If you want a picture of the future of art, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.
Elon Musk’s abomination of a non-fungible token (NFT) is selling for over one million dollars, not quite proving there is no God, but certainly demonstrating that if one does exist they might be feeling woozy and need to lay down for a while.
NFTs are a form of smart contract that’s used to designate ownership and authenticity of digital goods. At the moment, the hot NFTs are for works of art that have been tied to the blockchain in some way. NFTs are “non-fungible” meaning that unlike units of cryptocurrency which are equal to and can be swapped for one another, NFTs are unique. Like cryptocurrencies, their value is dubious beyond the ongoing surge in high-risk speculative investing. They’ve become the latest fad in a long string of other crypto vehicles ranging from initial coin offerings to simply slapping words like “blockchain” onto a product in the hope its value will skyrocket, with numerous pieces of NFT art selling for millions of dollars—and because most NFTs rely on highly inefficient, convoluted “proof of work” blockchain processes, they suck up massive amounts of electricity.
Musk’s contribution to this genre is suitably pallid and takes the form of a video of an obnoxious gold CGI “Vanity Trophy” covered in cryptocurrency references no particularly well-adjusted person should get (hodl, computers never sleep, to the moon, etc.) rotating while a techno song of a woman saying “NFT / for your vanity / computers never sleep / it’s verified / it’s guaranteed.” The SpaceX and Tesla CEO announced the auction on Monday with the caption “I’m selling this song about NFTs as an NFT.”
Noted music enjoyer Elon Musk, everyone.
Like his prior comedic stylings such as a 2019 rap song about Harambe the dead ape, the fact that the NFT is annoying fanservice is part of the “joke” and sets up a no-win situation in which any contempt felt towards it by others merely flatters Musk’s perception of himself as a clever troll-boy. (You win this round, Elon.) Unlike the Harambe rap song, one can reasonably suspect Musk didn’t actually have much to do with its creation beyond telling some underling to make it—unless he’s recently taken up 3D modeling—and it’s up for auction at a current high bid of $1.12 million from Bridge Oracle CEO Sina Estavi.
It’s unclear how much juice the eventual sale of Musk’s NFT might suck up. But it’s being sold on Valuables by Cent, which relies on the proof of work Ethereum blockchain. That means the sale should end up costing a massive amount of kilowatt-hours.
Musk is worth an estimated $182 billion and his other hobbies include encouraging people to buy Dogecoin, a joke cryptocurrency that surged this year amid a Musk endorsement and which will likely crash again in the future.