We Are Our Own Martyrs
A Column by By Theo Goodman
Without the token, all you have is a jpg:
As seemingly random cookie-cutter 10k PFP projects blink in times square during the cheaper breakfast hours one might ask, is the top in? These precious collectibles, art, modern cave paintings were reproduced for all to see. One can simply -click- or as some might say -right-click- and a copy is made, so simple, so elegant the reproduction! In the current mania state of expensive jpg, one might forget that without the token, all you have is a jpg, but with the token, you still have “it” the NFT. It is ok if you don’t get it now, you will just FOMO in later.
The NFT is not simply an expensive JPG that burns the earth to its core while allowing for new levels of carbon-neutral virtue signaling which give way for unthinkable business plans of feel-good tokenized carbon credits with no accountability. The NFT is not simply a profile picture that one can flex online in social networks by right-clicking the image of an NFT you own or don’t and adding it to your ProFile Picture in order to be part of the club. Want to join my new playground club?
The NFT is not simply a digital image in a vacuum of which one can only conceive of it as a digital image and nothing more. The NFT is a Gesamtkunstwerk(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gesamtkunstwerk), total artwork whose concept is not simply the image but the intersection of the image, the token, and the timestamp of the token on a blockchain. This is the total concept, the jpg does not exist in a vacuum. Now you might think that each of these elements is of equal value in accordance to what you have and what you don’t, however, this is not the case.
I just right clicked 5000 Bitcoin, I am now Nouveau Rich. If the three elements of the NFT were of equal value then you could simply right-click a bitcoin logo 5000 times and be one of the new elite, one of the nouveau rich with a stereotypical Lambo and walk around in sweat pants and a hoodie since you are probably not old enough to know how to dress anyway. In any case, you are rich enough to do the Zuckerburg dress style, halfway smart casual with trainers, please don’t do that.
Now that you right-clicked 5000 bitcoin logos and have 5000 bitcoin you are good to go, generational wealth and all! Why doesn’t that work, because you don’t have a token. Bitcoin is simply the native token of the bitcoin network (incoming comments -bitcoin is not a token it is just utxo- for all practical purposes bitcoin is the native token just stop having knee jerk reactions to the word “token” thanks!). If you don’t have the token, you don’t have any bitcoin, if you right-click and save Vitalik´s favorite ETH logo, even though it is his fav, you don’t have any ETH without the token ETH. One day the jpegs didn’t load…………..
The day the jpegs didn’t load
One day the jpegs didn’t load. You reset your laptop, the nouveau rich one with an ape sticker, the one with a “NO SHITCOINS” or the one with a “This laptop is carbon neutral” sticker on it. After the reset the jpegs didn’t load, your Bitcoin logo was gone, your ETH logo was gone and all your NFTs were GONE, annndddddd ITS GONE, but wait. They are not gone you have the tokens! Even if the link to the jpg is broken, there is a history of this link. Of course in this case there is an element of social consensus that is needed to agree – which token belongs to which jpg – but in the end, you have the token, without the token you just have a right-click jpg, or as I put it, nothing.
The Pirate Bay NFT and Arweave
Let us simply look at the first lines of the Pirate Bay NFT.
“Did you know that an NFT is just a hyperlink  to an image that’s usually hosted on Google Drive or another web2.0 webhost? “(https://github.com/ghuntley/thenftbay.org)
This is simply incorrect. If this were the case then the Pirate Bay NFT would have indeed simply right-clicked billions of dollars worth of NFTs, but they did not. On top of that, they shilled Arweave with the  which makes me think this is simply an Areweve shill action. The link that is referenced also doesn’t get it, shocking!
“NFTs are fragile because while the metadata may be stored forever, the asset itself is likely not”(https://arweave.news/nft-404/)
Which misses the point that in fact, the token is the asset, and as my friend Joe Loney has said many times “the token is the art”. While I applaud both NFT Pirate Bay and Areweave for continuing the tough discussion on file storage and the future, I do not think either understands what an NFT is. Both are focused on the JPG, either overlooking the token or just in order to highlight that using a dependency like Arewave that is branded as permanent (yet highly experimental and new) is better than just hosting on imgr. It will take another issue of We are our own Martyrs to unpack the perma storage claims, maybe next time.
An NFT is a Gesamtkunstwerk, a Total Artwork. Without the bearer asset, the token you have nothing. If you cant load your jpg and still have the token, you still have the NFT.
The Power of Zeus and the Fury of Hades.