Inadvertently Fungible

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Comic Transcript

A: So NFTs — at least, the kind everyone is talking about — are basically pointers in the Etherium blockchain that identify specific instances of web graphics?

B: That’s right. Storing the location of the image makes it non-fungible, since no other instance of that image can have the same address.

A: Actually it can.

B: No, it can’t.

A: It absolutely can. You could set up a load balanced site that has a full copy of the graphic on each load balanced server. The NFT URL would get you to the load balancer, and the load balancer would determine which copy of the image it would redirect you to based on available bandwidth.

A: I suppose you could make the argument that only one instance of the web graphic is the “real” one, but there’d be no way to tell from the blockchain’s perspective.

(Silence.)

B: You are my least favorite circle today.


3 comments

  1. I had to look at how it’s done on one “big name” site earlier this week. It’s even worse than what is depicted there, which is… within expectations at this point 😀

  2. You know, I already wasn’t a fan of cryptocurrency. This series is doing nothing to change my mind.

  3. It occurs to me that NFTs aren’t a new idea: Several places sell the opportunity to name a star, which allows you to purchase an entry in their “official” star name registry with the name of your choice for any still unnamed star in their registry. The differences from NFTs:

    NFT adds the step of buying the cryptocurrency to buy the NFT vs directly buying the star naming

    Your entry in the NFT registry can in theory only be altered by at least 51% of the miners acting together (not by you) which nobody expects to ever happen vs Your star name entry can in theory only be altered by the people who have control of the star registry database (not by you) which nobody expects to ever happen.

    NFT registers a URL that anyone can find and use to see what the server it points to at the time chooses to send in response at that time vs Star name registry provides the name assigned at the time of registry and coordinates that anyone can use to look at a specific star to see an unchangeable image except for factors such as weather, eclipses, quality of telescope, and cosmic events like a star going nova.

    People are less likely to be so confused that they think that they own the star when they buy a name entry in that one registry vs thinking that buying an NFT gives them any ownership of the object that they assume the URL that is in the blockchain entry they bought points to.

    Nobody seems to want to spend millions on a star name

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