NFT Storytelling and the Last Mile

By jer979!! | | 13 Dec 2021

tl;dr: The need for “last mile” NFT authentication

I like to say that the NFT world is both “over-hyped” and “here to stay.”

And I do believe that. I think NFTs will have all kinds of value in the future, both in the Metaverse and the broader Omniverse.

The question, of course, is “which NFTs will have value?

This is more than a theoretical discussion because NFTs will be-and already are-used as collateral for “real” loans. Without a way to arrive at consensus about the value of a unique digital asset, it’s going to be tough to use it in other forms of commerce.

Today, we have ways of doing sites, be it eBay or Sotheby’s.

And a key part of the value of the unique item, from Picasso to Banksy, is the provable chain of custody and guarantee of authenticity. No one wants to buy a digital copy of the Constitution, but they do want to buy an actual copy of the Constitution.

Obviously, entire industries have evolved over time to address this need.

In the digital world, however, there appear to me to be some gaps.

In the world of NFTs, particularly those that are not native to the crypto space (in the way that Crypto Kitties or Bored Apes are), there seems to be a chasm as to the “last mile” of custody.

To be specific, how does the collector “A” on Foundation know for a fact that he has the original images that populate his valuable collection?

Well, he relies on the back story.

Take, for example, the “Bad Luck Brian” photo/meme.

If you read the story underneath the image, it says:

Bad Luck Brian is an unflattering yearbook photo posted to the internet in January 2012, becoming a viral internet sensation. It started as a joke when, Ian Davies, uploaded a yearbook photo of his best friend, Kyle Craven, dubbing the portrait Bad Luck Brian. The image has since been used by millions to laugh at their own misfortunes.

Ian and Kyle, the creator and the face behind the iconic meme, are releasing the authentic 1/1 original Bad Luck Brian Image.

That’s great that Ian and Kyle are doing that, but how do I KNOW that THIS image IS the original image?

And how do I know that it was first uploaded by Ian and Kyle?

And how do I know that it was actually the same Ian and Kyle who uploaded this image, created the NFT, and are auctioning it off?

As I wrote back in 2019 in Proof of Truth in an era of Deep Fake Porn:

Pictures and videos will have to have SHA-256 hashes (or some other type of algorithm) AND get timestamped in a blockchain.

Every phone and video camera will come with this capability built-in natively.

Whenever you take a picture, it will get hashed and recorded. Then, if that picture or video is ever doctored and published, it will have a completely different hash.”

The starting point of the non-crypto-native NFT creation process is camera or the computer. Those components will need to be independently verifiable as well, because if they aren’t, we’ll have competing NFT narratives and there it’s not about truth, it’s about who tells the better story.

Which isn’t the point.

How do you rate this article?


Explorations of the emerging crypto-economic models and their potential implications

Send a $0.01 microtip in crypto to the author, and earn yourself as you read!

20% to author / 80% to me.
We pay the tips from our rewards pool.