The Future Of Sports Can Be Changed By NFTs, Virtual Reality, And DAOs

from the it's-not-such-a-crazy-thought dept

One of the hottest gifts in Wisconsin over the holiday season was Packers “common stock,” allowing fans who buy in to hold a small percentage of ownership in the NFL franchise. The Packers are selling 300,000 shares of the stock priced at $300 to raise money for stadium improvements at Lambeau Field and sold more than 100,000 in the first week alone. Many are skeptical of why fans are spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on shares that, by rule, cannot provide them with any financial benefit. You can find an explanation by looking at a seemingly unrelated technology: non-fungible tokens. An examination of the market for NFTs not only provides insight into the “common stock” phenomenon, but may also provide a glimpse at a different future for how we support and even participate in the decision-making process of our favorite sports teams.

Packers Stock as an NFT

The Packers ownership structure is unique in the National Football League. The NFL has rules requiring that franchises be owned by an individual or a small group of owners. The Packers have an exemption to this rule, as the team has been owned by stockholders since 1923 when it sold shares of the organization to keep the team financially solvent and located in Green Bay. Stockholders were prevented from selling their shares to anyone but the team for a fraction of the purchase price in order to prevent the team from being sold to an individual and then moved to a larger market. The Packers held similar stock sales in 1935 and 1950.

After financially stabilizing the team, further stock sales were held in 1997 and 2011 to fund additions and redevelopment to their stadium. Previous stockholders were given large splits, essentially guaranteeing that they had an outsized role in leadership decisions of the franchise.

Shares sold in 1997, 2011, and 2021 provide minimal benefits to those who purchase them. They provide a uniquely numbered ownership certificate, the ability to purchase owners-only merchandise, an invite to the annual owners meeting, and votes to decide Green Bay's board of directors and a seven-member executive committee that represents the team at league meetings. The maximum number of shares an individual can purchase is 200, and stock cannot be resold and may only be transferred to immediate family members.

Still, despite minimal benefits and the heavy restrictions, these sales have been enormously popular, with the offerings raising $24 million in 1997, $64 million in 2011, and a projected $90 million this time around. Today there are approximately 361,300 stockholders, including myself, who hold roughly 5 million shares.

So what does Packers stock have to do with NFTs?

NFTs face much of the same criticism as Packers stock. Created to provide scarcity to digital art and other online goods, the NFT market has increased rapidly in scope with many NFTs selling for millions of dollars in cryptocurrency. Many see NFTs as nothing but a scam on unsuspecting customers as NFTs provide little to no tangible benefit to those who purchase them — just like Packers stock.

But people who buy Packers stock or NFTs seem to value these commodities for the same reason. Packers fans are proud of their team's ownership structure and want to display the part they play in keeping the Packers a fan-owned team. And as Techdirt's own Mike Masnick recently noted in a podcast, owning NFTs is also a way to prove fandom. While NFTs do not grant a copyright on an image, the blockchain does provide a proof of ownership of the NFT for all to see.

Both provide a kind of status symbol of fandom for those interested in the industry to view.

While Packers stock shares traits with NFTs, it lags behind as the process of sending the stocks and verifying who owns them remains offline. Likewise NFTs have yet to contemplate what role they might play in sports beyond providing ownership of sports moments such as NBA Top Shot. The following will provide some ways in which these models might converge to bring both different experiences to fans and even provide for a decentralized governance model for sports team ownership.

Stock and NFTs as Fandom

Without a doubt, the most popular use of Packers stock isn't attending the owners meeting or voting on the future of the team; it's displaying the certificate of your share in your home or office. Many fans own stock from each of the major sales to display together and prove their extreme Packers fandom. In this way, Packers stock is most similar to NFTs, though the digital nature of NFTs lets them be displayed to the whole world rather than just those who can physically see the stock (photos posted on the internet notwithstanding).

There is no reason a marriage of the physical and digital couldn't take place with Packers stock, or other forms of fan involvement.

Some of the most obvious venues are social media platforms like Twitter, which is working on integrating NFTs into the user experience. Fans of teams are often incredibly vocal on Twitter, and sometimes that gives them the chance to interact with players and other professionals on their favorite teams. If stock ownership could be converted into an NFT to be displayed on a Twitter profile, similar to the much desired blue checkmark, an owner's praise or criticism of their team might carry extra weight. At any rate, making the stock verifiable and compatible for digital display would certainly make ownership more valuable.

