Nfts are not a net good for artists.
The economic structure of NFTs is almost identical to that of multilevel marketing schemes. Both MLMs and NFTs share the same set of psychological tricks to create fear of missing out and false promises of financial windfalls to entice more victims into the scheme. Just like with MLM schemes, NFTs require an upfront buy-in cost in order to mint the NFT projects. These minting fees must be paid in a specific cryptoasset which creates artificial demand for the token since artists are forced to buy the token at any price to buy into the scheme.
Since the NFT market depends highly on sign-value, hype, and promotion generation the returns on any one NFT projects are only a factor of their visibility and market manipulation. Thus artist who will see higher returns are ones who outside of their NFT projects already have high visibility and are thus able to leverage their influence to create exit liquidity in their NFT scheme.
Because digital tokens have no inherent value and are not backed by any other asset, hype is crypto's product and those with the most to lose are in the worst positions. NFTs are a form of predatory inclusion that on average does not liberate artists. Instead most artists will engage in the token sales at a loss, making almost nothing in return. The return and payout structure is similar to that of MLMs which depend on asymmetric information to incentiveize a small pool of individuals at the expense of a vast number of others who are victims of the scheme.
On the whole, NFTs create more harm than good like most is-negative-sum investment schemes.
- Olson, Dan. 2022a. Line Goes Up – The Problem With NFTs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ_xWvX1n9g.
- *‘NFTs, Cryptocurrencies and Web3 Are Multilevel Marketing Schemes for a New Generation - WSJ’. n.d. Accessed 14 March 2022. https://www.wsj.com/articles/nfts-cryptocurrencies-and-web3-are-multilevel-marketing-schemes-for-a-new-generation-11645246824.
- Low, Kelvin F K. 2021. ‘The Emperor’s New Art: Cryptomania, Art & Property’. Art & Property. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3978241.
- Aharon, David Y., and Ender Demir. 2021. ‘NFTs and Asset Class Spillovers: Lessons from the Period around the COVID-19 Pandemic’. Finance Research Letters, 102515. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.frl.2021.102515.
- Ante, Lennart. 2021. ‘Non-Fungible Token (NFT) Markets on the Ethereum Blockchain: Temporal Development, Cointegration and Interrelations’. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3904683.
- Bodó, Balázs, Alexandra Giannopoulou, João Quintais, and Péter Mezei. 2022. ‘The Rise of NFTs: These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For’. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4000423.
- Çağlayan Aksoy, Pınar, and Zehra Özkan Üner. 2021. ‘NFTs and Copyright: Challenges and Opportunities’. Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice 16 (10): 1115–26. https://doi.org/10.1093/jiplp/jpab104.
- Casale-Brunet, S., P. Ribeca, P. Doyle, and M. Mattavelli. 2021. ‘Networks of Ethereum Non-Fungible Tokens: A Graph-Based Analysis of the ERC-721 Ecosystem’. ArXiv Preprint ArXiv:2110.12545. http://arxiv.org/abs/2110.12545.
- Diehl, Stephen. 2021. ‘The Tinkerbell Griftopia’. 19 November 2021. https://www.stephendiehl.com/blog/tinkerbell.html.
- Dowling, Michael. 2021. ‘Fertile LAND: Pricing Non-Fungible Tokens’. Finance Research Letters, 102096. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.frl.2021.102096.
- Fairfield, Joshua. 2021. ‘Tokenized: The Law of Non-Fungible Tokens and Unique Digital Property’. Indiana Law Journal, 1–99. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3821102.
- Frye, Brian L. 2021. ‘After Copyright: Pwning NFTs in a Clout Economy’. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3971240.
- *———. n.d. ‘How to Sell NFTs Without Really Trying’. Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law, Forthcoming. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3930430.
- Gibson, Johanna. 2021. ‘The Thousand-and-Second Tale of NFTS, as Foretold by Edgar Allan Poe’. Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property 11 (3): 249–69. https://doi.org/10.4337/qmjip.2021.03.00.
- Guadamuz, Andres. 2021. ‘The Treachery of Images: Non-Fungible Tokens and Copyright’. SSRN Electronic Journal 16 (12): 1367–85. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3905452.
- Kim, Soyeon. 2020. ‘Fractional Ownership, Democratization, and Bubble Formation - The Impact of Blockchain Enabled Asset Tokenization’. 26th Americas Conference on Information Systems, AMCIS 2020, 0–5. https://aisel.aisnet.org/amcis2020/adv_info_systems_research/adv_info_systems_research/19/.
- Kong, De-Rong, and Tse-Chun Lin. 2021. ‘Alternative Investments in the Fintech Era: The Risk and Return of Non-Fungible Token (NFT)’. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3914085.
- Mackenzie, Simon, and Diāna Bērziņa. 2021. ‘NFTs: Digital Things and Their Criminal Lives’. Crime, Media, Culture, 17416590211039796. https://doi.org/10.1177/17416590211039797.
- Mazur, Mieszko. 2021. Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT). The Analysis of Risk and Return. SSRN Electronic Journal. October. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3953535.
- Nadini, Matthieu, Laura Alessandretti, Flavio Di Giacinto, Mauro Martino, Luca Maria Aiello, and Andrea Baronchelli. 2021. ‘Mapping the NFT Revolution: Market Trends, Trade Networks, and Visual Features’. Scientific Reports 11 (1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-00053-8.
- Solimano, Andrés. 2021. ‘The Evolution of Contemporary Arts Markets’. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003215127.
- Tonelli, Emily. 2022. ‘Internet Guru Tim O’Reilly: Crypto and NFTs Are “Pretty Serious Speculative Bubble”’. Decrypt. 10 February 2022. https://decrypt.co/92676/internet-guru-tim-oreilly-crypto-nfts-serious-speculative-bubble.
- Whitaker, Amy. 2021. Economics of Visual Art: Market Practice and Market Resistance. Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108649919.