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When an autograph destroyed the world

So let me get this straight.

A proof-of-work–based NFT is basically a cryptographically unique autograph (so that dorks can make the digital equivalent of a closed printing run) and each single image has a destructive impact on our planet the equivalent of what the average EU resident uses in electricity in a full month. (Not each single unique image, not each single run. No, each single signing in the entire run, so, the horrific impact is multiplied by the entire run.) The NFT is just the record of the transaction; it doesn’t inherently confer “ownership” or any usage licensing.

I get that humanity wants to die but does it really have to wreck the entire ecosystem as it does so? Sober up, peeps!

My take in the past on the anti-crypto crowd has been that guilt-tripping doesn’t seem to help. Everyone in our li’l punk world complains about it, and the scum are still getting rich. Exploiters are gonna exploit, and that’s just the nature of capitalisms two biggest bugs (leaky externalities, and rewarding exploitation) feeding off each other. And meanwhile we’re sitting here all righteous and poor.

For some reason it got vertiginously heartrending when it infected the art world. I love art and I can’t with this. Even my favorite radio station P2 ran a puff piece hyping NFT. I’m an artist—when people ask what I do, that’s what I say, even though peeps who have visited this website can tell I’m a pretty awful one—and now I don’t wanna anymore.

I was always frustrated with the completely dead end career because I usually work in digital; I have no “originals” to sell, and whenever I have sold prints, I’ve done open runs. Most of the images are even CC-BY-SA.

Introducing artificial scarcity whether via copyright or just limited printing has just always felt like putting a match to a treasure. I just can’t do it.

NFTs are worse, though. Proof of work means cryptographically tying the actual burning of actual Earth—tying our actual scarce resources to some crappy GIF—into a means to enforce scarcity.

Capitalism just don’t handle externalities well.

When you buy electric power, you’re nowhere near commensurately compensating the planet for the resources you’re burning. That’s not something market capitalism is currently set up to do.

I mentioned earlier how the cliché “capitalism might be bad, but it’s the least bad system that’s ever been tried” can’t be true if it destroys the planet. The reinforcing gasses are accelerating at a way rapider pace than they did in the lead up to the End-Permian Extinction when 83% of all genera became extinct, if the volcanism hypothesis is correct.

Peeps, we can’t have this. We can’t use proof of work. It has an immediate negative impact.

The whole “I can air travel now because air travel will be made climate safe in the future with new tech” is similar. Like, the obv retort is “Ok, if you’re so sure about that, then just hold off on that trip until that new tech arrives.”

“I can shoot my foot today because next Wednesday they’ll invent bullets softer than kisses.”


That doesn’t mean those bullets are softer than kisses now so you’re doing a lot of damage that future soft bullets won’t undo and I kinda feel like you don’t even believe your unfounded claim about the future tech thing because you obv aren’t holding your own breath for it, so why should anyone else?


OK, we won. NFTs are worthless now and also Ethereum isn’t PoW anymore.