Still, stock ownership of a professional sports team only applies to one major American sports team. There is no reason, however, the same principle couldn't be applied to other ways of proving fandom. Many fans have season tickets which could easily come with an NFT recognizing the fan as a season ticket holder. For that matter, there is no reason a team couldn't simply sell “fandom” NFTs serving a similar purpose.

Proof of fandom and displaying of NFTs certainly provides some promise, but there is far more that can be done to enhance the fan experience.

As previously noted, one of the benefits of owning Packers common stock is a yearly invite to attend the owners meeting in Green Bay. While the event is well attended, nowhere close to the more than 3 million shareholders attend the event. The fact that I live more than 1,000 miles away prevents me from attending the meeting in any meaningful fashion.

But virtual reality spaces could provide an opportunity for that “in-person experience” at the owners meeting without the need for travel. I could interact with fellow owners in specific rooms, attend panels or keynotes about the future of the franchise, and even take virtual tours of the new facilities or additions.

Once again, this concept need not be limited to NFTs denoting stock ownership. As a season ticket holder to the New Orleans Pelicans, I was invited to a private event with the team’s head coach, but I was unable to attend in person. If my season ticket purchase had come with an NFT that granted me access to such events in virtual reality, not only would I be a happier fan, but I’d also be willing to pay more for the season tickets rather than just purchasing them on a game to game basis. (Interestingly enough, due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, this event was held via video call)

There are any number of similar benefits that could be available to team shareholders, season ticket holders, or fandom NFT owners on social media or virtual reality. Events on Twitter Spaces could be available exclusively to those with the correct NFT. Virtual reality could host any number of events, such as an owners-only viewing party of a game, or access to exclusive opportunities to meet and talk to players and coaches. Like the physical merchandise only available to Packers shareholders, digital goods could be made exclusively available to certain fans.

There is little doubt that NFTs will continue to be intertwined with sports fandom for some time to come, but the potential for better fan benefits has only just started to be tapped.

NFTs as a Decentralized Ownership Model

NFTs’ capacity to showcase fandom is one thing, but what if they also offered fans the opportunity to have a real say in the future of the sports franchise they love?

As previously noted, one of the benefits of Packers common stock ownership is voting rights on the future of the team. With the cap of 200 stocks per person and the generous split offered to owners of the first three stock sales, the average fan is unlikely to cast the deciding vote in any decision, nor are they allowed to vote on big decisions such as firing and hiring of the general manager.

Nonetheless, marginal voting rights are still more powerful than the average sports fan has in making decisions about the team. They also prevent a single owner from having an outsized role in the future of the franchise. This is why so many fans of teams that have had little success often complain about bad ownership more than the players on the field. The Packers have been able to avoid this fate, and the lack of centralized ownership likely plays an important role in the team’s success throughout its history.

There are even some ancillary benefits to this model. For example, the Packers are the only NFL team to publicly report their financial status, giving fans of every team a glimpse into the rest of the league’s finances. This provides substantial benefit to fans and politicians when NFL owners come crying to politicians about needing taxpayers to pay for a new stadium.

But there is no reason the basic Packers structure couldn’t be updated for the digital age to allow fans to have a greater say in their favorite team. While the NFL has banned any other franchise from operating in this capacity (after all, what are professional sport leagues but cartels to enrich existing team owners), start-up leagues could borrow from this model. Furthermore, they already have a decentralized system for which to test this model of decision-making.

Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAOs) could provide a vehicle for future ownership or decision-making for sports teams. DAOs are built with smart contracts, which are self-enforcing digital arrangements. A good way to visualize a smart contract is a vending machine. The contract is fulfilled when a user inserts the right amount of money and the correct item is automatically dispensed to the purchaser. In the DAO space, it would be inserting the correct NFT or other digital token in order to vote.

A recent example of democratic governance within a DAO was the Constitution DAO, where a group of people wanted to bid on purchasing one of the 13 remaining original copies of the U.S. Constitution. The donors of the project, who donated in Ethereum, were granted the ability to vote on what to do with the Constitution if they won it. Over $40 million worth of Ethereum was donated, though the bid ultimately proved to be unsuccessful. While deciding what to do with a document isn’t as complicated as running a professional sports franchise, it certainly provides some proof that large amounts of funds can be raised in a DAO.

