By Luke Whyte, Editorial Director
When people ask me if I’m worried about the death of NFTs, I tell them about a short science fiction story by Terry Bison I’m fond of titled, They’re Made Out of Meat.
The story centers around two intelligent beings capable of traveling faster than light discussing one’s recent discovery of a solar system containing sentient, purely carbon-based lifeforms “made up entirely of meat” (i.e., us). It’s a hard concept for the second character to grasp:
"No brain?" "Oh, there is a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat!" "So... what does the thinking?" "You're not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat." "Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!" "Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?" "Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."
Disgusted, the two characters agree to “erase the records and forget the whole thing”, marking our solar system “unoccupied”. Thus damning humans to live out our existence alone, capable only of traveling short distances through space in our “special meat containers”.
Life relies on growth. Growth relies on expansion and, if we’re honest, the heyday of meatspace expansion is likely behind us. We’ve been to all our planet’s corners, we’ve put them on the derivatives market and we’ve covered them in concrete.
So where will we grow from here? Some say we turn outward. They suggest we get in our “special meat containers” for seven months and build Tupperware on Mars. Ok, sure, but others ask, what if we journey inward? What if we transcend the meat? What if we augment its reality, expand its universe and journey toward a post-carbon digital frontier of near infinite possibilities from inside our living rooms? This is the promise of the metaverse.
When people ask me if I’m worried about the death of NFTs, I tell them about Krista Kim’s Mars House, the first NFT digital house (no Tupperware required), which was sold as an .mp4 on SuperRare for more than twice my mortgage.
“Mars House and the project I created was really a sneak peak into the future of NFTs,” Kim told SuperRare, “the next generation, which will become 3D, digital, programmable assets in augmented reality.”
I then tell them about Thobey Campion’s The Gateway, the “first 4th-dimensional NFT”, just minted this week and featuring a lossless zoom functionality – a first step toward NFTs that represent multi-layered, explorable worlds.
When people ask me if I’m worried about the death of NFTs, I tell them about the 12M people that attended last year’s Travis Scott concert in Fortnite. And then I tell them about Big Time Studios, a new company that has raised $21M to make NFTs a mainstay of the gaming industry.
“We’ve built some cool tech to make NFTs accessible and are eating our own dog food by creating a first-party game: Big Time, an action RPG where players battle throughout history to save the universe from the company that owns time,” says Ari Meilich, co-founder of Big Time and Decentraland.
Players will collect and trade artifacts on the platform that can be exchanged for fiat or crypto and, though initially Big Time Studio’s team of industry veterans will build the game’s virtual universe, in the future, users will have the capacity to create their own spaces.
“We see NFTs as a vital new component that finally unlocks the ability for players to claim ownership over their virtual goods,” says Meilich. “We are just at the beginning of this new frontier and expect to see new formats, protocols, and standards emerge in the coming years.”
When people ask me if I’m worried about the death of NFTs, I tell them about Virtuix’s Omni, the omni-directional treadmill that lets players walk and run in 360 degrees inside video games and other virtual worlds.
I tell them about Haptx haptic gloves with 133 points of tactile feedback per hand or the 30,000 points on your face tracked using infrared sensors in new iPhones, then I show them the leaked commercial for Samsung’s augmented reality glasses.
I ask them what it will mean to sweat, jump and fly in virtual environments with all the senses invested. How much will a virtual asset be worth in there?
I point to the artists on SuperRare that will breathe life into these ecosystems through their creativity. I show them the world’s of Raphael Lacoste, Annibale Siconolfi and Friendly Robot and tell them how they’ll access them using sneakers and hoverboards designed by RTFKT Studios.
And finally, if we’ve had a couple beers or happen to be located in a select 19 out of the 50 U.S. states, when someone asks me if I’m worried about the death of NFTs, I’ll talk to them about recursion. I’ll tell them about the idea of a function that calls itself, infinitely repeating, like a set of neverending Russian dolls, dividing and diverging, according to a set of rules.
I’ll ask them if it is not entirely possible that we are no more than a couple of defrosted cryogenic brains propped up on sticks at a distant point in spacetime and plugged into metaverses, simulations, that may or may not have recreated themselves over and over again an infinite number of times as an infinite number of fractals expanding infinitely in infinite directions, rebuilding and redefining our world based upon a set of ever-evolving rules.
I look them in the eye and then I ask them, are they so sure their shoes aren’t already an NFT?