Nonfungible Tokens and Me

A Clear Case of I Don't Know What I'm Writing About


Yes, the subject is nonfungible tokens — NFTs for those in the cryptocurrency know. Of course, Luddite me is hardly in the cryptocurrency know. But stick with me, dear middle-aged muddlers. This blog promises to be pretty funny.

To begin: Last week, The New York Times, in a historic first, auctioned one of its columns via NFTs as a way to explain the NFT market.

Now, of course, like any reasonable middle-aged muddler, you’re asking what the heck is an NFT? OK., that’s the part I’m shaky on. According to The Times, they are “the hottest craze in the cryptocurrency world.” Clear now?

To elucidate how NFTs work, Times reporter Kevin Roose auctioned his column on the NFT market and then published the name (along with a photo) of the highest bidder in a subsequent story. The proceeds of the auction would go to the newspaper’s charitable Neediest Cases Fund. As a bonus, Michael Barbaro, the host of The Times podcast, “The Daily,” would provide a voice message for the winner — I presume for his/her smartphone.

Well, I read the article about the auction three times, but still had zero comprehension what NFTs were and how they worked. However, I did 100% understand self-promotion and publicity. And the thought of getting my name and photo in The New York Times sent me into a tailspin of breathless emotion and plotting.

I asked Handsome Hubby if I could bid.

“Sure,” he said. Then he looked up (from the newspaper, of course) and said, “Huh? Bid on what?”

I should have walked away quicker. Rats!

Like a wise man once said, “If you’re explaining, you’re losing.”

I explained.

“Hum,” HH said. “Do you even understand what you’re bidding on?”

“Sure,” I lied.

“No, you don’t. Why do you even want to do this?”

“It would be great publicity for my writing,” I said breathlessly.

“True, but …”

“Oh, come on,” I said impatiently. “I’ll use MY money.”

“You have a separate, secret bank account?”

“No, I mean, I just really want to do this,” I replied, my voice reaching a desperate high pitch.

“What’s the starting bid and how much is this worth to you?

“Starting bid — $850 and well, I guess I’d go up to $5,000.”

“Five-thousand-dollars, really? HH’s voice also went up in pitch. Then, he paused, calmed down, and added gently, “Sweetheart, it will sell for thousands and thousands of dollars more than that.”

I stomped out of the room in despair.

HH, of course, was right. The winning bid was $560,000.


For what, you ask, other than your name in The New York Times and someone of note answering your phone?

I’ll do my best to explain it: Having an NFT of this historic first-ever auctioned Times column is like owning a signed first edition copy of Catcher in the Rye, only without being able to take it from your shelf or turn the pages.

But, as I said, for me, it was all about getting my name in my beloved sacred NYT. I cared naught for the historic implications of the NFT-auctioned column or for making the charitable donation! I just want to be in The New York Times!

But, slammed down to reality by HH, I never placed a bid.

So, now I’m going to have to wait to die to see my name and photo in the paper — in a paid obituary notice. Of course, that won’t cost the family near as much money as an NFT bid. And who knows? In the cruelest irony of all, maybe by then, my family will pay for my obit with NFTs!


Meanwhile, if you’re still curious/mystified as to what the heck NFTs are, Saturday Night Live took a musical turn at trying to explain them this past weekend.

And for a more serious spin on the subject and also, for an explanation of this week’s image, entitled “The Associated Press calls the 2020 Presidential Election on Blockchain—A View from Outer Space” which was the first NFT artwork sold — for almost $70 million — read here.

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