The cofounder of Ethereum and the project’s spiritual head has issued a warning about the future of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, particularly the raging market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
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The price of ethereum, on which most NFTs are built, has skyrocketed, as has the price of ethereum competitors like as BNB, cardano, and solana. According to NFT exchange OpenSea, NFTs from one collection, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, sell for a minimum of $300,000 and are owned by celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon, Serena Williams, and Paris Hilton.
Buterin cautioned that bitcoin had “a lot of dystopian potential,” citing the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection in particular—”you have these $3 million monkeys, and it becomes a different form of gambling.”
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Billy Bambrough contributed to this article.
After finding bitcoin in 2013, Vitalik Buterin helped establish ethereum and has stayed extensively involved in the project as the price of ethereum and bitcoin has risen.
courtesy of Getty Images
In a wide-ranging interview with Time magazine, Buterin pointed to sky-high transaction fees and extravagant displays of riches by early bitcoin, ethereum, cardano, and solana investors, saying, “Crypto itself has a lot of dystopian potential if handled wrong.”
“The danger is that you have these $3 million monkeys, and it turns into a different form of gambling,” he explained. “There are a lot of folks who are just interested in buying yachts and Lamborghinis.”
Last year, a ferocious cryptocurrency rally catapulted the prices of bitcoin, ethereum, solana, cardano, dogecoin, and other coins to never-before-seen highs, making many inventors and traders instant billionaires, with the crypto market’s aggregate worth reaching $3 trillion by the end of 2021.
NFTs are crypto assets based on the blockchain that represent a digital object such as a piece of media, a picture, a movie, or even virtual world land. According to industry tracker DappRadar, overall NFT sales soared to an eye-popping $25 billion in 2021, although sales have slowed so far in 2022.
Following a massive rise through 2021 that saw… [+] bitcoin, solana cardano, dogecoin, and many other cryptocurrencies record triple-digit percentage increases, the ethereum price has paused in recent months.
“Ultimately, the objective of crypto isn’t to play games with million-dollar photographs of monkeys; it’s to do things that have real-world consequences,” Buterin explained. “The only things that get developed if we don’t speak up are the things that are instantly lucrative. And they’re frequently at odds with what’s best for the planet.”
Buterin corrected some of his statements after the interview was published, writing on Twitter, “I don’t hate apes, I simply want them to support public goods.”
The price of ethereum has risen beyond $3,000 this week as traders anticipate an impending upgrade that many believe would help the token climb much higher.
“Markets may realize in the coming months that ethereum is on track to become a global asset as adoption accelerates, the proof-of-stake transition transforms cash flows to real-income generation, and environmental concerns fade,” Jamie Douglas Coutts, a senior market structure analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote in an emailed note.