This Week I Learned: Artists like NFTs because they want to eat when they’re 70 [2021–11–12]

“But Peter”, you ask out of nowhere, “artists often seem like sensitive, hippy types, so why are they excited to risk setting the world on fire by encouraging us to burn loads of electricity to mint NFTs?”

I had an aha moment. They hope to retire one day and not eat cat food.

As a musician there’s always been a concept of royalties, you know what I mean? As someone who paints things, you don’t get that. You gotta paint forever, and keep selling work forever, and by the time your work has value other people own it. You don’t own it anymore and they’ll be selling it on the secondary market, making a packet, and then you’re in the studio still trying to paint stuff.

They’re minting NFTs that require any future sales to give a small amount of money to the original artist. I imagine that there’s an Ethereum wallet that’s hard-coded into these contracts as the recipient of a small percentage of the purchase price. That wallet then becomes a source of passive income trickling in for the artist, and if an artist makes it big one day then paintings created decades earlier will sell for more, increasing the artist’s income in old age. It could even be an asset to be passed down to children.

This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten a real-world insight from this satirical newspaper.

If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.

— Warren Buffett

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Peter Brownlow

Peter Brownlow

Software builder, people manager, technical deep-dive enthusiast