While it might be impractical to put every decision of the team up to a disbursed number of owners, large decisions like a vote of confidence in the general manager or head coach could very well be possible.

The NFL or another major sports league would prove a poor test case for this structure of sports ownership, at least initially due to the size and scope of the organization as well as the rules governing operation. But there are any number of other smaller sports leagues where this could be tested.

The United States Football League, a league which previously competed against the NFL in the 1980s and even won an antitrust court case against the league, is planning a relaunch in 2022. Unlike the NFL, it is expected that the new USFL will operate as a single entity with all teams owned by the league. But instead of simply expecting fans to attend and watch games, what if the league offered them a real chance of ownership of the team by selling stock in teams as a form of NFT?

This ownership of the team could be used in any number of ways. Fan ownership of the team might be a way to give people a stake in their team and create loyalty with a new franchise. The league could even decide where to put teams by letting “owners” vote on where teams should be located. If the residents of New Orleans purchased stock NFTs of the New Orleans Breakers team and voted to move the team to New Orleans, the league might feel better about their location decision. What better way to prove a particular city has interest in supporting another sports franchise than by having citizens literally be invested in the team?

Additionally, without previous governing arrangements, these franchises could put far more decision-making power into owners. Everything from the large decisions like hiring or firing of general manager and head coach to choosing a starting quarterback, or smaller ideas like selecting a mascot, could be run through a vote of the DAO.

Decentralized ownership provides a few benefits beyond greater fan involvement. The dispersed ownership structure of the Packers can help prevent a bad owner from making bad decisions causing the franchise to suffer. A DAO could rather easily prevent an individual or group of individuals from amassing too much power. Just ask Washington Football Team fans how they feel about Dan Snyder. Additionally, it would prevent the problem of general fan polling, where teams end up with mascots like Dogey McDogeface—presumably, fans invested in the team would like to see it succeed.

This model of sports ownership could even be tried with independent baseball teams in America or as a way to support historic franchises, such as the second oldest soccer club Wrexham A.F.C, rather than relying on millionaires to pick up the tab.

Whether or not the Packers model can be replicated is a serious question, but that doesn’t mean that advances in technology aren’t well positioned to impact and potentially disrupt the professional sports world. Fan interest and involvement in the sporting world remains high, and the potential for crowdfunding and decentralized decision-making are improving all the time. Sports franchises are ultimately dependent on fan support to exist. Why not give fans a bigger say in how they root for, or even run, their team?

Eric Peterson is a contributor to Young Voices and lives in New Orleans. 

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Filed Under: daos, fandom, nft, ownership, sports


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2022 @ 4:55pm

    "Why not give fans a bigger say in how they root for, or even run, their team? "

    And, here's an idea, why not accomplish it using one of the INFINITE number of simpler ways of doing the same things which NFTs provide.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2022 @ 4:56pm

    There are some interesting ideas here, some of which should have been tried in the past, like the (limited) example of the Packers.

    Of course, none of this requires blockchain whatsoever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    sumgai (profile), 13 Jan 2022 @ 5:06pm

    Can't own more than X number of shares?

    The first big problem I see is that they are 'valuable assets', which means that they are subject to court decrees of settlement, subject to gambling debts, can be accepted as collateral for a loan, etc. And what happens when a particularly onerous person (or company/corporation) starts receiving these transferred assets from various people? (Defaulted loans being a prime example.) Is someone (presumably the NFT issuer, or the Packers themselves) going to stand up and tell a court that their rules forbid owning more than X hundred shares, so this transfer is null and void, and the new owner will not recognized? Especially if it was the court itself who determined that a valid debt was being discharged via the transfer?

    Interesting times we're living in, ain't they though....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    sumgai (profile), 13 Jan 2022 @ 5:24pm

    Re: Can't own more than X number of shares?

    Dammit, even preview can't save me.

    "... new owner will not be recognized". I edited that from "... is not recognized", and blew it. Sorry.

