My wife and I have talked about it and when I die she will turn me into a non-fungible sign.
I’m not exactly sure what this is, but I do know that an NFT, as it is called, sold for $ 69 million at a Christie’s auction in March.
OK, I checked: a non-fungible token is an asset that is recorded on a cryptocurrency blockchain. Roger that?
From sneakers (Nike’s CryptoKicks) to music albums (“When You See Yourself” by Kings of Leon) to corpses, pretty much anything can be turned into an NFT. It’s easy. Just upload a digital file of your asset to an NFT website and Bob will be your undertaker.
The $ 69 million digital file sold at Christie’s was created by an artist named Beeble. As with all NFTs, the blockchain crease guarantees that the item will remain irresistibly unique and non-fungible, i.e. non-transferable except under certain conditions. So when my body is NFT paired, my wife becomes a rich woman.
Our NFT madness is proof that this whole cryptocurrency thing is getting out of hand. You’ve heard of Bitcoin, the first and by far the largest of its kind. It’s a type of digital wampum that you can send to someone electronically without the need for middlemen like banks. Transactions are verified by encrypted computer code and recorded anonymously in a public distributed ledger called the blockchain.
The latter feature, which provides an open, decentralized record of every exchange, is adopted by industries such as banking and supply chain management. However, its greatest use to date has been to keep an eye on Bitcoin and its many copycats.
There are currently nearly $ 700 billion worth of Bitcoin in circulation. In fact, the currency doesn’t circulate much except for speculation. But enough people believe in Bitcoin to give it any obvious value.
Faith is indeed the foundation of a modern currency that, like the US dollar, has no intrinsic value. In other words, it is not backed by something real like gold or silver, but by the credibility of the issuing authority.
That is one of the reasons why Bitcoin was created. In 2009, an unknown person or group by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto conjured up a digital currency that could not be controlled by governments. In fact, it’s not really controlled by anyone except a few computer algorithms and volunteer geeks.
Partly because it lacks a central bank, Bitcoin wobbles wildly against the dollar. It started life a few cents, hit an all-time high of $ 64,000 in April, and has fallen nearly in half since then. Digital currencies are risky, but people made a fortune by buying them low and selling them high.
Or just hold out. Since the supply is limited by its algorithms, Bitcoin has a scarcity value that is vaguely similar to that of gold. As a result, many owners see it as a long-term investment rather than an unstable currency.
Bitcoin fans appreciate its rebellious, libertarian origins. Also its almost perfect anonymity, which makes it suitable for money laundering, tax evasion, thwarting international sanctions (Iran and Russia) and of course for ransom payments – as in the recent hacker attacks on Colonial Pipeline and the meatpacker JBS.
Governments don’t like digital currency. It’s not easy to regulate, it devastates monetary policy, and a criminal’s dream comes true.
Another problem: The creation – or “mining” – of new bitcoins, which theoretically anyone can do, requires enormous amounts of computing power and thus electricity. The process currently consumes more terawatts than Norway. The environmental costs are appalling.
Recently, however, some countries have been warming up to the crypto idea. El Salvador is just the first country where Bitcoin will be legal tender. China is developing a digital renminbi. Our own Federal Reserve is looking into a possible crypto dollar.
The expectation is that once the right machines are in place, digital currencies will eventually be suitable for normal purchases. In fact, an entire industry has sprung up to provide the retail platforms and digital wallets required.
In the meantime, using digital currency, you can legally and relatively easily buy a non-fungible token. (Google can tell you how.)
When I described my unacceptable estate plan to my wife, her eyes lit up. I stated that given my undeniable scarcity, my posthumous NFT should stand. So I can leave this earth without worrying about its financial well-being.
In fact, she’s standing right above me – presumably to show her gratitude and to make sure I get every word in this hymn of praise to the bright new crypto future of humanity just right.
Or maybe something else. I see she’s holding a knife.