The world is only just starting to understand the potential of NFTs, but that hasn't stopped communities from fully running with the technology. In contrast to traditional businesses that launch technological platforms to exploit its employees and monetize its users, the NFT space is much more dynamic, organic, and open, enabling individuals anywhere to mint and sell their own NFTs.
That doesn't mean NFTs are being used in the most practical or productive ways. The NFTs that grab headlines are usually so ridiculous that it's hard to take them seriously. But it's precisely this weirdness that makes NFTs extra special.
From a sex tape to an actual human arm, the NFTs listed below are among the most outrageous minted so far. They might exemplify how ridiculous humans can be in the foggy haze of unbridled speculation, but these NFTs also help us conceptualize new ways of understanding digital ownership and value, while exposing just how absurd we’ve always been.
Getting Married with NFTs
We've heard of consensus mechanisms like Proof of Work and Proof of Stake. But what about Proof of Commitment? In March, two employees from Coinbase — Rebecca Rose and Peter Kacherginsky — proved their commitment to one another by committing their marriage to the blockchain. Under a smart contract written by the groom, the two used NFT technology to symbolize their marriage.
"As part of the ceremony we exchanged #NFTs, much like rings, by sending them to each other from our #cryptocurrency wallets," tweeted Rose. The exchange of these virtual NFT rings is now stored permanently on the blockchain, forever serving as a reminder of their commitment to one another. Will Rebecca and Peter take the logical next step and be the first to divorce on the blockchain, too? We'll see .
Rug Pull NFTs by Neitherconfirm
Everyone loves a good rug pull. That's why naive idiots everywhere willingly chose to get wrecked. Thankfully, crypto artist Neitherconfirm understands how awesome rug pulls are too and incorporated the concept into 26 art NFTs on OpenSea's marketplace. Rather than removing liquidity on a shitcoin as per crypto tradition, Neitherconfirm swapped the original NFT images — stained-glass style digital art of crypto proponents like Zhu Su, Cobie, Hsaka, and others — with photos of actual rugs.
"What is the meaning of creating an unforgeable token on a highly secured network if somebody can alter, relink or destroy your possession?" tweeted Neitherconfirm. "As long as the value of your artwork is reliable on a central service you do not own anything." In the end, Neitherconfirm donated 51% of the profits from the sale of these NFTs to Coin Center, a nonprofit focused on policy issues surrounding cryptocurrencies.
An NFT of Farts by Alex Ramírez-Mallis
Absurdity is one of the most effective ways to simultaneously reveal and subvert cultural constructions, so it is no surprise that the art world is constantly being trolled by absurd NFTs. One of the more notable subversions of the art world came from Brooklyn-based film director Alex Ramírez-Mallis. Titled "One Calendar Year of Recorded Farts."
The NFT consists of a 52-minute MP3 compilation of farts shared between Ramírez-Mallis and his friends on WhatsApp for a full year during quarantine. "The NFT craze is absurd — this idea of putting a value on something inherently intangible,” said Ramírez-Mallis to the New York Post [https://nypost.com/2021/03/18/nyc-man-sells-fart-for-85-cashing-in-on-nft-craze]. "I'm hoping these NFT farts can at once critique [the absurdity], make people laugh and make me rich."
A Sex Tape NFT by Azealia Banks
Earlier this year, rapper Azealia Banks posed some thought-provoking questions for her Twitter fans. "Can someone please do something outrageous with this NFT shit? Absolutely none of y'all have the balls to actually fuck. Can I see some ass and tiddies in this bitch? Where is the cock and balls?" Taking matters into her own bed, Azealia Banks soon after minted a sex tape NFT titled "I Fucked Ryder Ripps."
While the hornball who bought it for 10 ETH didn't get to actually see any ass, "tiddies," cock, or even balls, the individual did get to hear Azealia and her boyfriend Ryder Ripps having sex for 24 minutes and 22 seconds, both as a WAV file and as a signed vinyl record in an edition of 1. With porn-friendly names like Azealia Banks and Ryder Ripps, you know it was worth every gwei.
Fyre Festival Cheese Sandwich NFT
It's no surprise that one of the two co-founders of Fyre Festival, the fraudulent luxury music festival from 2017, is revolutionizing how to capitalize on embarrassing cultural moments. First, Fyre founder and rapper Ja Rule inaugurated his NFT platform Flipkick by selling a physical painting of Fyre Festival's logo by Tripp Derrick Barnes as an NFT for $122,000.
Soon after, Flipkick was selling a Fyre-related tweet by photographer Trevor DeHaas, whose photo of a pathetic cheese sandwich + salad dinner — ostensibly the A-grade meal promised to festgoers — went viral during the festival's highly publicized fallout. Thankfully, the NFT sale wasn’t a total cash grab: proceeds from the $80,000 sale went to the medical expenses for DeHaas's dialysis treatment and kidney transplant, which IMO makes Ja Rule's role in defrauding investors and ticket holders of Fyre Festival totally OK.
An NFT of a Pro Tennis Player's Arm
Earlier this year, Croatian tennis player Oleksandra Oliynykova caused quite the racket by selling a portion of her body as an NFT . The professional athlete offered lifetime rights to the inside of her upper arm, in which the token holder can do what they please with it.
Of course, the winning bidder could very well leave her arm blank and resell the NFT, but Oliynykova is expecting a tattoo or body art, as long as it's not racist, extreme, or related to gambling. “But what would her father think??” Don’t worry — he helped come up with the idea!
An NFT that creates new NFTs
Some of the best art plays with the medium through which it is created or disseminated. REPLICATOR is one such artwork. Created by cyberpunk artist Mad Dog Jones (a.k.a. Michah Dowbak), REPLICATOR is a multi-generational NFT that automatically creates new NFT art. Utilizing a smart contract to first automate a self-generating Genesis piece, REPLICATOR then proceeds to create new, discrete NFTs every 28 days for roughly one year.
"REPLICATOR is the story of a machine through time," said Mad Dog Jones. "It is a reflection on forms of past groundbreaking innovation and serves as a metaphor for modern technology's continuum. I'm interested to see how collectors will respond as the work evolves and the NFTs in their possession continue to create new generations." REPLICATOR ended up selling for $4,144,000.
Here’s To A Weird NFT Future
The examples above are just a small sampling of the bizarre creativity coming from the NFT space. But whether it's a Jack Dorsey tweet , a single pixel for sale, or Beeple's widely reported $69 million haul , the absurdity of the latest NFT craze was the best and perhaps only way to bait mainstream media into covering the space. It's hard to predict if more practical use cases will be coming soon or years down the line, but let's hope the weirdness is here to stay.