Edward Snowden

At the BlockDown DeData Online conference on Friday, in a discussion with Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum, Edward Snowden expressed his concern for the potential corruption of NFTs through their use in the gaming industry, and I have to somewhat agree…

His major point was that gaming is an escape for a lot of people, a place where scarcity is overcome through effort, not necessarily money, and that using NFTs in gaming could be corrupting the gaming experience and NFTs themselves by introducing an artificial scarcity that’s sole purpose is to benefit an investor class.

His exact words were:

We have people that are trying to [inject] an artificial sense of scarcity into a post-scarcity domain – I think the community should very much be trying to bend the arc of development away from injecting artificial, unnecessary scarcity entirely for the benefit of some investor class.

Snowden also described the parts of the metaverse that aim to capitalise on people’s virtual escapes as “horrible, heinous, and tragic”.

I do share his concerns with the potential abuse of NFTs in gaming, with gaming companies potentially restricting certain pieces of content only to those who can pay a premium. Sure, we have DLC (Downloadable Content) that serves as an extension of a released game, but they’re available to everyone at a set price, with their price often reducing more and more over time. With the continued adoption of NFTs, who’s to say that there won’t be certain content that’s wrapped up as an NFT and becomes inherently scarce, only available to those that can afford a potentially ever-inflating price. I’m talking the upper classes, big YouTubers, and the like…

Be excited for NFTs joining the gaming space, sure. It creates a new market for items and assets that you may earn in-game and then sell on to help pay for this week’s groceries but be careful at the same time. Don’t let the big gaming companies abuse this beautiful technology with money-oriented exclusivity. If it seems that things are starting to turn, a good old-fashioned boycott still holds power in the modern world, and with interconnectivity as strong as ever, organised digital protest is easier than it’s ever been!