I’m Kelly Vero, creative badass, future-gazer, game developer and general metaverse nerd and I’m really, really mad. I’m furious. And do you know why? Read on.
Last week I woke up with a new rule: I will not connect with any more NFT CEOs/“pioneers” or grifters. I concluded a long time ago that the metaverse and NFTs are uncomfortable bedfellows (read: frenswithbens), and no one seems to have the will to figure out why, other than papering over the cracks with their crappy drops. That’s not to say that the Metaverse and NFTs are not connected. It’s just that they’re not well connected right now. One is focused on making money and the other is focused on making friends. Decide on which one you think belongs to which platform.
Trigger warning: This article is a heavy two-hander because what I want to focus on is the point of NFTs as a future utility use-case or driver. If you’re some kind of shiller or wasteman in the realms of your weird futurologist reality, look away now, because I want to accommodate the metaverse as the natural evolution of video game worlds too. Yes, wow, it’s not about your silly jpegs and gifs. Imagine that. NFTs and The Metaverse are simply NOT THE SAME THING, so why are we conflating them? Web3 knows why. You’ll discover more about this ASBO of technology later (stay tuned for part 3) but for now?
The scene of the crime
Let’s start with NFTs and how much they suck right now.
Imagine for a moment that you are sitting on an NFT conference panel. This conference panel is a collective of documentary filmmakers worldwide and you are driving up awareness of your environmental causes by developing a digital Museum of Extinction. You need not imagine this. This actually happened. And the results were a complete disaster for the world of non-fungible tokens. The collective describes items of artwork from a museum being sold as NFT purchases to raise cash to fund documentary series on the topic along with other environmental awareness projects. I couldn’t help but think about Inception.
First of all, the collective are using a series of sales funnels and mechanics to basically fund themselves and their work. Okay, that has DAO written all over it, I’m listening. Wait, you’re also taking CO2 out of the atmosphere? On which blockchain provider? Algorand? Nori? No one knows. Is it going to sustain as a business? Blank looks everywhere.
Exploring the possibility of selling NFTs to fund environmental film missions is not a problem but offering NFT buyers the potential of a value increase of their assets as the film project evolves, okay, this type of stuff happens all the time in the cinema industry. We call it tax breaks. But you’re, um, calling it NFTs. That. Sounds. Illegal. Is it? Deliverables aren’t illegal. Ripping people off is, though. It’s called fraud and it’s a dirty word.
The more I read about NFTs, the more I feel that if it’s okay to pull something like a meme out of your arse then it’s okay to flog it with an unwillingness to support the deliverable at all. Would you buy a Ferrari if you knew that it had no guarantee or recourse to get your money back? You would be a total fool if you did.
However, if you have an interest in the world of cryptocurrency and NFT industries you might want to look away now because NFTs are to a greater extent, a solution without a problem and no business model. That said, there are some business models in NFTs that do have legs (such as Adidas and Nike – see below). Those types of NFTs are related to tangible assets rather than crowdfunding someone’s impossible dream. The problem with the example of DAOing your way with NFTs is that the NFT must always stay as an NFT, and that can’t always be guaranteed when greedy meatsacks get a hold of something that they deem valuable. An NFT should be trusted, credible and it must stay as an NFT. NFTs cannot be anything else than non-fungible tokens. That’s why they need utility so that idiots like me can get value for the amount we spend on them.
A lot of what happens in the world of NFT is a tech bro wet dream: where some guy makes a humble brag about how he made $8 million yesterday. Sadly, for the innocents of Linkedin especially, this makes everybody feel like they’re part of something that could make them a millionaire overnight. Fraud is not a new concept. Go and read Martin Chuzzlewit or Little Dorrit. Whether it’s stocks or Aloe Vera there is something for everyone in MLMs and Ponzi schemes.
But NFTs are not or should not be schemes. They should never be treated as short form campaigns – they need a long tail. They need us to think smarter. They should provide a decent enough vision of what doors can be opened by having them. Adidas is doing a great job of this. That’s the end-user taken care of, but what about the creator community? They must know the truth about how much they have to spend on marketing, community, etc. It’s more than the NFT is worth. So, you need to hustle and hype.
Did someone say HYPE? Believe it.
Hype is a good thing to talk about right now. Have you heard of the Gartner Hype Cycle? You should. It considers a variety of inexplicable fuck ups. Which means that when you look at a Gartner Hype Cycle for the Metaverse, what you’re looking at is emerging technologies that might not even happen.
I saw a recent hype cycle, which I really love. Though the Gartner Hype Cycle does include the laws of unintended consequences, one of the things that I super enjoyed reading about recently was something called the Metaverse Hype Cycle. And in this Metaverse Hype Cycle, was all the usual stuff that you can think of, which is a load of hypey crap, and Facebook rebrands and all that kind of nonsense. But wait…. Look at the graph where in 2026, something interesting happens. Interoperability and standards: my fave subject! As an IEEE member, I know how important standards are to every product.
I am going to suggest that one of the reasons why no one gives a flying fuck about standardising NFTs is because they’ll stay wonderfully scammy and spammy as fuck without standardisation because that makes grifters rich. So instead of waiting until 2026 for NFTs to take shape as something more tangible, realistic, legitimate and to a greater extent, valuable as a utility. It needs to have interoperability and standards, NOW.
Thank the universe that I created a standard last year that will allow people to be able to build NFTs securely with both value, utility and a nice little audit log, which adequately reflects a trust system on the actual blockchain. Imagine that: trust and NFTs living together in perfect harmony. So yes, this gives me the perfect opportunity to call out every single NFT “creator” (let’s call them bellends) on their BS.
However, I don’t know whether this standard I have created will set the world on fire largely because a lot of NFT creators, (let’s call them worthless meatsacks), are quite happy to live on the unlawful side of the spectrum, whereas I’m more lawful neutral.
What all of this boils down to regardless of whether you’re creating an NFT for the purpose of money making or in the case of DAOs and other decentralised communities, say you want to help or support individuals involved in a scene or a movement or who are not for profit: you either show traction or you should GTFO. If you’re not showing traction, or utility, in the case of both the metaverse and NFTs, then you’re not really doing anything. And if you’re not protecting your end user or buyer you are a complete and utter fraudulent douche who knows that a full death squad extraction method is just too good for them. I’ll let the SAS know.