    Another example. Say my father and his broth4er each bought 300 shares of common stock. Uncle dies with no heirs, and I was his favorite nephew, hence I now own 300 shares. A year later, Dad dies, and bequeaths me his 300 shares, so I now own, at least in theory, 600 shares. You can bet your bottom dollar that if I'm not compensated appropriately for the 'taking' of 300 of those shares that aren't recognized, then there's gonna be some lawyer-upping going on.

    tl;dr:

    Rules can't be effective if the rule makers don't consider simple ramifications like those I've mentioned. But I do have to wonder if any owner of Packers common stock ever been in this situation, and have they had to go to court over it? After all, there have been at least 3 generations since 1923, and there must've been some inheritance. My Google-Fu is weak on this topic.....

    • The summary doesn't mention inheritance, or rules pertaining thereto. But I do surmise that if this were tested in court, then the only defense the Packers could mount would be "Your Honor, this was a gift to us from the deceased. We merely acknowledged receipt of that gift with a certificate stating such." Public knowledge of that train of thought is likely to not go over too well. Or so I predict. Then again, this is Green Bay we're talking about here....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2022 @ 5:25pm

    TD letting Koch Bro orgs like Young Voices shill for NFTs, amazing. This site is a fucking joke.

    What’s next, are y’all gonna try to tell me how NFTs could revolutionize the gaming industry by turning my recreational hobby of videogames into a job and investment? I wouldn’t put it past somone like Masnick or Timothy Geithner to write an article about some dogshit like that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jan 2022 @ 5:32pm

    Yeah, as much as I like reading (and commenting on) this site, these recent pro-NFT articles showing up is…concerning, to say the least. Especially when everyone who isn’t a head-up-their-ass fart-smelling techbro douchecanoe with an ounce of sense can see what a fucking scam NFTs are.

    I’m sure that on some planet, NFTs are actually a good thing. The problem here? This is Earth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 13 Jan 2022 @ 5:36pm

    Re:

    Yeah, as much as I like reading (and commenting on) this site, these recent pro-NFT articles showing up is…concerning, to say the least.

    Can I ask what you mean about "these recent pro-NFT articles"? There is this one and... what else? I ran a small experiment with NFTs and highlighted my plan to write a more in-depth paper on NFTs, which is not going to be pure boosterism and was quite clear on that point.

    I don't believe we've had any other such posts.

    This one presents one possible vision of NFTs that I thought was interesting and worth discussing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2022 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re:

    There was the podcast about the promise of NFTs, from what I remember, and Geithner’s article seemed like it was positioning the Olive Garden NFT makers as some cavalier good guys trolling a corporation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Jan 2022 @ 5:56pm

    My bad on misremembering how many articles on NFTs were posted here. I have a bit of a blind spot in re: NFTs, in that I tend to be extra-wary (and extra-weary) of pro-NFT shit, which might cloud my perception of how pro-NFT a certain source/site truly is when a pro-NFT piece pops up. Apologies for being a bit overboard there.

    That said: I’m still not convinced that NFTs are/can be a good thing in any capacity⁠—especially given how much environmental damage NFTs/blockchains can do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2022 @ 5:59pm

    Re: Re:

    Also, to add on:

    highlighted my plan to write a more in-depth paper on NFTs, which is not going to be pure boosterism and was quite clear on that point.

    This implies that there are good things about NFTs. There aren’t. Seriously, the other week you lambasted Samsung for their NFT TV plans. You can’t see how a “decentralized governance model for sport team ownership” is the same level of fucking stupid?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 13 Jan 2022 @ 6:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    This implies that there are good things about NFTs. There aren’t.

    That's one opinion. Not objective fact.

    I have said that I think the vast majority of the NFT world is nonsense and scams, but that there is something interesting at the core that is worth exploring. You can disagree with that -- many do. But I find it bizarre how quickly some people are to insist that because some of it is bad, all of it is irredeemable, when there are some interesting projects that are worth understanding.

    Seriously, the other week you lambasted Samsung for their NFT TV plans.

    Yeah, because they were nonsense.

    You can’t see how a “decentralized governance model for sport team ownership” is the same level of fucking stupid?

    Why is it "fucking stupid"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2022 @ 6:10pm

    Re:

    especially given how much environmental damage NFTs/blockchains can do.

