The Irish Film Fund Guide to: De-stigmatising blockchain technology

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Kevin Smith’s “Killroy was Here” NFT dropped on July 12th and I was surprised to see multiple comments on his Twitter, @ThatKevinSmith, angrily condemning him for getting involved with NFTs. Some of his “fans” even swore to never watch another of his movies, and renounced him forever for getting involved in the “ponzi scheme” known as crypto.

Just skimming over the comments it was obvious these people didn’t know what they were talking about. The Killroy was Here NFTs are a way to bridge the gap between an established filmmaker and up-and-coming filmmakers. Holders of the NFT have the creative rights to use their Killroy character on anything they want from merch to movies. It’s kind of like opening a filmmaking franchise, Killroy NFT holders are the franchisees but they can also add to the main story by filming a short movie with their Killroy character and submitting it to be included into the next Killroy anthology. It’s a NFT for filmmakers, by a filmmaker. But some people were wilfully misunderstanding the aims and purposes of the project.

Having happily bought a Killroy is Here NFT because I wanted to support a innovative film3 project, and I wanted to have the rights to the character so I could make a short horror with it. I posted the NFT I minted, this one:

Handsome Killroy (do not right-click-save)

One of his former fans copied the image of the NFT I had just minted and posted as a comment saying “You mean WE got OURS”, with the implication being that his right-click-saving the jpeg was all that was necessary to duplicate the NFT and all the associated rights, and access it grants. This casual ignorance on top of the name calling towards Kevin Smith for embracing new technology and distribution methods made me uncharacteristically respond to some of the comments.

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I replied to the “co-owner” of my NFT and read his criticisms of NFTs and blockchain technology and saw his same un-founded criticisms echoed in other ill-informed comments being fired at Silent Bob.

The issues raised by these former Kevin-Smith affionadoes (but failed to defend) were:

Anyone can copy the “jpeg”:

The NFT is actually a piece of code, like a hyperlink, that contains all the programmed information. The image, video, sound, or whatever else that’s displayed is only part of the NFT. If you took your right-clicked-saved jpeg to it’s not going to give you access to “My Collection” because you need the actual NFT in your wallet to gain access to read the script and watch the movie. The whole idea if NFTs is to allow “digital ownership” it’s not the same as sharing a jpeg, which really isn’t sharing but copying. That’s the difference between web2 and web3. NFT’s are minted on a blockchain and their information is stored there, so no one can simply right-click-save it. Each NFT is timestamped and immutable, and contains a “Policy ID”, if the policy ID is legit, then the NFT is not legit.

Bad for the environment:

There’s two main blockchain technologies, proof of work and proof of stake. Bitcoin and Ethereum are proof of work and do require excessive amounts of computing power. Bitcoin doesn’t natively support NFTs, and Ethereum is transitioning to a proof of stake model which uses 99.95% less electricity. Nearly everything humans do is bad for the environment, the processing power, cloud storage and bandwidth needed to stream cat videos everyday is equally bad for the environment.

The only thing people can do is reduce the energy like they are using by moving to proof of stake, and offsetting the carbon like more and more companies are doing.

Ponzi Scheme:

A classic ponzi scheme works by taking money from new investors to pay the rewards for existing ones, which leads to a untenable need for new investors and eventually the scheme implodes.

A crypto project is built by a small team, builds a user base, and attracts more users/investors because they want to use the project or speculate that the token/coin will increase in value. It’s simple supply and demand. Most tokens have a finite amount so if 4x the number of people want to have Bitcoin than the year before it’s going to increase the value.

There has been a lot of infamous crypto ponzi schemes (Bitconnect, anything with Moon in the name)and there will continue to be crypto ponzi schemes, because it’s an easy scam that takes advantage of new crypto users who fall for the incredibly high APY and promises of “safe” returns on their investment, for products that don’t do anything but give high APYs.

More than a little suspicious…

Blockchain tech not needed, a website could do the same:

Certainly some websites could do the tasks undertaken by blockchain technology, but do you trust them to? That’s the big difference, if a website takes a vote and spits out the results you have to take them at face value. If a web3 project like Decentralized Pictures runs a vote, each vote gets written to the blockchain, and resides there as an immutable fact. You can use the explorer to search for them, and double check everything is kosher. I don’t know any website that allows you to do that, and even if a centralized one did, I wouldn’t it trust it to be telling me the truth.

It’s sad to see fans have this reaction to NFTs because more and more creators are embracing NFTs as a way to distribute their work. For creators the NFT route means more control, more connection with fans, the ability to reward fans for being fans, ongoing royalties through a built in royalty fee every time an NFT is resold, and many other benefits that are still being explored and developed. If you love music do you want to see your favourite musicians earn the lion’s share from their work, or Spotify?

Creatives have had the short end of the financial stick for too long, and if there is a technology that can even things out a little in their benefit, then they should be allowed to explore it.

Two great videos from TED to learn more about blockchain technology and NFTs are:

I hope this clears a few things up. Any comments or questions drop them here.

About the Irish Film Fund:

We are a node on the Decentralized Pictures blockchain aiming to promote and produce Irish projects.

Check us out here:

About Decentralized Pictures:

Decentralized Pictures is a 501(c)3 non-profit working hard to build a “virtual film studio” their first web3 app is a financing app where filmmakers can apply for financial awards along with career and project guidance from established industry experts. They use web3 tech to ensure voting on projects is accurate and open. Their token $FILM is trading now on Bitmart.

Find out more about them here:

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