Opportunity, greed, and uniqueness equal NFT. The new decadence.

Imagine, Eminem recently purchased a Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT (non-fungible token). It was sold to the rapper by BAYC member GeeGazza. ‘EminApe’, should resemble him, cost him around $452,000 (123.45 Ether). A startup needs to put its pants down to get 5,000 dollars but in the new hype, money is thrown away like nuts in the zoo. Do not ask me for a link to the Bored Ape Yacht Club, you can find it yourself. The rich have found a new toy to be unique, the makers see the bigger dollars rolling in and the upper-middle-class wants to follow the rich of course so at the bar they can show their certificate of a piece of digital “art”. Being cool is more important than adding real value to society.

The blockchain enthusiasts and the cryptocurrency adepts have of course great reasons why their new hero will bring nothing but progress. I am sure the tech side is amazing and cryptocurrencies have advantages but also use a massive amount of electricity (around 91 terawatt-hours of electricity annually = what a country of 5 million people would consume). There is also this amazing inequality, the top 9% of accounts hold 80% of the $41B market value of NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. The practice of “whitelisting” keeps the bulk of NFT profits within a tight circle of insiders. Bitcoin is even worse. The top 2% of accounts own 95% of the $800 billion supply of Bitcoin, and 0.1% of Bitcoin miners are responsible for half of all mining output. Just as an inside. Not going into the crime side who are very happy with the security :-D.

As far as I am concerned the crypto hype is like the biggest pyramid scheme ever. When Elon shows his bad dance moves and opens his mouth about his favorite crypto the value goes up, next he says something else and the value goes down. Same with NFTs. They really are disruptive and not in the way VCs like to chase disruptive startups but like a very disruptive child’ troublemaking, troublesome, unruly, rowdy, disorderly, undisciplined, attention-seeking, riotous, wild, turbulent. unmanageable, uncontrollable etc.. Yes, it is nice to have a certificate for digital art and yes it is nice when resold the original owner gets a 10% cut. But what real problem is solved? Is an NFT deductible from your taxes? When I make a screenshot, will I end up in jail? What if jpg or other formats are not supported anymore in 10 or 20 years? Why do I pay more in Turkish Lira than in Dollars converted to Ethereum (minimum wage in Türkiye is around 322 dollars)? What about inheritance?

Why does it upset me? I work with startups in The Balkans, Türkiye, and Africa and it is heartbreaking how hard it is for them to get early-stage investment. On the other side, you have all the opportunists pouring in money to a vault that is not based on real value but on opportunism. We have seen Bitcoin jumping up and down just because of news items. If you really have money to throw away, then invest in early-stage funds or start one your own. Today the cryptocurrency bubble is carried by some smart opportunists who put in front the overnight millionaires who are so proud of their Ferrari for which they created no real value, just to gamble at the right moment. We don’t hear from all those who lost a lot of money of course. And who are the ones pulling the strings?

I don’t see any mention of gambling in the SDGs, the minimum we should all look at and try at least to put in action one of them. Startups in The Balkans, Türkiye, and Africa can not go to banks. When I see it broader, as I do not like the startup hype so much anymore, I would prefer to talk about entrepreneurship. Today more than ever entrepreneurs create more jobs than the big corporations. They are interested in optimization, so fewer people. SMEs create around 2/3 of new jobs compared with large companies. Indeed startups fall under SMEs and are only a smart part. Focus on entrepreneurship is in that sense more important and the SDGs should be channeled to them. I am convinced they will do a better job than the large companies. We just need a better understanding of the needs of SMEs and create services and financial products that really help them forward.

In our New Sprint Accelerator, I see the need for help that can get the entrepreneurs started or grow their businesses based on a positive impact, sustainability, and taking into account the SDGs. It’s less cool than a certificate of an NFT artwork of course. But for all non- video-based assets, just f*ucking print it and sign it. Photography does that, Screen Printers do it. As for video, put it on a memory stick with a golden cap, password protected or even biometric protected. That makes it unique. All the rest is a screenshot and I have it too. Yes, you also have other applications like entry tickets. But do we have a real problem with that? Amin to that.

Patrick Bosteels

patrick@stage-co.com or patrick@nowsprintaccelerator.com
Co-Founder Now Sprint! Accelerator, Stage-Co, Creative Academie, and Urla Coworking

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patrick bosteels

Stage-Co, Urla Coworking, Now Sprint! Accelerator and Creative Academie co-founder, Facilitator, Accelerator Program Manager and Mentor