We Try (and Fail) to Make An NFT

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A dive into the world of non-fungible tokens reveals what’s real in the world.

It seemed like a simple enough idea at the time: let’s make an NFT. Thirty seconds of google quickly told me it was never going to be a reality- a real NFT is bound to a piece of cryptocurrency called etherem that as of the moment of this sentence being written has a value of $3,119.61 US dollars. But it felt like it would be a fun article to document this haphazard attempt by a group of woodworkers that is generally out of touch with the digital realm.

I’m sure the first question most of you are have is “what the heck is an NFT?”

Here’s an article if you want to get more technical, but basically it’s an image (often a cartoon monkey) that has allegedly great value because it is the only one of its type in the world. It’s probably just a front for money laundering, but they’re wildly popular right now for reasons that I can’t discern. Still, all of this got me thinking recently- isn’t it time that Popular Woodworking got in on the NFT craze?

After my 30-second search proved the futility of my original quest, I sat down to write a fictitious account of what would have been. However, I’m not a fan of half-assing things. If I was going to write this, I wanted one foot in the truth, and to hopefully educate our readers a bit as well. And that’s where I started to get myself in trouble.

See, I have a bad habit of absorbing as much knowledge about a topic as possible, going down the rabbit hole until I have at least a tenuous grasp of what I’m talking about in a casual conversation. NFTs aren’t a rabbit hole though, they’re a bottomless pit. First I broke down the acronym (non-fungible token), then the definition of those words, and finally tried to explain the whole concept in plain English. That final part is where it got weird. Because there’s something involving blockchain, and minting, and apparently you can actually make an NFT for free, but only in certain situations (and possibly only in international waters).

I could feel the pressure building behind my eyes as my brain struggled with this herculean task, so I leaned back in my chair to take a short break. I glanced at the clock… and realized that an entire hour had passed. An hour of my life, gone in a blink and I had learned nothing. That was when I had a bit of a realization: my original impression that NFTs were pointless and dumb was 100% correct. So I closed all my tabs, deleted the rough draft I had started, and went out to the garage to do some woodworking.

Now I did end up coming full circle and writing that article (obviously). But it wasn’t the original spoof I was planning on. No, the world of NFTs really did defeat me that day, but that’s ok! When I went out to the garage, I decided to make some personalized keepsake boxes for my kids for Christmas. In 50 years those NFTs will be ones and zeros scattered across the digital realm, but those small wooden boxes, made by hand, will still be a cherished part of their lives. And that is something worth much more.


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