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jmau111⭐
jmau111⭐

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Plagiarism and stolen art with NFTs

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are pretty fascinating. These Ethereum-based assets are unique elements on a blockchain that cannot be traded or exchanged.

As a result, NFTs are not cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which is fungible. You need cryptos to buy NFTs, but an NFT is an irreplaceable object.

However, you often manage your NFTs like cryptos with digital wallets.

It could be anything, from a simple Tweet to digital creation, or even tangible items such as a designer's creation (e.g., clothes, shoes, furniture).

Anyone can buy or make NFTs

Provided that you have some Ethereum tokens, you can go to NFT marketplaces to buy NFTs.

Ethereum's blockchain is a massive decentralized database and a token is a unique piece of data permanently attached to the chain.

The very nature of the blockchain implies that anyone can inspect another user's wallet.

To make NFTs, you have to follow some basic steps:

  1. find the digital asset you want to make an NFT
  2. own the intellectual property rights
  3. select the blockchain (Ethereum would be the easiest)
  4. create a digital wallet
  5. go to a marketplace such as Opensea to sell your NFT

The risks of NFTs

At the time of writing, the most enthusiastic backpackers expect crazy good profits, like thirty times as much as the first investment.

I only know for sure that I won't bet everything on NFTs. I still consider NFTs a bit risky. While you don't usually get much without risking something, this market seems pretty unstable, which can lead to either huge profits or huge losses.

However, that's absolutely not what bothers me with NFTs. If it's a game and you decide to play, there's always a possibility to lose.

I worry about plagiarism and theft.

Opensea might be a broken platform

Opensea is probably the most popular marketplace for NFTs. The platform faced several issues, such as rumors of insider trading that ended up with the resignation of Nate Chastain, the head of product.

The company had to implement new policies to fix this vulnerability.

Source: the Verge

However, that's not even the most shocking to me. The platform is attractive mainly because it's a one-time payment to get started, and then the number of collections you can mint and sell is unlimited.

While it's a successful formula, there's a BIG issue:

we've recently seen misuse of this feature increase exponentially.
Over 80% of the items created with this tool were plagiarized works, fake collections, and spam.

Source: Opensea on Twitter

When they realized the threat, they tried to limit this feature to 5 collections per user (without official announcement...), but they had to reverse the decision quickly as legitimate creators were pretty unhappy.

Bring the noise

This Opensea scandal shows NFTs could also be a great opportunity for bad actors. NFTs are a new way for artists to earn money and make themselves known, but they might be forgers' paradise at the same time.

The idea with decentralized networks is to ban any central authority, which is pretty cool but can also lead to legal uncertainty.

Marketplaces are paid with each transaction, so it's a big business, but it seems easier for bad actors to automate theft, so a significant part of the business might be unethical.

edit 28/01: remove photo & credits photo

Top comments (11)

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bradtaniguchi profile image
Brad

I really don't understand what the purpose of NFTs are in the context of an online marketplace.

The main selling point of anything based on a blockchain is that you can decentralize it.

But if its a marketplace... isn't that centralized and your right back to where you started with an online marketplace managed by a singular entity with most of the control and the actual benefactor of the marketplace itself?

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Sloan, the sloth mascot
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bradtaniguchi profile image
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Brad

The end result is the same, blockchain or not. Which is what I end up not understanding.

I have a tough time thinking of a way around the problem of centralization in general. A centralized entity has a lot of power, but at the same time it seems like the only option at the end of the day. There's plenty of talk of decentralized technologies, but most seem to be smoke and mirrors.

 
Sloan, the sloth mascot
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bradtaniguchi profile image
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Brad

I'm not sure who "ruined web2", nor am I sure if you need the exact same people to "ruin web3", nor am I sure if blaming these people is productive.

If a system can be "exploited" in some way for monetary gain, it will be.

 
Sloan, the sloth mascot
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bradtaniguchi profile image
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Brad

Pointing fingers and blaming people usually doesn't solve anything and usually just exacerbates the problem. This is especially true when there isn't a clear solution presented.

Great for click-bait and "discussions", not that great for productivity.

 
Sloan, the sloth mascot
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bradtaniguchi profile image
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Brad

🤷

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ricobrase profile image
Rico Brase

The main selling point of anything based on a blockchain is that you can decentralize it

But if its a marketplace... isn't that centralized and your right back to where you started with an online marketplace managed by a singular entity with most of the control and the actual benefactor of the marketplace itself?

Well, the marketplace itself may be centralized, but the data in the blockchain itself isn't.

The marketplace doesn't need to be decentralized, since the important data is - the marketplace is exchangeable. As soon as an NFT is bought, the transaction is saved in the blockchain, the blockchain users acting like witnesses to confirm the purchase.

Let's imagine, you are buying a ring from a local jewelry. While you are purchasing the ring, 100 people are there in the shop with you, witnessing the transaction between you and the jewelry. Now, even if the jewelry closes down, you still have witnesses to confirm that YOU are the legitimate owner of that one specific ring.

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cjsmocjsmo profile image
Charlie J Smotherman

For me NFT's == scam

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Timeless DEV post...

How to write a kickass README

Arguably the single most important piece of documentation for any open source project is the README. A good README not only informs people what the project does and who it is for but also how they use and contribute to it.

If you write a README without sufficient explanation of what your project does or how people can use it then it pretty much defeats the purpose of being open source as other developers are less likely to engage with or contribute towards it.