    Yeah, this. The Constitution DAO thing got $40 million of energy-consuming Proof Of Work Ethereum donated to it. How much energy usage was that? All for what, some stupid experiment where schmucks that fell for the scam would’ve had some sort of decentralized vote on what to do with it? Ken Griffin, who won the bid, decided that it’s gonna be available for the public to see.

    What would the cryptobros have done with it? I’m glad that we’ll never know.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2022 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It’s fucking stupid because 1) All of this can be done without the bullshit and environmental costs that NFTs and blockchain bring to the table, and 2) The notion of sports fans running sports franchises in general gives me nightmares of people with more time than sense pooling their money together to gain a higher say in a DAO and running it into the ground.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2022 @ 6:45pm

    Re: Re: Can't own more than X number of shares?

    Well, Sumgai, I think you'd be best served by getting a bankruptcy lawyer and a contract lawyer in a room, and going over the contract that goes with the purchase of the shares.

    Neither the lawyers nor the non-lawyers reading this blog have enough information to advise you whether your lawyering-up is the first or the last step in your hypothetical cropping of shares.

    But hey, maybe the owner's board would make an exception and let you gift me with the excess hypothetical shares. ... which I would then display in my hypothetical den.

    So... just sayin'. Remember me when your shares come in!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2022 @ 6:52pm

    Decentralized NFT handling?

    Seems that sometimes, it isn't as decentralized as one might imagine. OpenSea couldn't freeze trading on the tokens if it were completely decentralized.

    ... unless you know something I don't? (Which, I admit, is entirely possible.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2022 @ 7:41pm

    Re:

    Shhh honey, the adults are talking.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2022 @ 8:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But if you are admitting the vast majority is nonsense and scams then, when looking at the infrastructure to make it work (i.e. a sufficiently large pool of users burning energy to validate everything), how do you still have a functioning system if you get rid of the nonsense? Or do you just accept the nonsense and scams to keep the system running so the few "interesting projects" can function?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    TFG, 13 Jan 2022 @ 8:23pm

    There is one big hurdle to NFTs that I cannot get past:

    They are built on a system that requires ever-increasing energy costs to drive value. "Proof of Work" chains are a boondoggle in which the early adopters profit at the cost of the work of the new entrants, and the energy costs to mine keep getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger, in an era where a climate crisis driven by the insane energy costs of the world is imminent.

    Whatever versatility the NFT can provide will be irrelevant when society as we know it no longer functions.

    Ethereum has been promising to go Proof of Stake, which is ... supposedly better (?) for years. Yet they seem to be completely empty promises. And any claims of being carbon negative through offsets and the like are, at this point, sophistry. If we had leeway, time, etc. and significant investment into dealing with the looming crisis, then maybe it would be fine.

    We have no such leeway. We're at the point where we need to be not only cutting emissions, but actively removing carbon from the atmosphere. Driving more and more activity into a massive driver of emissions is not the right thing to be doing.

    To sum up? Whatever advantages NFTs might provide, they are not worth it at this point in time - not when put up against the environmental catastrophe knocking on our door.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2022 @ 10:42pm

    this use case is interesting but does not require NFTs

    The Packers, or whoever, could issue digital certificates (as used for SSL) which would have all the same benefits (non-forgeable, publicly verifiable, easily transportable, standards-based, etc) but without the massive overhead and energy consumption blockchains.

    I see the value of enabling digital fandom, but using blockchain to do it is like using an Abrams tank to drive your kid to the park down the street.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Night, 14 Jan 2022 @ 12:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That is objective fact, though? Literally anything done with blockchain and NFTs can be done better with a database or excel spreadsheet and some commemorative certificates.

    Centralization is the natural end state of everything that's tried to be decentralized through the blockchain for the reason that it's more efficient. Blockchains are inherently slow and clunky and do not scale and the only way to make them work is to work off the chain in which case it's just a database. DAOs fundamentally do not and have not worked, because code-as-law doesn't solve the problems of law/bylaws (it is always and will remain a tool for handling human problems, which means you have oracle issues and interpretation issues, not clean code) and adds the problems of code (code is fLaw).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    Bloof (profile), 14 Jan 2022 @ 12:56am

    Well, the future of sports will be changed by NFTs, but not for the better. It'll be a lot harder to play conventional sports once climate change has made holding events outside a game of roulette thanks to tornados, wildfires, flooding and increases in temperature rendering the southern states as hospitable to sports as Qatar. It's alright though, people who helped the world burn with their gambling tokens (and relentless corruption and lies like the Koch family) will find exciting new ways to profit from the hellworld they've helped create.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jan 2022 @ 1:59am

    Re:

    Should we maybe stop extracting and burning all this oil to keep it cool?

