9 March 2021

The Price of Bragging Rights

So it looks like Jack Dorsey is selling his first Tweet using NFT (via Platformer). Purchasing this NFT will get you digital certification of ownership” of the tweet, signed and verified by the creator. Last time I checked the article, the highest offer for this is $US 2.5 million.

I hope those bidding on this realised what they are actually paying for. So you’ve got a digital certificate verifying the ownership” of the tweet. So what? What can you actually do with it? Can you delete it? Modify it? Move it to your Twitter account? Move it off Twitter entirely?

My guess is that the tweet will remain on Twitter under Dorcey’s account. The fame of this tweet comes from who said it, and when. And unless Twitter is adding features that allows another person to modify this tweet without changing these two properties, I’m at a loss as to how this ownership can be exercised. The tweet will still be owned by Dorcey, as it exists in his account, on his service, as bytes stored on his database.

All the buyer gets in exchange for millions of dollars is the verifiable right to say I own a certificate saying that I own the Tweet.” It’s effectively paying for bragging rights. I’ll admit, I’m not one that fully understands the high-end luxury market, but this right doesn’t seem like it’s worth $2.5 million.

This whole activity is obscene, and looks like nothing more than a cash grab. There may, may, be a legitimate use case for NFTs in some circumstances — something that I’m skeptical of, and I’m not the only one — but this is not it. Let’s not forget, these things are not free to produce. It takes a significant amount of energy, and associated carbon dioxide emissions, to generate these tokens. Is this really the best use for them?


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