The NFT Scam

Adults gamble their life-savings away on cartoon pictures of monkeys.


Daniel Mcglone

A Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT rebranded to feature The Legend’s logo. Featured on the cover of Issue 3, Volume 26.

Daniel Mcglone, Editor-in-Chief

Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, are digital assets, like pictures, videos and more, which are authenticated to a single owner by a cryptocurrency blockchain, which is a database in which information relating to NFTs and cryptocurrency is stored on. This effectively allows one to “own” a digital file, even if others can still view or download said file. All NFTs come with certificates of ownership, which allows one to easily prove that they own an NFT. 

Eminem’s 450,000 dollar NFT. (Bored Ape Yacht Club)

NFTs have been denounced and dragged through the mud by the majority of people, yet they still sell for millions every day. The most popular of these NFTs belong in the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, in which cartoon pictures of monkeys are sold for hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Notable celebrities, like Steph Curry, Eminem, Justin Bieber, Jimmy Fallon and more, have gotten into the NFT craze, spending upwards of $200,000 on average for each of their monkeys, according to NFTGo. If all of this seems absurd and confusing, that would be because it is. There is seemingly no real purpose to an NFT besides enlarging one’s ego and the slight chance that it may be able to sell for more money in the future.

“I think NFTs, for the most part, are a gigantic waste of money,” senior Tyler Hall said. “I think that the bored apes look cool, but not 300,000 dollars cool.”

A singular frame out of the Charmin NFTP GIF. (Charmin)

One of the most ridiculous examples of NFTs is Charmin’s NFTP, or non-fungible toilet paper. This is a collection of six toilet paper-related images and GIFs. One of them, a seizure-inducing GIF that rapidly flashes between an image of toilet paper, bright blue and pink colors and Charmin’s mascots, the family of red bears, sold at auction for over $3,000. Another example is Taco Bell’s collection of taco themed NFTs. One of them, a GIF showing Newton’s cradle but with tacos, sold for over $4,500 and is now being resold for about $12,000. Both of these examples are marketing stunts with the proceeds being donated to charity, but still have imposing negative implications.

“I think there is a lot of shady business going on behind the sale of NFTs, and that shady business is happening at the expense of the environment,” Hall stated.

Shaquille O’Neal’s NFT. (Bored Ape Yacht Club)

The point where NFTs go from stupid to dangerous is in their environmental impact. Giant rooms full of servers, all needing to be constantly powered and running, make up every NFT transaction. This takes up over 316 trillion watts of electricity per year, more than some small countries like Italy and Mexico, according to Digiconomist. Just one NFT related transaction, on average, takes up as much power as the average United States resident does in about 9 days, again according to Digiconomist. This major energy footprint could lead to potentially disastrous effects on the environment.

“When you have these giant server rooms that take up so much energy to function, there is no doubt that the environment will be harmed,” Hall added. 

NFTs signal a future of technology filled with absurdity, greed and hubris. One can only hope they are just a passing fad.