    Nah pull that shit out of the ground faster so you can afford to air condition the outdoors.

    -Qatar and FIFA discussing the world cup.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    Bloof (profile), 14 Jan 2022 @ 2:23am

    Re: Re:

    Nah, Fifa couldn't hear them over the sound of the bags of bribe money being wheeled in. Those wheelbarrows filled with cash get awful squeaky.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    NewFleecingTech, 14 Jan 2022 @ 3:26am

    Insightful article

    First I'd like to thank Techdirt and Eric Peterson for offering us an opportunity to get a glimps into the mind and arguments of an NFT-shill. Since I feel like this comment might end up on the longer side, I'll try to break my thoughts down into several sections.

    Worthless receipts
    The article starts off by describing, how Packers common stock shares give you almost no benefits and come with a bundle of restrictions. I admit that I am not an expert when it comes to the Packers' structure or their stock. However to me it seems that if someone can dictate what you can do with something you "own", then your claim of ownership seems pretty weak. In fact it looks more like that said someone actually owns the thing in question. While I'm not quite sure who that someone is in this case, the article implies that it is the owners of the stock sold in 1923-1950, since they can outvote everyone else.
    So basically if you buy common stock, you get a fancy receipt and whatever rights the actual owners feel like granting you. I actually agree that that sounds very close to NFTs, which are also useless receipts that don't let you do anything with the thing that they claim to represent. Yes you "own" the NFT itself and can do with it whatever you want, but not with the represented thing. Similar you can (presumably) do whatever you want with the physical uniquely numbered ownership certificate, but not with the associated shares.

    No NFTs required
    The next section tries to describes all the cool things that you could do with those NFTs: public display of fandom, access to special events. It however completely fails to explain how NFTs would enable any of that. The reason is simple: NFTs don't enable any of that, because all of that is already possible right now without NFTs. Hilariously we are even given an example by Peterson of it already working NFT-free (the private event with the team’s head coach via video call).
    There is nothing stopping me from setting up a superfan-program for my team the East-Virginia Mantisshrimps. You subscribe and in return gain access to special benefits like the logininfo for the video call events and the store. If you pay enough I'll even add your name and social media handles to the HallOfMegaFans webpage.

    Money does not equal passion
    The article brings up the term "proof of fandom" which I consider problematic for a number of reasons. Do we really need to prove that we enjoy a certain thing? I see no reason for that other than to engage in no-true-scottsman-arguments. But assuming we needed proof, how do we do that? Buying some sort of certificate seems like a really bad implementation. If they are cheap, they mean nothing, if they are expensive we run into more problems. Say it costs 10000$ to buy superfandom, does that mean that rich Beff Jezos who bought it on a whim is a super fan, but Steve Exampleman, who has the Mantisshrimp logo tattooed on his forehead, is not?

    It's all about money and investments
    The article talks a lot about how much money is in all of this. This seems very common for NFT apologists. It is almost never about the things represented by an NFT. Noone cares about the artistic value of the Ape pictures, nobody talks about what Ubisoft Quarz added to the gameplay. Its always about "owning", selling, showing off your wealth or "investing". This is not how you talk about something you are a fan of. This is how speculators talk, that don't care about ruining something as long as it makes them money.

    Secondhand Fandom
    One of the often touted "benefits" of NFTs is that you can buy and sell them whenever you feel like it. What does that mean for this supposed "proof of fandom". Are you really a superfan if one of your first thought is "But can I sell it again" or even worse "Can I sell it for more later"? On the other hand what does it mean if you bought your fandom "secondhand" for slightly less? Are you less of a fan or more?

    Single owner
    Since NFTs can be sold freely, what prevents anyone from buying all of them?

