This week has challenged definitions of normal in many ways. On Tuesday morning, I dreamt I was in The Spice Girls and we were on tour, about to go on stage at a packed arena. I had a fantastic dress on, I looked hot hot hot, the lights were bright, the crowd were revved up ….and then I woke up and it honestly took me about a minute to realise that I was in fact just a 49 year old woman in M&S pyjamas with 2 children to get ready for school….So disappointing! I cheer myself up by thinking that maybe I am a Spice Girl just having an extremely long nightmare about being a middle-aged Mum who has been home schooling on and off for a year…
As well as being a Spice Girl this week, I also disappeared down the rabbit hole that exists if you search #NFT on Twitter. (Warning – only do this if you have a few spare hours).
#NFT here we come
Non Fungible Tokens are not something to do with mushrooms, but represent unique digital things, the ownership of which is registered and stored on the Ethereum blockchain. Huh!? Ethereum is better known as a cryptocurrency like bitcoin, but it’s also a new-fangled ledger which provides evidence of ownership in some distant nebulous cloudy-type way.
Blockchain is simply a public ledger of ownership, a digital version of the dusty book they used to have in my local library in which a lady with specs would write down the name of the Jilly Cooper book I had taken out. Except instead of ink, the entry is digital and accessible by all. And instead of one lady with specs it’s managed and overseen by a broad group of people from the town whose collective yet remote oversight stops any one person’s naughtiness. And no-one can cross the entry out. And pretend I took out a Jane Austen instead.
The latest hooha is that people are buying digital assets – mostly art – and registering ownership of these using the blockchain. And – here’s the thing – anyone else can download or see this art. So unlike traditional art, you can’t lock it up in a safe and swan around feeling marvellous because you have a Picasso in a safe somewhere accumulating value, which no-one else can see.
Let’s have a look at some examples.
Most famously, this video by Beeple was bought for $6.6 million. Here is the blockchain identifier - 0x12f28e2106ce8fd8464885b80ea865e98b465149 – or the ‘keys’ to it if you like.
Christie’s also sold a NFT of his work for $69 million.
Jack Dorsey’s extremely underwhelming first ever Tweet was bought for $2.9 million. Purchaser Mr Estavi optimistically compared his newly-acquired tweet to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
And – my favourite – a New York artist is selling audio files of his farts. In 2020, he and 3 friends recorded and shared these gassy delights via WhatsApp and have compiled a 52 minute Master Collection. Individual recordings are also available from 0.05 Ethereum, or about $85 per file. This morning the highest priced individual fart I could see – Fart #0540 – was on sale for 0.5 Ethereum (about $820).
If you are interested in diversifying your portfolio you can view the collection here.
Bah ridiculous, what has the world come to
Maybe it’s not THAT weird. Buying and selling art as a mere commodity to store value has been going on for centuries. And actually, the notion that a brown scrap of polymer with the Queens’ face on it is somehow a fair exchange for anything worth £10 is quite odd too.
Parents will have become reluctantly accustomed to the idea of their children spending money in games to buy horse food in Toca or skins in Fortnite. And it’s not just kids either. Fashion house Gucci have a range of 200 outfits which you can buy digitally to dress your avatar. And Norwegian retailer Carlings sold out of its digital range in one week – the range cost from $10 - $30 for customer keen to digitally add these to their picture and share on social media. Such fun!?
Who will buy my non fungible blog?
I leave you with an offer? Would anyone like to buy this blog? I look forward to receiving your bids – what about a starting bid of 0.1 Ethereum? Surely it is worth more than a single fart? I might also be persuaded to accept champagne, chocolate or red shoes as more fungible tokens of payment :0)
#brainfry After thinking about all of this, suddenly the notion that I am in fact a Spice Girl doesn’t feel so odd in comparison. Everything is relative! Have a lovely weekend everyone.
Disclaimer: Any information relating to the past performance of farts is not a guide to future performance. Fart prices may go down as well as up and you may not get back the original amount invested. You should not buy farts with money you cannot afford to lose.
P.S. I recently recorded a series of podcasts, not with Scary Spice but with the much less frightening Vernon Kay. Tips, content and ideas for parents- Episode 2 of Parenting Past The Pandemic sponsored by Aviva is out now. You can download the pods in the usual places or check them out here.