Neopets is trying to get a slice of the non-fungible tokens (NFT) pie now. NFTs are digital cryptocurrency tokens, which can come in the form of photos, videos, audio, or any type of digital file. What sets them apart from regular files is that they are stored on a blockchain, and are certified to be unique and thus not interchangeable.
Does this stop people from creating more copies of the file? No. Does an NFT do anything functionally different from a regular file? No. It is simply a proof of ownership, like a certificate of authenticity, except for something wholly digital.
Which is why when the Neopets developers stated that they are creating NFTs for over 20,000 customised pets in collaboration with several blockchain companies, fans were both confused and unhappy.
The Neopets NFTs come in the form of images of adoptable pets. Except, they are not going to be the users’ pets. Each image will sport a randomly generated background, assets, and clothes.
So buyers who purchase a Neopets NFT will own an image of a random pet spawned specifically as an NFT. Again, this doesn’t stop people from copying said image, but the buyer’s image will be the only one with a kind of proof of authenticity.
This is bizarre, as players can already make and customise their own pets on the website for free, with more freedom and options to choose from. And with the pets unmistakably belonging to their actual accounts, there is no doubt as to who owns which pet. Ironically, the NFTs are going to seem less unique than the pets players can already make for free.
Neopets developers stated that the NFTs will be more environmentally friendly, however, people have pointed out that just because it’s more environmentally friendly, it doesn’t mean that it is actually environmentally friendly.
Especially given that the creation of NFTs doesn’t do anything to augment and improve the game, it is hard to see it as anything other than a cash grab.
This article was first published in Geek Culture.