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Monday, October 18, 2021

Signal’s founder is trolling with an NFT that’ll turn to shit if you buy it

Secure messaging app Signal’s founder Moxie Marlinspike is doing a bit of trolling by releasing an NFT that shows up differently depending on what platform you’re looking at it on — and that will, allegedly, display as a poop emoji in your wallet if you actually buy it.

He seems to be doing this to point out the potential fragility of NFTs, which are supposed to act as a sort of permanent record of owning a piece of art or media. They’re unique digital tokens that are stored on the blockchain, but in most cases, it’s actually just the record that lives on the chain — the image is stored elsewhere. That means that people shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars for them could be at the mercy of image hosts who are operating independently from the blockchain.

It’s no secret that many NFTs would be in peril if the servers hosting them were to go down. For the most part, they’re not stored on the blockchain; the art is just a link. According to Marlinspike, that’s how he’s pulling this off — he’s made the image render differently based on the IP or user agent that’s requesting it.

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