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Brave CEO: NFTs have 'Scammy Side' Like Early Internet

Brendan Eich compared the NFT scene to the early days of the internet. He’s not the first to make this comparison.

3 min read
NFTs have surged in popularity during 2021. Image: Shutterstock

The NFT scene might be setting records this year, but Mozilla co-founder and Brave Software CEO Brendan Eich thinks the scene still needs to be vetted of "silliness" and its "scammy side," according to a new interview published by Tech Radar.

Eich's words are part of his broader argument that the nascent NFT space is still a "frontier town" for digital prospectors hoping to gain an early foothold in Web3. 

He also drew comparisons to previous iterations of the internet, saying: "there were a lot of silly sites and scams in the early days of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 as well. That's how frontier towns are, before you pave the streets and put up the street lamps."

In the interview, Eich mentioned that there is an "increasing amount of tribalism," which he hopes his project, the Brave browser, stands apart from. 

Brave browser and its native utility token, the Basic Attention Token (BAT), offer an alternative model for advertisers, publications, and readers, by monetizing readers' attention to adverts. Each advertisement they see earns them a small amount of BAT in return.  

In Brave's model, all three parties get remunerated, while algorithms determine which sort of adverts a specific user is likely to want to watch. By monetizing attention, Brave hopes to connect advertisers with their target markets. 

Eich was careful not to make his industry criticism too pointed, however. 

He said, "there are monied interests throwing their support behind proxy warriors. That makes me hesitant to make blanket statements, but also makes me want to build. If you build something better, people will use it."

Crypto: a bubble?

Eich's comments about the NFT scene being a "frontier town" are not new. Since NFTs really took off last year, analysts have voiced concern that the scene will implode like the dot-com bubble of the early noughties. 

These fears are not unfounded. The NFT space is still only speculative, and the high resale value of several NFTs reflects overconfidence in the market. 

American digital artist Beeple was one of the record breakers of the scene last year when a collection of his work sold for $69.3 million

Beeple's cut was about $53 million, which he immediately converted to U.S. dollars, saying NFTs are "absolutely" a bubble, like the dot-com bubble. 

"There was a bubble. And the bubble burst. And it wiped out a lot of crap—but it didn't wipe out the internet. And so the technology itself is strong enough where I think it's going to outlive that," he said at that time.

In a recent podcast, former Disney CEO Bob Iger highlighted that his former company has already dipped into the NFT space and predicted that "[we're] going to see an explosion of things being created, traded, collected in NFTs."

There's a general consensus that NFTs are likely experiencing a bubble, but nobody knows exactly what its dimensions are or when it'll pop.

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