AI might be stealing all the thunder, but the world of NFTs remains to be both an exciting space of bleeding-edge ideas – and an endless source of bickering, trolling, and hyper-competitive capitalism.

One of the much-touted benefits of web3 is the fact that creator royalties can be baked into the smart contracts when an NFT is sold – ensuring that the artist/creator gets paid even after that initial sale. However, as web3 critic Molly White reports, this isn’t very often enforced, instead leaving responsibility for royalties to the marketplace that initially sold the NFT.

That’s something that is highly controversial in the NFT world: not only does it undercut the decentralised nature of web3, but it also means that, White reports, “NFT marketplaces have emerged that follow a “royalty optional” model, sparking a race to the bottom where OpenSea and other incumbents have also cut royalty protections to remain competitive.”

Which brings us to Goblintown: a collection of NFTs that kicked off “a phenomenon of Twitter spaces where members spent hours making goblin noises into their microphones.” Initially, they were free to mint, but now trade for figures in the high-hundreds of dollars. Realising that royalties were not being passed along to the creators, Truth Labs, which launched Goblintown, took a creative – and drastic – step, and changed the image of every single NFT and all of their NFT collections “to an illustration of a dancing middle finger, with smaller middle fingers emerging from where its arms and genitals would be.” Truth Labs also announced that each NFT will now be replaced by new tokens that strictly enforce royalty payments on-chain (and, we suppose, that will reinstate the original artwork.)

All typically exciting NFT stuff, but think about these two things: will music NFTs end up being more scrupulous, contractually enforcing royalty payments, or will they be left to a centralised third party? And how would you feel if you paid for a music NFT – and later the organisation that launched them changed the content of that music NFT at their discretion? There is scope here for the Ultimate Rick Roll…

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Joe Sparrow

Joe SparrowEditor

Editor, Music Ally

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