villains looking for pigeons? – Liberation

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

On Wednesday, former reality TV star Paris Hilton was present in Las Vegas on the occasion of CES 2022, the high fair that is dedicated to new technologies every year. During a conference entitled “NFT, WTF?!?!” (non-fungible tokens (1): what the hell), she came to praise these digital tokens in front of an audience of crypto-converted entrepreneurs that she considers to be “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 blockchain, are all raging in the world of art and entertainment. Paris Hilton sniffed the right vein and published a text glorifying the NFTs on its website last August. In this veritable manifesto, she states that they are “a way to innovate, pushing the boundaries of how artists interact with their fans” or that they “democratize art”. Slightly ironic, when his latest tokenized digital works sold for over $ 1 million last April.

Cartoon image

It is unfortunate to note that Paris Hilton, who now claims to be an “iconic crypto queen”, maintains a caricature of these NFTs. The use of it, which is the one most often noticed in the media, is outrageously capitalist. But it is not the only one who benefits from this economic windfall, as the non-fungible tokens sold for a fortune are collected by the shovel. Singer Grimes, who is also in a relationship with Elon Musk, pocketed $ 6 million with digital photos accompanied by music tracks. Nyan Cat, the meme depicting a galloping cat on a rainbow, went for $ 580,000.

This outrageous aspect of NFTs has led astray and obscured another that could be considered less treacherous and closer to the initial project of the authors of this technology. In a world that is increasingly characterized by the algorithms of music streaming platforms, and where concerts have been canceled by the pandemic, they can, for example, be a real economic lever for independent artists struggling with visibility.

A special tax scheme

In France, the deputy of Paris Pierre Person, former president of the Youth with Macron and former number 2 of the LREM, decided to address this issue. In September he tabled a number of amendments in the Finance Act of 2022, which aims to define the tax regime for cryptocurrencies. It is to his credit: With the approach to the presidential election, the subject is struggling digitally to emerge in our political debates. But the image of the NFTs that the young hiker clings to is more that presented by Paris Hilton.

In the amendment on non-fungible tokens, Pierre Person explains that he wants “exclude capital gains from the sale of digital assets from the general scheme by creating an ad hoc scheme for them”. Understand: be tax-savvy with these NFTs, which are nothing but speculative objects. This liberal gentleness can be explained. The deputy takes as a pretext Sorare, a company that uses this technology and which in September carried out the largest fundraising in the history of French technology: 580 million euros. Specifically, it is a game where you can buy football stamps and then resell them when they have increased in value in relation to the athletes’ performance in real life. The start-up now has more than 60,000 players and the most expensive cards are sold for tens of thousands of euros.

No matter how gratifying it is for the French economy to have a national champion in a budding field, and if we think it is “promising”, it is appropriate to express some reservations. When it comes to such huge sums, shouldn’t the NFT market be regulated instead? In that sense, one might wonder if Pierre Person’s amendments are going in the right direction. If he is convinced that these crypto-assets “is the foundation of Web 3.0”, some see it only as a bubble that risks bursting at any moment. Recently, the famous Brian Eno declared that he saw in the phenomenon nothing less than “villains looking for pigeons”. An opinion that certainly overlooks the virtuous aspect that NFTs could have for new artists, but which can lead to reflection on their potential emptiness. At least as long as they are not regulated.

(1) Non-fungible token: this is a certificate of ownership, valued because it is unique, for a digital object. The latter is reproducible to him, to infinity.

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