Non-fungible tokens represent a step-change in online property rights and are key to the next stage of the internet.
It’s striking how wide the cultural gulf has become between NFTs’ many vociferous supporters and an equally loud contingent of NFT critics.
To the former, NFTs are about freedom – a ticket to a brighter Web 3 future in which creatives and users liberate themselves from the internet platforms.
To the latter, NFTs represent all that’s wrong with late-stage capitalism: rampant greed, an incentive to fraud, wanton disregard for the environment.
Both are wrong. The boosters wear rose-colored glasses. Many elements of the Web 3 vision must be in place before it will evolve in the wider interests of humanity. Without those solutions, we’ll end up with a system that temporarily delivers extravagant profits to a few early opportunists.
And the critics? They have a static view of technology. As with many flawed attacks on crypto, they assume the current snapshot of the industry’s development – of Ethereum’s high transaction costs and limited scalability, for example – is permanent. This betrays an ignorance of how innovation occurs within open-source systems and assumes that thousands of motivated developers haven’t already recognized the same elephant in the room and started maneuvering it out the door.