Maybe the very best factor to return from this yr’s widespread adoption of the time period “Non-Fungible Token” (NFT) is bigger public consolation with the phrase “fungible.” What a wonderfully cromulent phrase, fungible, even when it feels like a foot powder.
Now, dictionary-maker Collins has picked NFT as its “phrase of the yr” for 2021, largely as a result of persons are making SRS $$$ from the blockchain-based tech. A kind of individuals is in fact the artist who goes by “Beeple”; his assortment of 5,000+ on a regular basis digital artwork items went for $69 million earlier this yr, which each subsequent article on NFTs has been required to say. This sale made Beeple one of many best-paid artists on earth. The New York Occasions did not love this, arguing that the gross-out and meme-based imagery of a lot of Beeple’s work was puerile. Additionally, Beeple “struggles with flesh; as in lots of video video games, the skins seem waxy and desiccated. It’s as if each remaining human on this cryptouniverse has scurvy, although perhaps that’s what occurs whenever you subordinate your flesh to the display screen.” Yikes. Whereas I agree that this was a fairly dumb solution to spend $69 million, NFTs positively have utility; for example, simply think about how a lot enjoyable it will be to purchase this critic an NFT of a high-quality “OK Boomer” meme?
As for what NFTs really are, my clarification would most likely get misplaced in a rant about power effectivity and the character of originality within the digital age. Earlier than you understand it, I, too, can be banging on about “scurvy.” So I will let Collins try to explain things:
Collins defines [NFT] as “a singular digital certificates, registered in a blockchain, that’s used to document possession of an asset similar to an art work or a collectible.” In different phrases, it’s a bit of digital knowledge that data who a chunk of digital work belongs to. “Distinctive” is necessary right here — it’s a one-off, not “fungible” or replaceable by another piece of knowledge. And what’s actually captured the general public’s creativeness round NFTs is using this know-how to promote artwork. For instance, the rights to a piece by the surrealist digital artist Beeple bought at Christie’s in March for $69m. Referred to as EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS, it was a collage of all the pictures he’d created since he dedicated in 2007 to creating one day by day.
See what I imply? There’s Beeple once more.
NFTs may be divisive—do they liberate artists by offering new enterprise fashions or are they only one other cash pit, the Pets.com (1998-2000, RIP) of our time? However I believe we are able to all be grateful that “NFT” beat out “cheugy,” a phrase so ephemeral that I’ve already forgotten what it means.
As for the marginally extra staid Oxford College Press, its word of the year was “vax.” Simply take a look at this utilization chart, which resembles a graph of COVID instances in its forceful upward movement this yr:
So if you happen to do not need to be cheugy this Thanksgiving, add “vax” and “NFT” to your word-hoards, fellow language lovers. And please be part of me on my quest to make 2022’s adjective of the yr “post-pandemic.”