Monkey Laundering

Miles Klee, Rolling Stone:

Dead NFTs: The Evolving Landscape of the NFT Market” is a new report from dappGambl, a community of experts in finance and blockchain technology. Upon analysis of 73,257 NFT collections, the authors found that 69,795 have a market cap of zero Ether (ETH), the second most-popular cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin. In practical terms, that means 95 percent of NFTs wouldn’t fetch a penny today — a spectacular crash for assets that reached a trading volume of $17 billion amid a frenzied bull market in 2021. The study estimates that some 23 million investors own these tokens of no practical use or value.

This was just one of many articles citing this same report, and they all suck for the same reason. Molly White debunked it, and you should definitely read why it is wrong, but I wanted to highlight this paragraph:

However, what annoys me in particular about this report being laundered into the mainstream news cycle is that Rolling Stone and The Guardian — in their evidently neverending quest to both-sides any issue placed in front of them — are also printing the authors’ optimistic predictions for the NFT industry. A bunch of crypto casino reviewers promoting the rosy future of NFTs probably wouldn’t have made it into multiple mainstream media outlets had it not been for the fact that it was included alongside the eye-catching, but misleading, 95% figure.

Ed Zitron:

NFTs were never a “great investment” or the “future of intellectual property” — they were a vehicle used to extract capital from consumers. They were (and are) a gruesome, exploitative scam, creating just enough collateral and artwork to fool the average person into believing that this was a lasting product, engaging the language of conspiracy theorists and televangelists to tell people that they were “going to make it” and that others would “have fun staying poor.” […]


The overall exploitation of cryptocurrency is something that should be studied as a symptom of a global state of economic desperation and pain. This horrible industry took root because the average person cannot simply work and thrive — they must hustle, they must suffer, they must find any way they can to make even a modest wealth, and that same desperation makes them susceptible to con artists that promise an easy way out.

Permanently excitable grindset guy Gary Vaynerchuk jumped straight into NFTs and managed to parlay his doodles into the foundation for an entire conference. Last year’s event was promoted in a press release as an “NFT-ticketed super conference” which would “united the Web3 community”, and the press release for this year’s conference similarly highlighted “NFT industry projects” and “Web3 community”. But the 2024 conference was announced in a much lower-key fashion — relatively speaking — without a single mention of NFTs and only one passing reference to “Web3” in Vaynerchuk’s bio. VeeCon is now a “contemporary business conference that is all about ‘the now'”. There are also no mentions of any NFTs or crypto-adjacent things in the conference FAQ, but it does note you will need to buy a ticket for yourself and your baby if you would both like to attend.

The desperation Zitron describes is on full display in the subject of the latest video essay from Dan Olson. I know it is long but it is well worth its entire runtime.