NFTs: Becoming What You Sought To Destroy


Art has always been a part of society, and now, an even bigger part with the whole NFT craze, and even bigger when you realize artists’ works are being stolen to profit off of NFTs.

Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs have been rising in popularity as of late. They’re a series of randomized generated images that cost a hefty fortune in crypto-currencies, more akin to dress-up games, but without the ability to choose and make your own avatar, and for an insanely hefty price. 

Setting aside the argument of… aestheticism and beauty in these so-called art pieces, this not only is harmful to the environment, but to actual artists who want to be able to grow and gain more money for their works.

Originally, NFTs started out as monetized graphics, back in 2014, meant to be able to protect artists’ works by having an original backed up on a blockchain with official credits, so that it would be easy to determine a fake from the original. “But once you leave aside the technical details of NFTs, putting artworks on the blockchain is like listing them in an auction catalog. It adds a measure of certainty about the work being considered…Being able to separate an artist’s initial creation from mere copies confers power”, says Anil Dash in an article in the Atlantic

This, however, is far from the truth in today’s time. Many artists’ works have been stolen and uploaded as NFTs, meaning people who aren’t the original artist, are profiting off of stolen work, earning way much more than the actual artist would’ve been getting.

One of the most blatant and even disgusting examples of this happening is of someone impersonating late artist Qing Han, or better known as qinni. She was a well-respected and popular artist with beautiful works based on her emotions and her own experiences. However, apparently respect for the dearly parted isn’t in this person’s morals, as someone has decided to steal all of Qing Han’s beautiful artwork, pose as her, and sell her art as ridiculously expensive NFTs.

One of Qing Han’s more popular artworksIn April 2021, barely a year after her death, Ze’s classmate let him know that someone was stealing his sister’s identity to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of her artwork.” a Wired article writes. The NFT craze has almost purely been for crypto-monetary gain, and a profitable avenue for scammers and art thieves. 

Nowadays, people need to be extremely careful when scrounging the internet. Even if you really just want an NFT just to say you bought art, try to be careful, not just for you but also any artists you may recognize that have had their art stolen and sold off as NFTs. We need to, as consumers and- if you’re an artist- as artists, find more ways to protect artworks and prevent scummy people from taking what’s not theirs to profit off of it, because NFTs as they are now, aren’t cutting it, and frankly, are making it worse.