Daisy Alioto with a drama dispatch from the bleeding fringe of culture.
Last week saw quite the storm in a (NF)Teacup with the launch of FUD Token by BAYC member and gum chewer, tmas.eth. FUD stands for fear, uncertainty and doubt and is basically the NFT community equivalent of bad vibes. Maybe you tell everyone that the NFT art isn’t that good after all or the value is definitely going down over time. It’s like riding on a roller coaster with someone that keeps yelling “we’re going to die!!”
FUD Token is/was monetized FUD. It cost ~$100 to mint and the tokens are worth $12 at the time of writing after the creator encouraged buyers to get it to zero as soon as possible. As conceptual art, it’s not a bad joke, right? Banksy shredded his own work. Piero Manzoni canned his shit. FUD Token is blockchain arte povera! Embrace the absurd!
Well, not exactly. See, some people didn’t know it was a joke because the BAYC avatar brings a sort of blue check status in the NFT world. They saw influencers tweeting about FUD Token and thought it was the next big thing so instead of doing their own research or minting just one they went all in to the tune of 20+ FUD Tokens.
A banana taped to the wall of Art Basel? Hilarious. A banana that represents over half a million dollars of other people’s money? Wayyyy less funny. As you can imagine, controversy ensued. Veiled threats of violence, attempted doxxing and expressions of disappointment from other apes. As for me, I was pretty sure it was a joke but I accidentally minted two so guess what Kyle is getting for Christmas??? I can afford to make an ETH oopsie like that, but not everyone can.
The FUD Token incident raises bigger questions about what it means to have a meme economy.
On Instagram, some of my current favorite accounts are inside jokes. For example, these amazing koala drawings that the artist James Carpenter mails to my friend, Tristan Willey. Willey was 7 when he witnessed a rogue male koala attack a zookeeper and aggressively mate a female koala. Now, he receives evil koala mailings from Carpenter. (I have been following the account for a while, but only got this context when I reached out to Willey about mentioning it in this newsletter...despite the almost 1,000 followers, it still feels delightfully private?)
Then there is Shitty Alimentari Flaneur, brought to my attention by friend of Dirt, Delia Cai. Alimentari Flaneur is a grocery stand and lush caterer that rose to New York media prominence (survey sample size: three) after being featured in Brock Colyer’s party report on Kaitlin Phillips. If all of that is gibberish to you, just picture an edible Dutch still life that also sells tote bags and hats. The shitty version of that, of course, is a single half-eaten croissant.
These accounts give to Instagram for free, but not everything creative should be monetized, a distinction that has been missed in the rush to tokenize well, everything. FUD Token should have been 0 ETH to mint or a token-gated community for people who shitpost, not a joke at the expense of the creator’s supporters. Alternately, it could have been a Twitter space dedicated to screaming. — by Daisy Alioto