It’s cool. No, seriously, it’s totally cool.
As non-fungible tokens (NFTs) continue to sell for tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency, those passionate about the digital tokens would very much like critics to know one thing: the scores of trolls copy-pasting their pricey JPEGs is only helping their cause. Or, so the extremely annoyed NFT owners insist.
It’s a scene that plays out daily across Twitter, as the members of breakout NFT communities like CryptoPunks and the Bored Ape Yacht Club share their latest scores — along with the mind-boggling prices paid — only to immediately be ridiculed by right-click savers swarming their mentions.
The term, as you might expect, refers to the ability of anyone to right-click and save a public image associated with an NFT. For the unfamiliar, when it comes to artwork, an NFT is often not the art itself, but rather, as one expert put it, like “directions to the museum” where the art is being held.
Here’s how the latest crypto culture battle typically plays out: As soon as someone announces a particularly pricey NFT purchase, the right-click savers pounce — tweeting the copied CryptoPunk or Ape back at its proud owner.
After one NFT enthusiast, RookieXBT, claimed to have purchased CryptoPunk 3794 for $157,069 (a sale price confirmed by CryptoPunks’ creator Larva Labs), the right-click savers wasted no time in doing their thing.
“Cool, I got mine for free,” replied one along with an image of the CryptoPunk in question.
“What do you think of my punk,” asked another.
“I just screen shotted this,” replied yet another.
Some even screenshot the act of right-click saving to add perceived insult to injury.
“stop stealing other peoples property,” came the plaintive reply.
This wasn’t even the first time RookieXBT has been right-click saved.
“bro this is so dumb, people are stealing my punk that i paid $225k for and using it as their profile picture,” wrote the CryptoPunk owner on July 31. “how is this legal”
We reached out to confirm that RookieXBT does in fact own the CryptoPunks in question, but received no immediate response. However, as of the time of this writing, the same account owns several CryptoPunks, which RookieXBT has tweeted about purchasing.
Arguments about copy-pasted NFTs pop up all over Twitter. In one such instance, a self-described “NFT Investor” takes another Twitter account to task for supposedly right-click saving their Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT and using it as an avatar.
“I am asking you to change your profile picture as I own the IP and paid 50 Eth for it,” reads the request from CapetainTrippy. 50 Eth, incidentally, is about $150,000. “I understand you may be new and would love to have you in #bayc but you need to use a different ape.”
Credit: screenshot / twitter
“literally right click save as lol,” came an immediate reply.
While RookieXBT and CapetainTrippy may be openly stressed about getting right-click saved, other NFT fans want the world to know that the right-click savers are actually owning themselves.
“When you save the image and use it / share it you are making the underlying token more valuable,” wrote one. “Kinda ironic how the right click save crowd is actually doing free marketing for nft holders”
This line of thinking, that right-click saving represents a fundamental misunderstanding of NFTs and is itself to be mocked, is pervasive among the diehard NFT crew.
“saying u stole my nft bc u right click saved it is the same as saying u stole my eth balance bc u right clicked saved the number,” argued one.
“Ngl, I kinda enjoy getting right-click-saved,” read one NFT fan playing it cool.
So who’s right? The NFT owners spending, and sometimes making, untold riches as they buy and sell digital tokens referencing supposedly rare JPEGs? Or the scores of critics sitting on the sidelines, right-click saving while shaking their heads at people who they believe clearly have too much money?
In some ways, both groups are.
NFTs are separate from whatever art they represent. Most often, they’re an Ethereum token consisting of metadata describing the artwork in question. Although, there are some cases where the NFT also actually contains the art. As of Aug. 18, CryptoPunks just so happens to be an example of the latter. Larva Labs announced that, as of Wednesday, the 24-by-24 pixel CryptoPunk artwork is now stored on the blockchain.
It’s true that owning an NFT does grant the ability to do things that right-click saving an image doesn’t (questions of copyright transfer remain complex). But as those things involve cryptographically proving ownership of the NFT along with the ability to sell it, it’s all a bit circular.
Either way, as the NFT crowd correctly argues, right-clicking saving a JPEG tied to an NFT doesn’t mean you now own the associated NFT.
At the same time, however, the right-click save crowd has successfully highlighted what is perhaps the core reason NFTs have, at least as of yet, struggled to go mainstream: many people consider the idea behind NFTs to be a big dumb joke.
And if the internet loves anything more than owning those it views as dumb, it’s debating who is, in fact, getting owned.