Documentary filmmaker Dan Olsen has published a video on YouTube called Line Goes Up, and this viral video points out more than a few uncomfortable truths about NFTs. This type of backlash was perhaps inevitable amidst the unrelenting hype surrounding these non-fungible tokens. However, it seems as though many crypto and NFT enthusiasts were caught completely off guard by Olsen’s points, with many average investors who were considering buying NFTs are now having second thoughts.
It’s a Long Watch
The first thing you need to know about Line Goes Up is that it is a comprehensive investigation of not just NFTs, but also cryptocurrencies, art, video games, and even historical examples of financial misconduct. Don’t expect this to be a quick, 10-minute video that you can breeze through on a coffee break. At almost 140 minutes, this documentary is longer than many feature films. That being said, Dan holds your attention quite well, and it never really gets boring. There is some redundancy as Olsen attempts to “hammer home” the same points, but for the most part, he takes you on an intriguing, deep dive into the world of NFTs and what he believes to be their glaring issues.
A Brief Summary of Line Goes Up
In case you don’t have time to watch the entire video, here’s a general synopsis:
Dan starts off by talking about the 2008 mortgage crash, clearly implying that the NFT market is headed for a similar downturn. He points out that it was the working class who really suffered due to this crash, while the baking elite basically escaped unscathed. Olsen makes the point that a similar situation could play out with the NFT market.
Before talking about NFTs, Dan tackles the subject of cryptocurrencies. This is because he believes that they are essentially two sides of the same coin, and that the NFT market as a whole exists to promote crypto – and not much else. His main point is that when cryptocurrencies first emerged, they were hailed as a way to address many of the world’s major issues, including inflation, security, autonomy, and centralization. Dan claims that many of these promises have failed to materialize.
When he gets around to tackling the subject of NFTs, he points out that the concept of digital scarcity has been completely misrepresented, stating:
“Claims of digital scarcity apply only to the token itself, not the thing the token signified. More than that, there was no cryptographic relationship between the images and the tokens. The image associated with the token could be easily altered or replaced if the person with access to the server that the image was hosted on just changed file names, making the relationship between the two tenuous and flimsy in a way that undermined the claims that this was somehow a more durable, reliable way of transacting digital art.”
Are NFTs a Ponzi Scheme?
Dan’s main point is simple: he believes that NFTs are a massive ponzi scheme. Throughout the entire documentary, he refers to the market as a “bigger fool” scam, and by the end he clearly compares them to MLMs:
“[…] [NFTs] represent the vanguard of a worse system. The whole thing, from OpenSea fantasies for starving artists to the buy-in for Pay to Earn games, it’s the same hollow, exploitative pitch as MLMs. It’s Amway, but everywhere you look people are wearing ugly-ass ape cartoons.”