as being the only person allowed to sell it on some shitty blockchain that probably won’t be around in 5 years.

Owning an NFT does not confer copyright ownership in any sense whatsoever. I could sell you an NFT image to use on your website, and then I could immediately turn around and sue you for using it. Anyone could right-click on the image on your website and steal a copy for their own use, and you’d have utterly no recourse.

If it sounds incredibly stupid, that’s because it is. Every day on Twitter you can watch a different tech-bro with more money than sense suddenly realize that he paid 5 figures for an imaginary receipt that secures no ownership nor control of the image whatsoever, except he’s the only one who can “sell” his receipt on the make-believe network.

Honestly it’s sad. Ordinarily I’d feel no pity for smug assholes who think they’ve discovered the Next Big Thing… but these people are getting scammed so hard that I non-ironically believe that they’re suffering through some sort of mental disorder.

There are 2 sorts of people who benefit from NFTs:

  1. Those who manage to resell for a capital gain (it’s a big tulip mania rush right now)
  2. NFTs can be used for tax avoidance and money laundering, the same way folks do with paintings or jewelry.

It sounds like, rather than selling the item itself, you are selling the item’s soul.

If we stipulate that souls aren’t real, then yes, you are selling someone a receipt for the item’s soul (with a narrow definition of “soul” defined by an obscure cult that aspires to be as big as Scientology).