For many of us, this kind of expense is unfeasible and we do not really understand the interest. A person, whose identity has not been revealed, paid the equivalent of 650,000 dollars (570,000 €) to buy a virtual yacht, reports Hypebeast , a digital media based in Hong Kong. The purchase was made in ether , the world’s second largest cryptocurrency behind bitcoin .
The first purchases, as disconcerting as they are expensive, arrive in the digital universe of the metaverse . In this virtual world, all sorts of objects that could be described as imaginary, since they only have a digital existence, are available for sale: this ranges from a simple pair of socks to a yacht, so … The user who has acquired this virtual yacht will of course never be able to navigate it, at least not physically. The boat does not exist in the real world, it is only present in a virtual universe called The Sandbox.
According to the specialized media which relayed the information, this famous boat is the most expensive virtual object on the platform. It is made up of four floors with lounges, a jacuzzi, a dance floor, a DJ booth and two helipads. By discovering the images (see the video below) , you will probably not be really captivated, because we are far from the luxury that we imagine a priori for a ship of this category. There, for any neophyte of the virtual universe, it is only a heap of pixels quickly assembled like in a bad video game.
NFT is an English acronym meaning non-fungible token , literally “non-fungible token”. To try to make it simple, an NFT designates any virtual object (video, animated image, piece of music, etc.) to which a certificate of authenticity is associated. It is therefore a computer file, certifying that it is an original and not a copy. This certificate guarantees to the holder of an NFT that his “work” or his “property” cannot be copied, replicated or pirated. This technology makes it possible to make a digital file unique, without possible falsification, but without giving access to any copyrights.
Almost everything on the internet is potentially purchasable in this form. The founder of Twitter , Jack Dorsey , himself a fan of cryptocurrencies, recently put his very first tweet up for sale, which dates from March 21, 2006. Estimated value of this NFT “object”: at least 2 million euros.
Another type of content perfectly reflects this trend: memes . These amusing, ironic, sometimes absurd images that are sweeping the web. Some have become cult, such as the famous “Nyan cat”, this little cat riding a rainbow, sold for nearly €500,000 in February 2021.
But what’s the point?
Some buyers view NFTs as a pure investment, in a highly speculative market. But others detect a real artistic sense in the movement, and start collecting them.
“What is disturbing is that the work exists outside of its physical medium. It is popular for reasons other than aesthetics,” explained Ingrid-Mery Haziot , a lawyer specializing in digital technology at Avant-garde Avocats. Obviously, not everything is “monetizable”. “What creates value is scarcity. Having the very first version of remarkable digital content, a bit like an autograph,” she pointed out.