Twitter Adds NFT Feature. Get Rid of It.

Xera Britt, contributor

To be frank, non-fungible tokens are worthless. You heard me right; this new trendy topic bustling around the internet is nothing more than a not-so-subtle scam. Twitter has recently led the charge of an uptick in NFTs on social media, using several measures that connect to the open-crypto market OpenSea, allowing owners to display their NFTs as profile pictures with a distinguishable hexagon shape and link to the verification via OpenSea. Instagram and Facebook are announcing their own efforts to do something similar in support of the trend. Is this a positive sign for the future of NFTs? Hopefully, it isn’t.

Generally, NFTs are generated through what are effectively huge banks of computers constantly brute-forcing complex mathematical equations that make up the verification process, which requires little human help but an enormous bank of power. This requires this computer bank to work overtime, which releases a relatively massive carbon footprint. In the day and age of climate disasters, increased carbon is not exactly what we want.

What’s more, the Berkeley Haas School of Business recently released a report studying the impact of NFTs on local economies. Their findings detail a similarly negative outlook: the massive energy requirement costs fortunes and pushes local electricity bills up by $8 per individual and $12 per small business. Sounds small? For upstate New York alone, that can add up to $250 million annually. Additionally, due to the nature of management, they require little on-site maintenance and profits are transferred rapidly between locations, meaning that they don’t create job opportunities and put little to no profit back into the community. 

There is also something to be said about the rampant art theft that goes hand-in-hand with NFTs, something savants like system engineer Patrick McCorry believe to be a “non-issue for Meta and Twitter.” Artists are finding their art stolen and minted as NFTs constantly, so much so that websites like Deviantart have needed to implement tech to scan NFTs for stolen work, something non-Deviantart artists sorely need.

Twitter’s newest venture is not all it’s cracked up to be. As soon as it launched, the new service saw issues, as its users quickly found ways to invalidate the verification protocols that paid service Twitter Blue launched with. Counterfeit NFTs were made rapidly, and those who held their true-Blue NFTs were immediately shamed and shunned by a score of Twitter influencers, according to a recent Wired article. 

Let’s be honest, NFTs aren’t the way towards Web3. They aren’t interesting, valuable, worthwhile or even effective as status symbols to the wider society. They are a fraudulent fad being picked up by cryptofans, big companies and celebrities, people all looking to make a quick buck by peddling the newest hot topic. And when something like NFTs can be so easily duplicated, the many cracks begin to form in the foundation. If you see an NFT, do the internet a favor and right-click. Better yet, commission an artist and put your money towards something worthwhile.