At the time of writing, there are thousands of articles in Google News about brands facing an NFT backlash. Today, Chaosium have suspended their plans for doing any more in response to this growing concern.
NFT (non-fungible tokens) are intended to prove ownership of digital assets which would, in theory, turn digital art and other concepts (like the first-ever tweet) into collectables.
The Call of Cthulhu publisher was an early mover within the tabletop hobby space, striking a deal with the NFT platform Veve and releasing some mythos NFTs.
Increasingly, gamers are concerned that NFTs are unethical and unwise.
Chaosium has explained they were in discussions with Veve, who they believe to be an ethical company, years before, and all artists involved have been paid. The art assets, which sold out in seconds, were original creations for the NFT marketplace.
However, Chaosium also acknowledges growing unhappiness and discomfort about NFTs as more people come to better understand the proposition. They say;
While we address the concerns of the tabletop gaming community we have halted our plans for future NFT releases.
We appreciate that many of our fans are angry and disappointed. We hear you. Your concerns must be listened to and addressed. That is why, in cooperation with TYPE40 and VeVe, we have made the decision outlined above. We do not have another scheduled release on VeVe or any other NFT marketplace. We will never require anyone to own an NFT/digital collectible to enjoy any Chaosium product or game.
While Chaosium is standing by Veve and makes no suggestion that the platform is part of the pyramid scheme, some people describe the NFT boom as they also said they have no plans to do any more.
The concerns around NFTs are complex as NFTs are complex. Gamer and video essayist Folding Ideas has a two-hour-plus video that breaks down the complexity.
At the risk of a horrible summary, there are two core issues;
Firstly, the NFT solution is breakable; people buy pointers to things and can still be broken, copied, or deleted. There are no legal rights to the assets, no protection, just a token in a system (like Veve) that makes a non-fungible claim.
Secondly, the system requires constant power to maintain and therefore comes with an environmental cost while holding no instinct value beyond the chance of someone else coming along with the willingness to buy the NFT from the current holder.
What do you think? Measured observations are welcome and you can leave them in the comment section below.