    Motivation
    Finally, I think its amusing that Peterson admits that he owns 5 million shares, while claiming that they have some value despite not doing much. As if he needs to reassure himself that his purchase has value (and aparently showing that you are a devoted fan is not enough).
    More interesting though is, that Peterson does not say if he owns any NFTs or not. You know, the things that can be sold and that directly benefit from shilling the supposed value to the next greater fool.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    Ellie (profile), 14 Jan 2022 @ 4:21am

    Re: US Treasury Secretary writing for TechDirt

    Timothy Geithner was Secretary of the Treasury during the 2008 financial crisis. I would find it VERY amusing if he were to write an article shilling for NFTs on TechDirt!!!

    I think you meant Timothy Geigner?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    Ellie (profile), 14 Jan 2022 @ 4:36am

    Green Bay Packers stock like GOOGL

    Neither has voting rights but shares of Google GOOGL can be bought and sold and investors can make a profit if the price goes up.

    Also, I'm not convinced that NFTs or DAO is an easier way to offer decentralized, widely distributed ownership than an actual common stock offering.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jan 2022 @ 5:40am

    If anything, this just proves that NFTs don’t actually bring anything new to the table that doesn't already exist in some form already.

    I think that "Protocols" and "Decentralization" (be that blockchain or what ever follows it) are important steps forward, but only once the grifters are done parting the fools and their money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Bilvin Spicklittle, 14 Jan 2022 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    NFTs would be a good substitute, perhaps even an improvement, for how we do real estate deeds and car titles.

    Storing those things on paper just risks having them destroyed in building fires.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    BentFranklin (profile), 14 Jan 2022 @ 6:14am

    Add Eric Peterson to the blockhead chain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jan 2022 @ 9:23am

    I was going to make a joke about pet rocks and NFTs, but they beat me to it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    TFG, 14 Jan 2022 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And the Secretary of State in Michigan can replace the title on a car, for a fee, already.

    What does the NFT bring to the table that current digital solutions (your bog-standard database) do not, and how do those benefits outweigh the detriments of the NFT system (in specific, the rampant energy costs of blockchain solutions)?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. icon
    sumgai (profile), 14 Jan 2022 @ 10:25am

    Re: Insightful article

    Finally, I think its amusing that Peterson admits that he owns 5 million shares...

    I took TFS to say that there are 5M shares outstanding in total, not that E.P. personally owns that number of them.

    Otherwise, nice piece of analysis.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    sumgai (profile), 14 Jan 2022 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Can't own more than X number of shares?

    I may have read TFS a bit too quickly. Today I reread it, and find that there is a clause that allows for inheritance. But what's missing is how an aggregate total of inherited shared might conflict with the magic allowed total of shares owned by one person. That needs to be addressed before we can go much further down the road.

    And it seems that the TFS has been edited. My comments above stated that the maximum number of shares (of Green Bay common stock) that can owned per person was 300, yet the the number is now 200. Something fishy going on here...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    TFG, 14 Jan 2022 @ 1:31pm

    Re:

    Here, have an article that summarizes a lot of the issues:

    https://www.theverge.com/2021/3/15/22328203/nft-cryptoart-ethereum-blockchain-climate-change

    There's another one which is less optimistic toward NFTs, as on top of everything, bringing artificial scarcity to systems that shouldn't need artificial scarcity isn't so grand a thing, but I can't find it now, more's the pity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. icon
    sumgai (profile), 15 Jan 2022 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re:

    I don't believe we've had any other such posts.

    What Stephen is most likely referring to is what Google gives me when I say "NFT site:techdirt.com". First six items are recent articles, and not all of them on Q. Tarantino. (The rest of the search returns on the first page are images which, for reasons I don't understand, trigger the search engine to say that they are about NFT's.) But I agree, they aren't about your research in re NFT, they're about specific people or events centered on NFT's.

    This one presents one possible vision of NFTs that I thought was interesting and worth discussing.

    Discussion is almost never a bad thing. The problem for most readers here is that we've been exposed to so much scammy behavior, from all angles of the human sphere, that we can't help but spot a scam when it's presented to us. I do like to think that we are predominantly open-minded, and can change our personal mindsets when needful. But the longer we have to wait for those newly exposed facts to be presented, the more easily we 'fall into a groove' of belittling the scam.

    Or so I see it, anyway..........

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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