Position: I find NFTs ethically deplorable, but that doesn’t mean I’m not intrigued by them. I want there to be equitable and engaging marketplaces for all kinds of creators, but I just don’t think this is it. The issues with theft, traditional fine art snobbery, environmental destruction, homogeneity, etc. are already presenting themselves in the largest marketplaces. I can’t get behind it, not right now. I look forward to, and hope to see the efforts to reduce NFT carbon footprints actually succeed.

Pros: With proper regulation and a cultural shift towards more eco-friendly currencies, I could see this being a great thing for artists who want new markets to sell their work. In addition, I think this has interesting potential as new mediums are able to be introduced to these platforms–for instance, I could imagine this being a really fun way to sell limited time zines, especially with the edition function. Fully techy and digital art has some interesting potential as a medium as well, like how paper creases can become its own artwork, how something moves along a blockchain could as well.

Cons: This piece from the Flash Art article really stuck out to me, “If profit is going to be the primary motivation for growth and research, then one of our strategies must be to make it more profitable for businesses to act responsibly.” This has been the case with every rampant capitalist structure, business, and culture since the industrial age came into being. That unfortunately includes the fine art world. As things stand, there is an incentive to make as much money as possible, damn the consequences. However, there’s no use for that money if our planet dies! I’m not being hyperbolic. There’s potentially already huge issues with the gulfstream (it’s broke thanks to climate change), the Amazon Rainforest (which has reportedly reached its capacity for carbon intake and is now, in combination with the logging industry, releasing more carbon than it absorbs), and our whole worlds ecosystems. We have incredibly limited time, and I for one would rather we focus on getting a true respect into our culture for digital marketplaces and artists without having to resort to such an extreme cost. We all know here that digital art didn’t poof into existence with crypto, there are and have been artists making a living (to varying degrees), online for decades. There is already a cost to making art online, lets not raise that bar to include our whole world. (this does not get into all of my critiques of crypto-art, I just wanted to focus on this for the purpose of what I engaged with in the reading.)