A Humble Frog Merchant
I find my self in a strange place today. As the casino gulag that is our world churns on, run by clowns and fueled by ponzi schemes. A frog I made years ago for the lols becomes worth something.
The NFT market place is nuts right now, and I made one of the first. PEPETHUGLIFE as seen above is nft number 300 or so ontop of Bitcoin, of the rare pepe collection. It came to life some time in 2016.
Since when are you into NFTs??
You might be wondering if I've become a shitcoiner all of a sudden or some such thing, but perhaps that's because you don't know me too well.
I've always traded various coins, I've earned my Bitcoin shitposting stripes the hard way, by fending off the temptations of shitcoinery first hand, and seeing the glitchy nature of low quality 'blockchains' up close and personal.
I don't pump shitcoins, not anymore anyway, but I do dump them and I do buy them if I think they are worth a bet. That makes me a trader I believe.
I also love art and was an artist in a previous life.
Here's some art I made in my early 20's.
Well somewhere around 2016 this rare pepe thing started to brew. I liked frog memes at the time, and if you were in the internet those years you know what that vive was like.
People started making these nfts and submitting them to the rare pepe directory for approval, where meme scientists would judge if the frogs were truely rare or not.
I made one, submitted it and it was approved.
Months later the scientists went on vacation and never came back. And that's the story of rare pepe NFTs in a nut shell.
All of these NFTs, in fact perhaps all NFTs were first done on Bitcoin. The rare pepes live on Bitcoin and I'm only interested in trading them for Bitcoin ontop of Bitcoin.
Here's an article I wrote about Rare Pepes back in the day which includes an interview with the late John Villar, a pepe magician who we owe a lot in this space to.
I've also become a bit of a collector of rare pepes over the years, tho I'm cheap and only buy pieces I really like at low costs.
But Juan, NFTs are just a jpeg and a shitcoin
Yeah pretty much. These tokens are not an investment, at best you are "collecting digital art". They are highly iliquid, and are a terrible speculation unless you get lucky and someone else decides to pay you for it lol.
There is however something to having a token, I'm ok with the posibility that it is just a psychological illusion, some weird monkey brain magic.
I don't know about you, but I like collecting trinkets. My hat collection is getting out of hand, and whenever I see a cool thing, like a dope LEGO or cool bitcoin stickers, or some statuette that speaks to me in some way, if I can justify it, I'll buy it. I'm no hoarder, but hoarders are probably letting this impulse run amuck.
I think this trinket collector impulse thing is why NFTs feel different.
I have a full copy of all rare pepes. I have a folder with pepes I want to own the NFTs to. I also have a folder with the NFTs I own. There is a difference I feel when I look at them, there's is a different feeling I get with the NFTs I own, and honestly that's enough.
There's also things I can do with the tokens, as you are about to see. I can destroy the tokens, I can gift them, I can sell them, I can sign messages with the addresses that hold the NFTs and thus prove ownership at a given time. Such signatures can serve as tickets to access closed environments (in theory) or can unlock 'bonus content' as the famous DJPEPE has done.
Here we can speculate about the potential real value of NFTs but, in that sense it is mostly intelectual speculation, a game, a hobby.
And what is art anyway but that. Something you do for it's own sake.
But you don't really 'OWN' the jpg, Juan
Yeah so this is an interesting question when it comes to NFTs. What does it mean to 'own' and NFT of a jpg? what do you really own?
That question, I'm afraid is a legal one, or at the very least one of mutial agreement among the artists and the buyers.
If as an artist, I'd issued the image with certain copy right licenses attached, or had a contract written specifying what rights the token controls and which it doesnt. Then that might be a very different type of ownership than if I hadn't.
Which I didn't. Most rare pepe artists simply wanted to express something, made a jpg (or gif) and shiped it.
How this plays out now, we'll see. There's a guy that's been buying the copy rights to some pepes and is not happy with people printing certain pepes and selling them as merch. Can he do anything about it with the copy rights he legally owns? who knows!
I expect the next 5-10 years we'll see this question actually enter the courts, assuming this NFT trend continues.
And what could stop it?
Any influencer and artist with a tinge of greed, hunger and vision can issue an NFT today and acccess a global market of speculators with cheap money, flowing down to them - in a round about way - from the printer at the FED.
We are in a casino gulag you see. It will take Bitcoin a couple of generations I suspect to suck all the fiat air out of the room, perhaps more.
Until then it's a shitcoin free for all! What's going to stop them! there's no natural predators! Who's gonna regulate this??
Regulate This 🐸
NFTs are a lot harder to attack with lawfare I suspect as well.
Are NFTs securities? not really, there's no company, just a piece of art, maybe a brand.
Are NFTs stocks? oh no, they don't confer any voting rights by default and there's no company involved nessesarily, though there's no reason you can't attach art to a stock but that'd be weird. It probably doesnt make any sense. Though I wouldn't care either way.
Are people buying NFTs with an expectation that they'll make money? sure, some are no doubt, in fact most of the rare pepe market right now seems to be people buying pepes on bitcoin and re-selling them on Ethereum at 5x the price.
Does that make them a security? well, I don't see any NFT makers promising to build a product that will be profitable later or trying to save the world. If someone buys the Mona Lisa and flips it for 2x, did they just turn the Mona Lisa into a security? I don't think so.
So now what, frog merchant
Well, that's it. that's my story with NFTs and rare pepes. I have no plans or intention to make any new NFTs any time soon, but I'll happily sell some of the ones I made back then, build and trade my collection.
I also have plans to support the ecosystem, since the rare pepe infrastructure is clearly lacking.
In fact, Eth plebs are paying stupid fees to move frogs ontop of eth with strange pseudo decentralized magic, meanwhile they could do it for nothing on Liquid, so I'd like to see that become the new frontier. I suspect it is easier than we think.
Til next time!