Every time I hear people talking about NFTs, the first opinion is usually how dumb they are. And you know what? They are dumb. People are creating pixel art of CryptoPunks, Anonymice, or even less pixely Deez Nuts. Which are all digital pieces of art that you can buy as a Non-Fungible Token with your rights to that art stored on a blockchain. You can’t hold it. IT’S NOT REAL. It’s just pixels on a screen. What’s the point of “ownership” of something I can easily copy and paste into my folder of stolen internet images. We all have one. Admit it. CryptoPunks pixel art has generated over $2 million in transactions already. With many of the pixel art pieces selling for several thousand dollars. WHAT!?
They’re dumb, right? Like paying 10,000 Bitcoins for a pizza, right? There’s something unique about the Bitcoin example. Many considered it dumb then, and it would surely still be dumb now. Well, unless that pizza consists of platinum, cocaine, and printer ink. It might still be a few billion short, but it would be a pretty unique pizza. Uniqueness is really easy to facilitate in the real world, but it’s the digital world where uniqueness proposes a challenge.
Alright, but you might think crypto, in general, is dumb. Maybe, that’s not going to slice through your cynicism, but what about cars? NFTs are as dumb as cars, right? Oh, no? Does that feel a bit off? Deriding the most common form of transportation on the planet is a bit more challenging to agree with, I bet. Well, unless you were around when cars were entering into the world.
See, everyone thought cars were dumb. Do you know why cars were dumb? Because people had horses. Why the hell would they need a car? And you need to fill it with gas? That sounds dangerous as fuck. That’s so dumb. How many gas stations were there? Probably like one. For the whole country. And the roads were likely dirt or cobbled. Do you think those stiff tires and no suspension were enjoyable to drive on? And the streets were filled with people all up in the way. There were no sidewalks because there was no need to be on the side. They built roads for horses and people. It must have been so frustrating to use these things. What a dumb idea. Why would anyone spend so much money on these things? Get a horse, nerd.
But then, the environment changed.
Roads became better, gas stations were more common, and cars improved in their safety and features. All of these changes over time made cars more friendly and accessible to the average person. And you know what happened after that? Cars were cool. The utility of it finally outweighs the inconveniences. It’s the very same thing that happened with all kinds of breakthrough technology. It was the same for the internet.
Dial-up internet sucked, and only large institutions had access to broadband speeds. Wi-fi wasn’t even a thing, and nobody had mobile phones. Media sharing was a painful experience for the average person. And guess what the average person cares about more than anything? Content and convenience. Why would they care about this dumb technology that’s slow and doesn’t do anything? You couldn’t book hotels or reserve flights. You couldn’t buy tickets to anything. But now, you can do cool stuff like buy tickets to your favorite concert on your cell phone while lying back at the beach. Pretty impressive, right? Well, it WAS until technology also brought a lot of new problems.
It’s challenging to build a platform that manages all the gears and cogs needed to provide those services. And those challenges often lead to market consolidation or simply poor services because those services don’t need to worry about competition. Companies can get lazy and stop giving a shit about you, is what I’m trying to say, especially when they control a marketspace. So what used to be a fantastic refreshing experience ends up becoming a painful and soul-crushing expereince. Buying tickets online is like paying someone to punch you in the face so you can go enjoy something you like. It wasn’t like that before. Then there are the scalpers who automate buying up thousands of tickets before you can even get one. So now you have to get them off another site marked up even further. This evolution of the experience is hell, and it doesn’t need to be this way.
But don’t worry because that’s going to change. And there’s nothing these lazy-ass exploitive companies can do about it. Because NFTs are going to change the world. And tickets to events is one of the spaces that’s prime for disruption. Yes, big companies will always look for opportunities to take advantage. But blockchain tech allows for so much automation around the most problematic gears and cogs managed by services like TicketMaster. Specifically around managing contracts, money, and logistics.
There will be a future where a venue can directly negotiate contracts for a performance with a performer and plug the specifics of that negotiation into an app. After digitally signing the contract with both parties on the blockchain, NFT tickets for the event become available on the market. Smart contracts take care of everyone getting their cut of the sales.
Most of the people at these legacy ticket gatekeepers don’t need to exist. Dapps will need to compete to provide the best and most efficient experience because they can’t simply take over the whole market or make it difficult for others to enter into the space and provide these services. The environment isn’t suited for it yet, but it’s once again evolving.
Tickets are a single example, but it’s a real example that you’ll experience sooner than later. For now, NFTs are dumb, stupid, uninteresting pieces of pixel art. But tomorrow, they might be the coolest thing you’ve ever experienced. It would be cool to have a horse, though.