Not long ago, somewhere in Mebane, North Carolina, Zoë Roth – better known as the Disaster Girl meme – picked up her phone and consulted Kyle Craven – better known as the Bad Luck Brian meme – about how to gain some control over her long-standing situation. His reply? Non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Roth has since sold digital ownership of the photograph that made her internet-famous for around £341,000, a trend that initially caught our attention back in March, when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold his first-ever tweet as an NFT for £1.8m.
We’re starting to get a picture of how the rest of our life will look. More and more of our friends are going to get cryptocurrency and invest it in various NFTs rising in value dependent on the caprice of Elon Musk, and we’re going to rue not getting involved sooner yet remain frozen in the constant assumption we’ve missed the boat, only to be proven increasingly wrong with each passing year.
A new societal hierarchy will emerge where we’ll no longer introduce ourselves by saying what we do, but rather what digital artefacts we’ve traded up from: a painting from The Sims 2, which we swapped with Melinda Gates for the Microsoft Paperclip’s left eyebrow, which we part-exchanged for a 20% stake in a microbe emoji in time for the next pandemic. Make it up. No-one’s going to be checking.
But, we can almost hear a future Adam Curtis voice-over explain, fearful of missing out on yet further surges in value, nobody ever had the nerve to cash out on their digital investments and enjoy the rewards before they died, rendering the lifetime of envy held by the only person who didn’t invest a complete waste of time in itself.