In a recent interview with The Verge, The Matrix Resurrections stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss were asked their opinion about the NFTs created for the upcoming film, which proved so popular that they temporarily crashed the website on which they were sold.
Reeves, however, couldn’t contain himself – his response was to burst out laughing at the mere mention of NFTs, the very notion of digital scarcity. And it wasn’t just a polite chuckle – the restrained star let out an uncharacteristically loud cackle, after responding:
“They’re easily reproduced.”
For those who have remained blissfully unaware of the existence of NFTs, the acronym stands for “non-fungible token,” which translates to a certificate of digital ownership that cannot be replicated, certified using the Ethereum blockchain. Currently, the technology is being used to sell tweets, GIFs, and digital artwork, sometimes for gargantuan sums of money.
The joke that sparked Reeves fit of laughter is the fact that this is artificial scarcity, going against the very ethos of the internet; simply right-clicking an NFT will save the image, obviously, and the digital certificate is only viewed as authentic and valuable because a bunch of investors have decided that it should be so. Frankly, if you think you don’t understand the phenomenon, you probably understand it perfectly well.
But the environmental impact of NFTs is no laughing matter; the verification process behind each NFT requires a staggering amount of energy, and seeing as the cryptocurrency infrastructure relies mostly on fossil fuels, the fad has arrived at the worst possible time.
Essentially, NFTs and most cryptocoins are throwing gasoline on our burning planet, for the sake of digital “ownership” that only a handful of people actually recognize as legitimate. Totally worth it – I can’t wait to tell my grandchildren that in the face of environmental apocalypse, we aggressively accelerated fossil fuel consumption, selling cat GIFs to gullible tech bros.
Hence, it’s incredibly refreshing to see Reeves react so honestly – most celebrities have embraced the technology with alarming enthusiasm; beloved figures such as Snoop Dogg, William Shatner, Doja Cat, Tony Hawk, Eminem, and Grimes have all endorsed NFTs. Reese Witherspoon even tried putting a pseudo-feminist spin on the fad (because equality means women should be participating in pyramid schemes too!).
Maybe this is why Keanu Reeves remains such a beloved figure; despite being incredibly famous and universally admired, he still appears to be grounded in reality – the man hasn’t entered the Matrix yet.