With the announcement that rap artist Lil Nas X will be the first in a string of artists dropping official TikTok NFTs next month, according to Vanity Fair, many fans have proven to find the decision disappointing.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, provide certification of ownership of digital content distributed by blockchain technology, basically like a virtual version of owning a piece of artwork. TikTok will feature six videos as one-of-a-kind NFTs and a series of limited-edition NFTs inspired by cultural moments from the short-form video app.
Rudy Willingham’s viral stop-motion video of the artist’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” will be the single-edition Lil Nas X NFT to kick off its lineup on October 6. Other creators releasing TikTok NFTs are Gary Vaynerchuk, Curtis Roach, Bella Poarch, Grimes, Brittany Broski, FNMeka, and Jean Marciante.
So what is the deal with NFTs in terms of why they are a source of controversy when they seemingly have the power to revolutionize and empower individual artists? It has to do with the way in which they are purchased, often with cryptocurrency, some varieties of which are thought by some to be so energy-draining to produce that it may be bad for the environment in terms of having a large carbon footprint.
Indeed, the Vanity Fair article does state that the single-edition NFTs will be made available on Ethereum blockchain, which is a variety of cryptocurrency whose yearly energy consumption is comparable to that of an entire country, according to CBS News. However, the Vanity Fair article also states that the limited-edition NFTs will be powered by Immutable X, what they claim to be the first carbon-neutral Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum. While that may sound like a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo, it does have the phrase “carbon-neutral” in there, so that’s got to count for something.
Still, many fans were lamenting the recent trends of celebrities jumping on the NFT bandwagon, including Lil Nas X, with one Twitter warning the social media darling that getting involved with it may simply cause issues down the line.
Another user called the celebrity trend of embracing NFTs “sad.”
Many Twitter users showed cynicism in response to their newly found distrust of celebrities, with far fewer users defending NFTs and crypt-technology in general.
Do you think NFTs are irresponsible? should Lil Nas X distance himself from the project? Or is the whole controversy overblown?