As the text-based non-fungible token (NFT) fad continues to attract trade volume that’s equally eye-popping and puzzling, a pair of NFT developers have taken aim at the trend with parody collections that have raised over $1,000,000 for charity.
On Saturday, developer Nate Alex launched the Completely Pointless NFT collection. A run of 969 tokens, the Completely Pointless NFTs display the buyer’s public Ethereum key, change color when traded and were coded in “a half-hour,” Alex told CoinDesk in a video interview.
“This was coded extremely fast so no guarantees it even works properly,” Alex wrote on Twitter. “Ape at your own risk.”
The collection sold out on Monday, shortly after Alex announced he would be donating the 40 ETH in sale proceeds to GiveDirectly. GiveDirectly is a direct aid organization that claims to have given 88% of all donations to individuals living in poverty.
“I spent more time researching charities than I did coding the thing,” he joked.
Shortly after Alex’s drop, audiovisual artist Deafbeef also released a drop of his own: FIRST, a collection of 5,000 algorithmically generated satirical “first-ever” honorific NFTs. The drop raised 50 ETH for GiveDirectly, with an additional 10% of secondary sales, currently totaling over 350 ETH, routing to the charity in perpetuity.
Has Loot jumped the shark?
The Completely Pointless drop pokes fun at Loot (for Adventurers), a text-based NFT collection that some believe will be the foundation for an open-source metaverse – lofty goals that reflect the euphoric state of NFT markets.
Deafbeef, meanwhile, told CoinDesk his drop “is satire of many absurd aspects of crypto culture, including the hyper-commodification of art.”
“I think Loot is kind of a cool project, but people are way over-the-top. ‘It’s the first composable…!’ ‘It’s the future of…!’ Like, what the f**k are you talking about?” Alex said of his project, laughing.
While many projects are eager to lay claim to history and grab headlines with “first-ever” claims, Alex told CoinDesk that market conditions where a few words on a black background can fetch tens of thousands of dollars is part of a storied crypto tradition: the classic pump-and-dump.
“People like to talk about community, but I don’t know, people say that without really knowing sh**tcoin communities existed years ago, and it was just people hyping s**t up,” he said, adding:
Despite currently having no functioning game or official development team, Loot has nonetheless traded over $200 million in volume, and a spin-off ERC-20 token, adventure gold (AGLD) has a market cap of $188 million.
Likewise, a derivative NFT project, Bloot, which appears designed in both aesthetics and language to offend the buyer, has had secondary sales as high as $38,000:
In all, Alex warns that once the euphoria subsides, prices may as well.
“You have this convergence of a bunch of money into a thin, s**t-liquidity market, of course, it’s going to go up. This is the kind of s**t that loses 99%, because all it takes is that sentiment shift for people to say, ‘This is just text on a background, this is pretty stupid.’”
Editor’s note: This reporter minted and subsequently sold Loot NFTs on the day of the launch. He does not currently hold any Loot or related projects, including AGLD.