What is an NFT explained in a somewhat delirious but quite correct way thanks to the Mona Lisa

I’ve seen this and I think it’s great. It is the somewhat delirious but quite correct explanation given by QueerSamus to Jacobgalapagos of what a NFT is using the Mona Lisa as an example. Bold with mine:

Imagine you go up to where the Mona Lisa is and say “I’d like to own this” and someone walking around says “give me $65 million and I’ll burn an unspecified amount of Amazon rainforest to give you this bill of sale”. So you pay him and he says “here’s your receipt, thank you for your purchase”. And right away he goes to an unmarked supply closet in the back of the museum and keeps a handmade label there, behind the brooms, that says “the smooth monkey is currently the property of Jacobgalapagos”. So if someone wants to know whose it is, they would have to find this specific cabinet in this specific hallway and look behind the right brooms.

Then you say “can I take the Mona Lisa home now?” and he replies “oh god no, are you stupid, you only bought the receipt that says you own it, you didn’t buy the Mona Lisa itself, you can’t take the actual plain monkey, you idiot. But you can take this.” And he gives you a replica printed on a cardboard tube of the kind sold in the gift store. Also, the person selling you the sales receipt has never owned the Mona Lisa.

Unfortunately, if this doesn’t seem to make sense nor does it seem like any logical person would be satisfied with this exchange, then you’ve got it exactly right.

The thing about whoever makes the sale not having ownership of the original sometimes happens, but not always; it’s perfectly possible that it is. And it’s possible that he’s getting a mind-blowing amount of money, like “Disaster Girl” got $500,000 for a NFT of her famous photo. Even if she is selling something born in digital, not like the Mona Lisa. But otherwise the explanation seems to me very good.

Anyway, for a more detailed explanation of all this, let me recommend you The Fascinating NFT Bubble, an annotation I wrote a few weeks ago.

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