This artist claims you can torrent the value of an NFT blockchain
In what could be one of the best performance art pieces this year, Australian Geoffrey Huntley has created a website which promises to let you torrent the full value of an NFT blockchain. It’s aptly called The NFT Bay, and it’s an almost exact replica of the famous hack site (with a naughty twist on top of that. DMCA withdrawal connect). As a site it seems to do what it says on the tin, but as a statement it might spark an interesting discussion about what it means if you claim ownership of something on the internet.
Almost every link on the site (except the one that’s a Rick Roll) will eventually lead you to the descriptive page, who would look comfortable on the real Pirate Bay (according to my friend, who is definitely not me as I have never hacked anything). At the bottom is a real download link – clicking on it will get the torrent, allowing you to download a file called “preview.jpg” which shows a bunch of Bored Ape images, as well as zip files that contain so- saying all NFTs of Ethereum and Solana blockchains. In total, the download is just under 20TB. That is to say, at the very least, a parcel of image files.
A familiar argument plays out in the responses to Huntley’s announcement tweet – NFT enemies see it as a triumph that proves NFTs are worthless, and crypto fans are trying to prove how undisturbed they are by replying en masse that it is in fact proof of property, not the image, that gives NFTs their value. Thinking that you get the same by saving the JPEG is a right click mindset, as they say.
I mean, good art is supposed to spark discussion, right?
For his part, Huntley explains that part of his reasoning was that NFTs very often do not store any media on the blockchain, but just bind to a version stored on a potentially fragile web server. He also gives a much more in-depth explanation of The NFT Bay’s influences in a FAQ on his GitHub and in an excellent interview with Motherboard.
What I love most about The NFT Bay, however, is that it takes NFT boosters at their word and pokes fun at the concept. “You want to claim ownership of something,” he asks. “On the Internet, that means someone is going to hack it.” And Huntley’s announcement message of “OMG WHO RIGHT CLICK ON ALL #NFT?” takes the “you wouldn’t download a JPEG” meme (shared by both supporters and critics) and says “bet”.
But there is one obvious question: does it actually contain all the NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain? Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you – trying to download the nearly 15TB zip file would put me so over my data cap that Comcast would likely smash my door with a ram. However, others have shown that it is possible to download all NFTs, so Huntley is not promising the impossible here (basically your program would just have to find all the tokens on the blockchain and use the links they contain to download the media). Would it have an impact on the artistic statement if someone finally finished downloading it and found out that it doesn’t have all the jpegs in it? This is probably something that you will have to decide for yourself.
Unfortunately, it looks like you have to go through the download process to discover the collection – as far as I know, the search feature of the NFT array just returns the same results no matter what you put in it, despite the checkboxes. enticing promising allows you to see only CryptoPunks or Bored Ape Yacht Club images.
I guess that’s what happens when you rely on outdated, centralized Web 2.0 technology to distribute your stolen NFTs. This is why I will wait for the web3 version of LimeWire to build my right click collection.