cheaters looking for pigeons? – Liberation

What do Paris Hilton and La République en Marche have in common? Both have been won over by the frenzy surrounding “non-fungible tokens”.

This Wednesday, former reality TV star Paris Hilton was present in Las Vegas, on the occasion of CES 2022, the great mass dedicated each year to new technologies. During a conference entitled “NFT, WTF? ! ? ! ” (non-fungible tokens (1): what the fuck), she came to praise these digital tokens, in front of an audience of crypto-converted entrepreneurs, whom she considers “The future of the creative economy”.

These links to digital objects, which can be sold or bought in a decentralized and secure way thanks to the blockchain, are all the rage in the world of art and entertainment. Smelling the right vein, Paris Hilton posted a text glorifying NFTs on his website last August. In this real manifesto he states that I am “A way to innovate, to push the boundaries of the way artists interact with their fans” or that them “Democratize art”. A bit ironic when his latest tokenized digital works sold for over $ 1 million last April.

Cartoon image

It is a shame to note that Paris Hilton, who now claims to be an “iconic cryptocurrency queen”, maintains a caricature image of these NFTs. Your use of it, which is the one most often noticed by the media, is scandalously capitalist. But she’s not the only one who benefits from this financial windfall, since non-fungible tokens sold to a fortune are collected by the shovel. Singer Grimes, who is also Elon Musk’s girlfriend, pocketed $ 6 million with digital images accompanied by music. Nyan Cat, that meme depicting a galloping cat over a rainbow, cost $ 580,000.

This outrageous aspect of NFTs has led astray and overshadowed another that could be considered less treacherous and closer to the initial blueprint of the authors of this technology. In a world increasingly marked by the algorithms of music streaming platforms and where concerts are canceled by the pandemic, they can, for example, be a real financial leverage for independent artists grappling with visibility.

A special tax regime

In France, Paris MP Pierre Person, former president of the Youth with Macron and former number 2 of LREM, has decided to address this issue. In September he he tabled a number of amendments in the financial law 2022, aimed at defining the tax regime of crypto-assets. It’s thanks to him: with the presidential elections approaching, the digital issue is struggling to emerge in our political debates. But the image of NFTs that the young walker clings to is more than that presented by Paris Hilton.

In the amendment dedicated to non-fungible tokens, Pierre Person explains that he wants to “To exclude capital gains from the sale of digital assets from the general regime by creating an ad hoc regime for them”. Understanding: to be satisfied fiscally with these NFTs which are nothing more than speculative objects. This liberal indulgence can be explained. The deputy uses Sorare as a pretext, a company that uses this technology and which in September carried out the largest fundraiser in the history of French technology: 580 million euros. Specifically, it’s a game where you can buy footballer stamps and then resell them once they have increased in value based on the athletes’ performance in real life. The start-up now has more than 60,000 players and the most expensive cards sell for tens of thousands of euros.

As pleasant as it is for the French economy to have a national champion in an emerging sector and, if we find it “promising”, some reservations should be made. When it comes to such large sums, shouldn’t the NFT market be regulated instead? In this sense, one can ask whether Pierre Person’s amendments are going in the right direction. If he is convinced that these crypto-assets “They are the basis of Web 3.0”, some see it only as a bubble that risks bursting at any moment. Recently, the illustrious Brian Eno said he saw no less than the phenomenon “thieves looking for pigeons”. An opinion that certainly overlooks the virtuous aspect that NFTs could have for emerging artists, but it can lead to reflect on their potential emptiness. At least until they are regulated.

(1) Non-fungible token: it is a certificate of ownership, evaluated because it is unique, on a digital object. The latter is he reproducible, indefinitely.

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