TTRPGS, Blockchains, and NFTs

When Kickstarter announced recently that it would be investing in blockchain-based infrastructure, there was widespread backlash. Blockchain technology is environmentally damaging and is of limited use. Creators such as Possum Creek Games (Wanderhome) announced their intentions to move off Kickstarter, while companies such as Chaosium and Wizards of the Coast continue to express interested in...

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When Kickstarter announced recently that it would be investing in blockchain-based infrastructure, there was widespread backlash. Blockchain technology is environmentally damaging and is of limited use. Creators such as Possum Creek Games (Wanderhome) announced their intentions to move off Kickstarter, while companies such as Chaosium and Wizards of the Coast continue to express interested in non-fungible tokens, digital items which exist on a blockchain.

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While I'm writing this article, I do need to point out that I'm not a great person to do so; my understanding of blockchains, NFTs, cryptocurrencies, and related technologies is very, very limited and my attempts to get a handle on the subject have not been entirely successful. I'm sure more informed people will post in the comments.


Kickstarter is not the only tabletop roleplaying game adjacent company delving into such technologies. Call of Cthulhu publisher Chaosium announced in July 2021 that it was working with an NFT company to bring their Mythos content to a digitally collectible market, with specific plans to sell two different models -- the Necromonicon and a bust of Cthulhu -- from the Cthulhu Mythos; and while things went quiet for a while, last week the company tweeted that 'We have more - lots more -- to drop... when the Stars are Right." A Facebook statement from Chaosium's CEO appeared on Twitter talking more about the decision.

D&D producer Wizards of the Coast said in April 2021 that it was considering NFTs for Magic: The Gathering. More recently, an email from WotC's legal representatives to a company planning to use NFT technology in conjunction with M:tG cards, alleging unlawful infringement of its IP, indicated that WotC was "currently evaluating its future plans regarding NFTs and the MAGIC: THE GATHERING cards" but that "no decision has been made at this time."

On Twitter, ErikTheBearik compiled Hasbro/WotC's involvement with NFTs so far.

Gripnr is a '5e based TTRPG NFT protocol' with Stephen Radney-MacFarland (D&D, Star Wars Saga Edition, Pathfinder) as its lead game designer. OK, so that's about as much of that as I understand!

Some company in the TTRPG sphere have taken a stand. DriveThruRPG stated that "In regard to NFTs – We see no use for this technology in our business ever." Itch.io was a bit more emphatic:

A few have asked about our stance on NFTs: NFTs are a scam. If you think they are legitimately useful for anything other than the exploitation of creators, financial scams, and the destruction of the planet the [sic] we ask that [you] please reevaluate your life choices. Peace. [an emoji of a hand making the “Peace” symbol]

Also [expletive deleted] any company that says they support creators and also endorses NFTs in any way. They only care about their own profit and the opportunity for wealth above anyone else. Especially given the now easily available discourse concerning the problems of NFTs.

How can you be so dense?

NFTs -- non-fungible tokens -- and blockchains have been dominating the news recently, and with individuals and companies taking strong stances against them, it's fair to ask why. The environmental impact of the technology has been widely documented - it's inefficient, and the need for blockchains -- a sort of decentralized ledger -- to have multiple users validate and record transactions makes it very energy intensive. In an era when climate change is having more and more devastating effects around the world, use of such technologies attracts considerable backlash.

Other ethical concerns regarding NFTs specifically is that the purchaser of an NFT is not actually purchasing anything, and the value for the digital 'token' they've purchased is speculative. When you buy the NFT of a piece of art (for example) you don't own the art itself; you only own a digital token associated with the art. The whole concept is likened to a 'house of cards' or a 'scam' by its critics.
 

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"We are now using more energy than the entire country of Switzerland and all the pollution it causes to do nothing and make money!" sounds over the top for an episode of Captain Planet.
According to a recent report from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, about 10% of the world's total electricity consumption is currently used by the Internet. The figure has risen from 8% in 2012 and may reach 20% by 2025.
 

Mallus

Legend
2) Global Finance Opposes Them - The same global financial institutions and politicians who oppose Crypto Currency also supported subprime mortgages and crashed the economies of several countries. I'm done listening to anything they have to say, or anyone who parrots their talking points. The IMF didn't see any problems with subprime mortgages yet they're terrified of Crypto and want to regulate it.
Except that the crypto space replicates every sin committed in traditional finance, with the added bonus of the being completely unregulated.

It also severs investment from anything that has use-value. A diehard Marxist science fiction writer couldn’t have come up with a better satire of late-stage capitalism.
 


Except that the crypto space replicates every sin committed in traditional finance, with the added bonus of the being completely unregulated.

It also severs investment from anything that has use-value. A diehard Marxist science fiction writer couldn’t have come up with a better satire of late-stage capitalism.
You're really posturing hard.

Subprime mortgages were completely regulated. How did that work out for the Marxist science fiction writers?
 

In case anyone reading this wants to know how scripted the "arguments" are in response to criticism of cryptocurrency/blockchain/NFTs, AtomicPope literally made an argument I already refuted ten posts above theirs.
In case anyone reading this wants to know how scripted the "arguments" are in response to the critics of cryptocurrency/blockchain, Abstruse literally ignored the fact that I never once mentioned NFTs, yet lumped everything together.
 

Abstruse

Legend
According to a recent report from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, about 10% of the world's total electricity consumption is currently used by the Internet. The figure has risen from 8% in 2012 and may reach 20% by 2025.
To compare two things using statistics and get relevant information, those two things must start from the same foundation. That's why statistics list "per capita" rather than the entire population because some places have more people than other places. If your 10% of the world's power statement is accurate, that means that 10% of the world's power is being used by (as of January 2021) 4.6 billion people with a wide variety of uses (education, work, record storage, and yes, entertainment among others). Meanwhile, Bitcoin alone uses 0.5% of the world's power for at most 100 million people to say they own digital tokens that they claim have value.
 

Mallus

Legend
You're using a device, power, and infrastructure created with real non-renewable resources for entertainment, and you're surprised?
I’m currently using a computing device that I use for a variety of purposes every day, including my job. It’s not a virtual asset invested in with the hope it explodes in value. So, yes? Not surprised, just kinda ticked off. It’s like… anti-engineering.
 
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Abstruse

Legend
In case anyone reading this wants to know how scripted the "arguments" are in response to the critics of cryptocurrency/blockchain, Abstruse literally ignored the fact that I never once mentioned NFTs, yet lumped everything together.
1) The subject of this post is NFTs and the blockchain. It's in big letters at the top of the page in case you missed it.

2) I literally said in the post you quoted NFTs/blockchain/cryptocurrency, which are three interrelated but different things. So your attempt at a typical counter-argument that I'm conflating the three doesn't work because, if you go through the thread, you'll notice I differentiate between them repeatedly and am very clear on which one I'm referring to at any given time.
 

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