If you were alive before 1995 or so, you can attest that the internet has changed everything. Before the internet, searching for movie times meant grabbing a newspaper or calling the theater. Getting a restaurant menu meant driving to the restaurant and going inside. Buying tickets for a concert involved going to a record store and waiting in a long line. Renting a movie meant driving to a Blockbuster and looking through the boxes. Banking, too, meant using paper and pen to write someone a check.
The internet changed all that. Some would argue that things are better than they used to be, while others might challenge that notion. One of the things that has come along quite recently is blockchain technology, which makes tracking money transactions more secure because they all have an unbreakable link back to a theoretical unhackable database.
And from the blockchain, folks have found new ways to create value where there was none before. One of those new ideas is called “NFT,” which stands for “Non-Fungible Tokens.” A Non-Fungible Token is a digital item that, according to Forbes:
“Is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items, and videos. They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency, and they are generally encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptos.”
Since 2017, people have spent more than $174 million on images and art categorized as NFTs. A few big brands like Adidas, Taco Bell, Budweiser, and Coca-Cola are also experimenting with NFTs, which are presumed to be for marketing purposes.
Writer Katharina Buchholz categorized many of the other brands selling NFTs for a profit. Buchholz detailed how luxury brands like Givency, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton, are into NFTs, but they were disappointed in the results from their sales. According to Buchholz, Givency made just $159,000, and Gucci netted just $25,000 for an NFT movie.
NFTs are also linked to the release of harmful pollution, as The Verge explains.
‘Star Trek’ NFTs
“Today, Paramount Global and RECUR announced that Star Trek will be the first NFT digital collection to drop from their multi-year partnership to bring Paramount’s beloved entertainment brands and characters to the metaverse. Fans will be able to access Star Trek digital collectibles starting April 9th through Paramount.xyz, the online portal to access Paramount’s iconic IP and cherished franchises in the form of NFTs.”
That means fans can purchase digital items — like photos, illustrations, movie clips, audio, and more — which will be tied directly to the blockchain. An NFT purchased by a fan will be available in a digital format only and will not be available for purchase by anyone else.
This announcement has not gone over well with fans of “Star Trek.” Some fans have pointed out that the future that “Star Trek” promises is one where money has no value. People work together to achieve great things. Greed, hunger, and war are all things of the past. The idea of purchasing NFTs that are “Star Trek” themed rubs many the wrong way.
A Fan and The Finger
Fans have spoken out against the new Trek-themed NFTs. Some are noting that the “fanbase is practically rabid.” Another Trek fan admitted that he loathed ‘cancel culture,’ but “canceling NFT projects is definitely something I’d support.”
NFTs and ’Star Trek: Mission Chicago’
As one of the largest and most prominent Trek conventions of the year kicked off in Chicago on April 8, 2022, fans made their displeasure known.
One fan tweeted that he felt sorry for Sonequa Martin-Green and Doug Jones, as the actors are involved in “such a horrible, environmentally unsound product.” Another fan posted that NFTs were a “scam.” And the Strange New Pod team tweeted a video, saying that “NFTs don’t belong in ‘Star Trek.’”
Lt. Stamets Responds
Anthony Rapp, who Trek fans know as Lt. Paul Stamets on “Star Trek: Discovery,” responded to the criticism today with a series of statements on Twitter in the spirit of “learning and growing together in these new spaces.”
“RECUR has worked with Carbon Portfolio Advisors and the American Carbon Registry to mint carbon-neutral NFTs,” Rapp said on Twitter. “I’ve also been made aware that new technology continues to be developed to further minimize the impact of blockchains, which makes me very relieved to hear.”
Some fans still are upset, even after Rapp’s explanation.
“I adore your work on Disco,” one fan responded to Rapp. “I suspect you are caught between a rock and a hard place, your fans, and your employers. I will be voting with my wallet. No ‘Star Trek’ NFTs for me. Even if I could dismiss the environmental impact and the scammyness, I couldn’t be less interested if I tried.”