Why shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a digital image when you can just download it for free?
That’s the message behind a new site that has made thousands of non-fungible tokens — or NFTs — available to download for free. Paying homage to torrent site The Pirate Bay, the NFT Bay has assembled a vast collection of images of NFTs in a bid to show the absurdity of the digital art craze.
Proponents of NFTs the one-of-a-kind, verifiable digital assets that traded on blockchain technology are innovative ways to trade digital images and allow artists to cash in on their work.
But critics argue that, at the end of the day, they’re just images on screens surrounded by a culture of “get rich quick” schemes and scamming.
“What people are buying when purchasing NFT art right now is nothing more then directions on how to access or download an image,” said Geoffrey Huntley, the nomadic Australian artist behind the site, which he calls an “educational art project.”
The NFT Bay contains 17 terabytes worth of NFTs that equate to billions of dollars in sales, according to its founder.
The project comes after a series of NFT-related scams.
In one September incident, an employee at the $1.5 billion Mark Cuban-backed NFT marketplace OpenSea was busted buying certain digital art pieces just before they were about to be displayed on the marketplace’s homepage, boosting their value.
And in October, investors spent millions on a series of “Evolved Ape” NFTs by an anonymous developer that suddenly disappeared with $2.7 million worth of crypto, Vice reported in October.
“The greed/scamming going on is sickening,” said Huntley.
On Twitter, NFT critics praised the project.
“More than anything else I’ve seen or read, this torrent may finally disabuse anyone of the notion that NFTs have inherent value,” wrote one user.
“Sell your NFTs everyone; the party is O V E R !” said another.