With “The NFT Bay”, digital works of art now have their pirate site

Posted on Nov 19, 2021, 2:23 PMUpdated Nov 19, 2021, 3:11 PM

Why pay millions of dollars for an image of a CryptoPunk when all you need to do is right click, “Save Image As…” to own it? To whom the logic of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) escapes, as well as the underlying principle of digital art work, the Australian developer and artist Geoffrey Huntley offers a new meeting place: “The NFT Bay”.

The site takes up the old logic of illegal downloading of films and music: if a work exists, its copy is also on the internet and it will do the trick, especially since it is free. To hit the mark, the portal even monkeys the famous Swedish site BitTorrent links “The Pirate Bay” – now banned in several countries. A search engine allows you to get your hands on NFTs – well, the jpeg images that refer to them, and that is the whole debate. There is also a 17.96 terabyte archive with all NFTs from the Ethereum and Solana blockchains.

The risk of a 404 error

The interest of the approach escapes you even more than the denounced phenomenon? Geoffrey Huntley does have an explanation, which he shares in a post on GitHub. “Basically, I hope that through ‘The NFT Bay’ people will come to understand what they are really buying with NFT works. These are nothing more than instructions on how to upload an image. Image that is not hosted on the blockchain. The majority of those I’ve seen are stored on Web 2.0 servers, which will probably end up on a 404 error page one day. ”For him, that means“ NFTs are even less valuable ”.

According to Steve Mitobe, however, founder of WestCoastNFT interviewed by the specialized site “CoinTelegraph”, “the standard, for most NFTs, is to use Arweave or IPFS technology”. The protocol (InterPlanetary File System) is a distributed peer-to-peer file system that does not rely on centralized servers. It is therefore a guarantee because the images are not all in the same basket.

Right-Click, Save As

“The NFT Bay” attracts the curious. Half a day after being put online, the site has already attracted 1.2 million visitors, according to its creator. Under the announcement of its launch on Twitter, two clans are opposed: those who see it as proof that NFTs are useless, because they are now hacked, and those who recall that the value of these digital assets does not lie in the image itself but in the deed of ownership.

As the NFT market has gained weight ($ 10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021, according to DappRadar, against 1.2 billion in the previous), Internet users have started to provoke the holders of non-reproducible tokens by downloading then posting the famous images on social networks. They have formed an informal movement known as “Right-Click, Save As”. This is not to be taken lightly. When the CEO of Discord indicated that the voice chat platform was going to support NFTs, he had to retreat in the face of an outcry from these opponents.

VIDEO. How NFTs are revolutionizing the art market

Twitter profile picture

In the camp opposite, token holders do not fail to take offense at these digital thefts on social networks. And that’s exactly where Geoffrey Huntley is coming from. For him, “the utility and value of NFTs will be created through social networks. For a lot of people, digital representation equates to physical representation and when Twitter or TikTok allows them to be posted on their profile, we will be at a crossroads ”. And that’s what Twitter intends to do.

The social network has recently been testing the integration of NFT, via the profile picture or a tab to present its collection – without claiming to authenticate the tokens itself, but rather by connecting to Coinbase or Metamask approved wallets. Not sure that this calms the debates. But ultimately, is it not in these games that the notion of art is born and with it, the value of NFT?

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