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Beyond NFTs

Started by droqen, November 06, 2021, 03:42:50 PM

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(title of this thread was NFTs until Nov 9, when it was changed to Beyond NFTs)

I'm doing some research on them.
One of the things that I've often wanted to do is make a game which involves passing around objects. Trading.
The problem? It's a nightmare to do this! Seriously, it's just the worst. How complicated is the use of an NFT marketplace? Like, is there an NFT API for Godot?

I'm strictly not interested in owning a PNG, and all the NFT games I've seen seem like hot trash.

But a327ex's post on NFTs has me doing a little bit of research on one thing: Are there effectively-harmless NFTs? If I mint an NFT on an effectively-harmless marketplace, can it only ever be traded on that marketplace, or can it migrate to another one that does more harm?


So how do I find NFT marketplaces (or whatever the fuck they're called) that are good/respectable/proof-of-stake in particular? I emailed a3 and was directed to the @hicetnunc2000 twitter account. Seems fine.

The website is stark. It is not terrible. It kinda reminds me of twitter but with fewer corners polished off.


What I think is most interesting is that in looking up proof-of-stake there are obviously people within the space who have taken strong stances on how shit proof-of-work is.

Quote from: William Entriken, one of the authors of the NFT protocol for EthereumYou have to switch to proof of stake. Proof of work should be illegal.

Quote from: Elon MuskTesla has suspended vehicle purchases using Bitcoin. We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.

Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment.

Tesla will not be selling any Bitcoin and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy. We are also looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin's energy/transaction.

It's an environment in motion. I can't in good faith flatten it out into the singular argument that NFTs are bad; I'll continue to do more research but Entriken's strong language (despite the apparent lack of action?), and the actual action taken by Tesla (refusing to deal in Bitcoin), and the existence of Tezos (a proof-of-stake blockchain, as far as I can tell) are all good signs. I'm still not sure how proof-of-stake generates, uh, money? Like where does it come from? I am still concerned it's all just getting funneled through other blockchains somehow, i.e. proof-of-work is still at the end of every... token or whatever.

But it's not a monolith as much as treating it one makes it easier to dismiss.


Right... so a huge issue that I'm now realizing is that only people who have a crypto wallet can play with NFTs. Even if it's less work for me to use them like a beautiful API (which still, I dunno! we'll see, i guess. i made a wallet. i'm going to put a dollar in it and mint an NFT and then see how easy or hard it is to make a Godot project that reads my wallet for whether it contains that NFT or not) it's still a pain in the ass for people who aren't inside the crypto system to engage with.

So if I make a game for 'playing with NFTs,' that excludes a bunch of people by default.

Do I want to make a game with features that require you to have a crypto wallet in order to access?


(Compare to Cruel World, which had cool network features and didn't require a crypto wallet.)


I think what's most interesting to me right now is the major social stigma associated with NFTs in some circles. To associate yourself with NFTs is bad not because of what they are, but because of what they represent; they are ecologically unfriendly, they stand for digital scarcity, they stand for short-sighted money-grabbing. etc.

The problem is more about aligning oneself with this particular OTHER, with the sort of ephemeral idea of The Crypto Bro.

To associate yourself with NFTs is to support what opponents of NFTs stand against.

I'll have to run through Everest Pipkin's "HERE IS THE ARTICLE YOU CAN SEND TO PEOPLE WHEN THEY SAY "BUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES WITH CRYPTOART WILL BE SOLVED SOON, RIGHT?"" sometime to see what I agree with and what I have problems with, but here's something I don't like:

Quote from: Everest PipkinI've been working in digital spaces making artwork since well before cryptocurrency was around, and lack of scarcity is the only thing we've got.

Digital files don't have that much going for them.
This is it! This is the one thing! Digital artists have media that can proliferate over a network and be held by many people at once without cheapening or breaking the aura of a first-hand experience. It is the one true benefit to working in digital space.

This is a nasty ideological handcuffing of digital artists, insisting that everything except that quality which is relevant to the argument is a weakness of digital artwork, and that its only strength is lack of scarcity. I shouldn't trust Pipkin, either.


Claiming that "lack of scarcity is the only thing we've got," that "Digital files don't have that much going for them [except] duplicatability," and that "[Duplicatability] is the one true benefit to working in digital space" while describing multiple other qualities of digital artwork as weaknesses, as downsides, is bizarre anti-digital-artwork propaganda that exists not to empower digital artists, but instead as a coercive attack on the idea of getting involved in NFTs.

