March 4, 2024

NFTs are the most optimum gateway to bring outsiders onchain, and not just onto Ethereum; any blockchain.

Most people already find crypto to be a community sport, whether they are online in a Discord server with users posing as their favourite fruit, or in a bar late at night with work colleagues.

NFTs are naturally the most memetic of crypto assets – being literal pictures. Because of their composition, they can transmit information at a vastly faster rate than say, a protocol's website, where the user has to read copy written by a lead developer...

You might be thinking, "Sure Connor, but name an XRP holder that has actually been to the Ripple website?" Because, for tokens with a cult-status, it's usually more likely they were inducted by a friend who was already possessed, sorry, convicted.

But if you go far enough back in the chain (pardon the pun), you will eventually get to someone who has read the website, and probably even the terms and conditions. This is where everyone in the chain gets their information from; only a slight variation on the original Chinese whispers.

I think the most plausible reason why everyone doesn't verify the information themselves is because they are either not sufficiently interested in crypto enough to do so, or their brain just can't deal with the jargon; for which, I deeply empathise with them.

The solution to the mass cult, XRP holders being a good example, is rather ironically, the inception of lots of smaller cults. Which I believe is only possible through NFTs.

The reason NFTs are different to ERC-20 tokens (the standard design mechanism for fungible crypto assets) is because whatever asset you are buying or holding, is verifiable no matter where you are in the memetic chain. Simply because, understanding requires seeing and participating, rather than having specific technical knowledge or believing that one friend. Both of which can easily be duped.

Your dearest friend could also be, in a slightly more pragmatic sense, a bagholder – he wants you to buy because it reassures his subconsciously wavering conviction.

The requirement for a person who has very little foundational knowledge of a field to suddenly have very specific technical knowledge is usually a recipe for disaster, because they'll naturally entertain a wider scope of possibilities due to their naivety.

It's more difficult and takes longer to verify if the information is true.

For example, banks may indeed choose to partner with Ripple to improve efficiency in cross-border payments and settlement times. But they wouldn't be transacting in XRP – it would either be their own fiat currency or a CBDC equivalent. J.P. Morgan use JPM Coin for internal activities that require blockchain.

Without that very last slither of information, it would sound as though banks may be transacting in XRP.

NFTs don't require specific technical knowledge, the majority anyway. All they require is for you to understand that specific unit of culture. This lack of complexity actually aids them, there's not as much room for misinformation. You either "get it" or you don't.

There is no search for truth where you can be misguided, the truth is staring you right in the face. It's just an image made immutable via the blockchain.

If you do get it, you naturally want to play social games with other people that do as well. The other weekend, me and two friends were invited to play online poker with other holders of Bitcoin Puppets. But we could have easily organised an event in real life too, if we lived closely with other members of the community.

Since bitcoin's inception, crypto communities have see-sawed between cypherpunk attitudes endorsing decentralisation, encryption and anonymity, to the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

There have always been cults based around these binary values; bitcoin maximalism being one of the earliest examples championing the former.

But as the crypto ecosystem grows, communities are becoming more colourful, nuanced and less alienating. You don't need to recite the bitcoin white paper to purchase an Ordinal.

As culture undergoes a virtual rendering, the requirement to have specific technical knowledge is over – whether you work at an investment fund, or have one really gullible friend.

It's really not as perverse as you might think that people buy things they identify with, and now the boundaries for potential identification are becoming much larger, less binary and even more memetic.

Naturally, the speculation induced mania that carried certain tokens like XRP this far, has found a new basket of goodies capable of much greater magnitudes of viral phenomena.

An NFT, a memecoin, or the immediate transfer and perpetuation of a movement, a cultural sign, or pure humour? The TikTok reel's asset class emerges in fine technicolour – and there can never be just one winner.