« Sputnik 1—Satellite, Scare, and Space Race | Main | Sir Clive Sinclair, 1940–2021, R.I.P. »

Friday, September 17, 2021

THE HAPPENING WORLD: Non-Fungible Tokens as Luxury Goods in the Metaverse

This is a long article, but well worth your time and attention. Although somewhere between 95% and 100% of the current mania for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) (NFT market value tripled in 2020 to more than US$250 million and exceeded US$2 billion in the first quarter of 2021) is almost certainly scams and a bubble fueled by unprecedented creation of central bank funny money, there may actually be the kernel of something real there which merits investigation.

Luxury goods have been a part of human civilisation almost since its inception, and in their modern incarnation, brands, are worth billions and fiercely defended by their owners. Simply affixing a brand name to something as generic as a t-shirt can multiply its market value by a large factor, with customers willing to pay a premium to identify themselves with the prestige of the brand and demonstrate their willingness and ability to waste money to display their own prestige. As human interaction moves increasingly from in-person contact with a small number of people in a locality to virtual venues on a global scale, is it not reasonable to expect this phenomenon to persist in the new medium and perhaps become even more prevalent as the size of the audience increases? Consider how much some value the Twitter “blue check mark” (which has no value and means nothing other than the approbation of the collectivist slavers who run that place), fear its revocation for bad-think, and hold their tongue rather than imperil it.

The article concludes:

Flexing is integral to the human experience. We don’t question the value of physical meatspace items used to project social standing. We understand and value fashion, paintings, jewelry etc. We all don costumes at work that illustrate which professional community we belong to. What is an investment banker without his Hermes tie or her pair of red-soled Louboutins? The costume is part of the self-worth.

Just because robots take all of our meatspace jobs doesn’t mean that humans stop being humans in the metaverse. Social signaling will take new forms powered by blockchain enabled NFT “worthless” objects. Those who recognise the similarities and are early to the creation of a new market for digital Flex goods will reap astronomical returns. Those content to pooh pooh this new worthless form of social signal can continue to walk down a street, into a shop, and purchase a $500 white t-shirt from some well-marketed fashion house. Choose your Flex Good appropriately.

Scalable Flexing is a tech person’s dream. The ability to appear wealthy and cool is not limited to physical proximity, but the entire addressable market of your avatar.

In the news, the Inspration4 private space mission is “carrying” an NFT into Earth orbit. At this writing, 13,520 have been sold.

Posted at September 17, 2021 12:11