It's short-sighted. There's collateral damage here. "Digital artwork sucks, except you can copy it a lot" is a pretty disgusting way to argue against NFTs.


I should write a little about grey markets. I think they're fascinating but I also find them repulsive; Animal Crossing New Horizons has people hosting Treasure Islands, which are islands hacked to have a ton of items on them. Sometimes, there is a real money entry fee.

What is it about systems that deal with charging real money that turns me off of them?

What's wrong with pay 2 win games or cash shops etc.?

What is it about money?



Darius Kazemi shared this article on Twitter, in particular pulling this quote:

QuoteAccording to a 2020 report from the Center for Responsible Lending, banks historically declined debit card charges when account holders lacked the funds to cover charges. But over time, banks — at the urging of software consultants who were promoting overdraft programs on a contingency fee basis — began allowing overdraft transactions to go through and charging customers fees.

It remains fascinating to me to think about these chaotic, turbulent oceans of humans all making decisions about others. A bank isn't a bank, it's a sea of people trying their best -- to do what, though? To do what? I choose to believe that everyone is always trying their best, but that our definitions of best vary. Our values vary, and can be manipulated, and can be harmful.

But everyone is trying their best.

I don't know where I'm going with this. I guess there's something in here about money.


The way to stop NFTs is to come up with something better--
more sticky and inviting.
more beneficial to more people.
more effective at solving more problems, and more important problems.
more intuitive.
more accessible.
more obvious-in-hindsight.

Easier said than done, but I'm not saying it's easy.

I'm saying it's necessary.

It's also effectively inevitable.


Quote from: droqenThe best way to make nonviolent games is to think about [more] interesting things to make games about, not how to make existing, predicated-on-violence, game designs less violent.

I think my current mindset came out of the above thought I had while in a Twitter conversation Ramiro Corbetta started.

And this one:

Quote from: droqenBut then anchoring bias sets in and "nonviolent games" evokes violent games, and games that are close to violence, and games that could-have-been-violent, etc.

Why even think about NFTs, if the goal is to find a better way? We can learn from them, but we don't have to. There are other sources of information out there, too. I wouldn't close my eyes to a big cultural data point, but focusing on the loudest thing is only useful on one axis: popularity. Popularity matters, when we're talking about how to make something big enough to change the world, but it's not the only thing that matters.

My breakdown of Everest Pipkin's article might have been a little anchored.

Money is fake.

We can do whatever we want with it.


So after many conversations I still feel pretty meh about the politics of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, but I am definitely paying attention to the numbers and functioning of the system, which seem pretty flawed. A few links.

People's Expensive NFTs Keep Vanishing - A large weakness of NFTs just being pointers at art is: what if the thing the pointer is pointing at goes down? On The Internet, Sometimes Things Go Down, Ha Ha Ha

Most artists are not making money off NFTs and here are some graphs to prove it - Nice for perspective on the whole thing, and how many people are losing money on NFT fees.

Why NFTs are bad: the long version - There is a detailed breakdown of tech, but also of how humans interact with tech! Lots of attacks on the blockchain are possible. Usually the points of failure are users. The blockchain is predicated on decentralized beautiful functioning, but


On top of all this is the incentive of users to get others to buy in, without any expectation that I will help pull those others up -- it's purely for my own benefit and I have no reason, either stated or mechanical, to help them. "Come fend for yourself," says the invitation to play with cryptocurrency, "and I might profit a little bit off of you."

Governments build roads. Governments ask for your money such that they might try to help you.

Do cryptocurrencies do anything that our existing structures don't do already, just in a different way? I still think, I guess, that cryptocurrencies allow a person to do something in a way that they might enjoy more than the ways that exist. I don't quite know how to feel or think about this. Is this not a positive, or is it just outweighed by all the negatives?

Why not destroy casinos?


My brain can hold a lot of stuff in it at once but it doesn't deal well with yesterday's answers. I'm searching for the Killer Metaphor for what's wrong with NFTs, Libertarianism, these kinds of things and ideologies. Heaps of facts leak out of my ears over the course of a week or a day until all I'm left with are the best and clearest ideas.

I like these good, clear ideas, but they take time and effort and luck to forge.

I believe there are always better, clearer ideas.