It's Not A Ponzi

This is a short dispatch /// Alternate title: Ephemeral Markets In Search Of Utility

Generation: Habibi is a collection of 1,000+ generated avatars created by MarkTheHabibi. But, this isn't your average generative project. Generation: Habibi is designed to grow over time. Collectors …


I have yet to see a defense of why NFT’s aren’t a ponzi scheme that is shareable. Everything rests on top of vague notions of culture and community and a general shared mental image of what they might become despite what they are today… with very light gloss-overs of the technical challenges that exist in that future reality.

I’ve written plenty on my fears of what happens to us, when all of our interactions are mediated with a legible financial transaction potential underneath it. The erosion of hospitality. And in the same breath I have oozed over the utopian potential of creative infinites for the culture now that the value of work can be realized more smoothly, and future royalties can be programmed in.

What I want to give, right now, is a simple snapshot of the economic mounds we’ve been playing on as it relates to most NFT collections.

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In Defense Of Ephemeral Markets

One way I can tell the general (relevancy) health of an NFT collection is the amount of bot bids I receive on pieces & their cadence. As they start to slow down, I run through a process of either conviction or ditching → recognizing the scene is shifting its attention elsewhere. (I’m not saying I’m proud of this, or that this is the right framework, I’m simply sharing what is true that runs through my mind)

What we are witnessing is not Ponzi, it’s an ephemeral market on a new commodity of identity.


I think what’s most interesting about the nature of blockchains is the environment of legibility. And in seeing each other’s every move, with the financial under and overtones of each one, we naturally associate that with market dynamics.

But the classical market vocabulary no longer work for this environment. And so, new emergent language is both necessary and daunting. It has created the fencings of this culture.

In Search Of Utility

The reason we are in an ephemeral market, driven by scarce attention across constantly emerging projects, is because beyond the swapping of identity talismans these objects do not hold that much value yet.

This will change and is already changing.

I also do not discount that, it is simply entertaining. Entertainment is one of our oldest and most enduring utilities across the human experience. These markets are fun, despite some painful moments of rugging, over leveraged individuals, and other poor actors.

Culture has an inherent ephemeral quality as a structure of communal expression. Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti + Culture is our Business by Marshall McLuhan might be a good dense reference here. But as longer lasting, and ritualistic function gets encoded into these objects, we will see the value and transaction styles explode in both directions. Beyond the market trading, inflation/deflation patterns we see today.

Live by the medium, die by the medium. It’s not a ponzi. It’s that when everything is a measurable market, you see how fast people can move on. And that is a very different environment to get used to.


I don’t do edits really, so excuse typos and things that don’t make sense.

Thanks so much for giving me your attention. I hope it was worth it, if not… unsubscribing will not hurt my feelings, and will give you back time you literally cannot have back.

Much love.

Live in the light