Mark the date: August 25, 2021 — the day we finally admit defeat and throw ourselves at the mercy of the Non-Fungible Token gods. We resisted as long as we could, first with vague skepticism, then bemused-but-detached enjoyment, then wholehearted vitriol, but we are now truly awestruck at the movement’s inane, uncanny power. Why? Because this otherwise free clipart drawing of a rock sold on the blockchain for $1.3 million dollars:
One. Point. Three. Million. — The unholy NFT in question is part of a limited, 100-piece series called EtherRock, which first debuted in 2017 (making it one of the earliest known NFTs) but which only recently went viral.
Literally described as “pet rocks on the blockchain,” each EtherRock image is the exact same clipart, each with a slightly different hue. Of course, instead of paying $1.3 million for “EtherRock 42,” you can download the original file right here for free. Go ahead — it’s what we did for the story you are currently reading, because last we checked zero is much less than 1.3 million. You can even tint it whatever goddamn hue you’d like, too. Most likely also for free. We won’t stop you.
“Rocks are about flexing,” says one buyer of an earlier EtherRock, with another owner describing them as digital “caveman paintings” and “really a permanent piece of history.” Those are certainly ways to look at it.
“The more people hate the rock, the more it increases in price,” EtherRock 42’s previous owner, Tom Osman, said. “Expect it to sell for a multiple of this soon.”
Make it stop — Oh, we’ll do much more than simply “expect” this, Tom. We’ll cower in fear as we await the inevitability of EtherRock 42 selling for an even more nauseating amount of cash within the next few months as everyone gets forced onto shitty Amazon healthcare that can only be paid for with PrimeCoin. But you NFT flexers keep doing you while the rest of us look on slackjawwed.