You Can’t ‘Own’ a Fart, It Belongs to All Who Smelt It

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Bob Odenkirk farting.

Bob Odenkirk farting.
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a supposedly unique digital token generated by the same type of blockchain tech that powers cryptocurrencies like Ether and Bitcoin and serves as a trading card signifying ownership of a data asset, which can be anything from music and paintings to a photo of a cat or literally anything else. You can declare the Sun, or the cult 1974 film The Parallax View, or imprisoned Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to be an NFT and try to sell it if you want to.

Despite their relative lack of worth, NFTs have become a trend due to the conflation of their value with surging cryptocurrencies, with artists taking the opportunity to sell NFTs for millions of dollars. Per the New York Post, the latest such entry in this genre is a 52-minute “Master Collection” of one year of farts recorded by Brooklyn director Alex Ramírez-Mallis, which is currently being auctioned with a high bid of around $200.

“If people are selling digital art and GIFs, why not sell farts?” Ramírez-Mallis asked the Post. That’s a purposefully dumb question, Alex, but I’ll answer it.

First of all, no one “owns” a fart. A fart is a gaseous cloud composed of butt particulates (I assume nitrogen or sulfur or something) that disperses throughout whatever volume it is emitted into, freely entering into nearby nostrils with a will of its own. It doesn’t heed the beck and call of they who dealt it; it instead is chronicled by those who smelt it. You can no more own a fart than you can own the wind or the sky or the clouds.

Second of all, if you want to sell an NFT of something sort of like a fart, Elon Musk already pioneered that before he got cold feet.

Third of all, [makes a series of fart noises]

Detractors will insist that I’m missing the point and that what is being sold is not the fart itself, but rather a digital certificate of recordings of farts coded onto a distributed cryptographic network that is primarily used to waste massive amounts of computational resources on speculative internet money. This is an argument too stupid for me to respond to.

To bid on the farts or one of many “handpicked, limited edition single farts,” Ramírez-Mallis has a store on crypto market OpenSea here.



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