NFTs And Tulipmania: A Little Bit Of History Repeating

We were not surprised to read that a company that tracks NFTs declared that most NFTs are now worthless. But the NFT — non-fungible token — market was huge, so around 23 million people invested in NFTs that are now worth nothing. Worse still, the company notes that because of oddities in how NFTs are priced, the real number of worthless assets is probably even greater than they think.

It is easy to look back and think that it was obvious. After all, an NFT of the Mona Lisa isn’t really the Mona Lisa. Nor does owning it confer any real benefit other than “bragging rights” of owning an NFT of the Mona Lisa. But that’s like saying Luke should have known Darth Vader was his father — it’s only evident after the fact. History is replete with bad ideas at the time that paid out down the road. Of course, history is also full of bad ideas that were simply bad ideas. For every Apple or Google stock you didn’t buy at $4 a share, there are a hundred $4 stocks that you shouldn’t have bought.

The Virus

The NFT craze was sort of a viral event. We usually think of these as part of the Internet culture, but that’s not really true. There is actually very little new on the Internet. The Internet just lets things reach further and faster than before.

Don’t believe me? Kilroy was a viral meme in the 1940s. Fads such as hula hoops, phone booth stuffing, and flagpole sitting were the ice bucket challenges of their day. But, of course, these things weren’t economic. Just fun fads. But economic fads that turn out to be a bad idea are nothing new, either.


Tulip from the 1881 Book “Flora of Haarlem”

The most famous and possibly first economic bubble was the 17th-century tulipmania that infected Holland. We think of tulips as distinctly Dutch, but it turns out they originated in central Asia and only made their way to Holland somewhere in the 16th century. The Dutch loved tulips and started cultivating them, with different rare varieties having more value.

To add to the fun, you couldn’t tell what kind of tulip would come out of a bulb, especially since — as we know now — some of the more prized varieties had color variations caused by a virus in the bulb. At first, it was a bit of a game for the rich. However, it soon spread to the merchant class and beyond.

By 1634, everyone wanted in on the action. A single bulb could go for 5,000 florins. The florin’s value is hard to know for sure today, but one estimate based on the price of beer is that a florin is worth about $240 in today’s money. So a 5,000 florin bulb would have bought a lot of beer.


Everyone wanted in. The price of tulip bulbs just kept rising, seemingly without an end in sight. Sound familiar? People started buying tulip bulbs on credit, just like you buy stocks on margin, hoping the stock’s gain will let you repay the loan.

The problem, in hindsight, is inevitable. By 1637, prices dropped. Futures on tulip bulbs were now “upside down,” which was especially problematic if you bought them on margin. Bankruptcy and a supply glut ensued. Eventually, the government would allow tulip contracts to be voided at a fraction of their face value.

There is some debate among historians about the actual scale of the financial impact of this on the Dutch economy. Some say it nearly wiped the country out, while others say it affected only a small number of traders. But few disagree that it was a bubble. Investors acted irrationally, came to their senses, and then destroyed the overvalued market. Some think it was just the free market. Something is rare and expensive. Production ramps up to capitalize on the trend. Then supply is great, and prices drop. Perhaps. But if you spend enough on a single tulip bulb that will flower for a week and pay what it would cost to buy a mansion, it sounds like mania to us. At least an NFT of a tulip will last for a very long time.

A Fine Line

There is a fine line between knowing that something will be valuable and chasing a bubble. For example, if you could foresee the growth of cell phones, investing in towers would have been great — the rent to put an antenna on a tower can be $30,000 a year. But you are probably sorry you tooled up to make pet rock houses or Google Glass accessories.

We waited too late for our Jolly Wrencher NFT!

Part of it, of course, is knowing when to get out. If you dumped your bulbs before prices dropped, you probably made a killing. Even cell phone towers will eventually lose value if everything goes to satellite. The thing about cell phone towers is that it is a rational expense and a rational change. With tulips and NFTs, the price is driven not by value but by emotion, and then the change is just a return to rationality, not a natural progression.

So, what’s the next big investment? We don’t know, but if we did, we’d have more money to spend on hacker toys. We tried our hand at minting NFTs (not really; it was, after all, April 1st). We aren’t sure about the fad value of cryptocurrency, but our Raspberry Pi is hard at work.

Featured image: “Tulips” by Kris Runstrom.

123 thoughts on “NFTs And Tulipmania: A Little Bit Of History Repeating

  1. It is easy to look back and think that it was obvious. After all, an NFT of the Mona Lisa isn’t really the Mona Lisa. Nor does owning it confer any real benefit other than “bragging rights” of owning an NFT of the Mona Lisa. But that’s like saying Luke should have known Darth Vader was his father — it’s only evident after the fact.

    For those of us who steered well clear of NFTs, that statement is very incorrect. It. Was. Obvious.

    1. Agree. At least in my circle I don’t know anyone that purchased an NFT. But most of them said something like “um I’m supposed to buy a not-thing? For real money?! That….can’t work.”
      And they were ultimately right.

        1. You mean, like during the “dot com bubble” in the 1990s? Because yes, the same thing happened, even though the stock markets are all government-regulated. But also, if you manage to buy all of the shares of stock in a company, you actually own the company’s assets. Not so with NFTs – there, you still own exactly nothing.

      1. And my friends in the 90s said “I’m supposed to buy a book ONLINE, when I can just go to my local Borders and buy the same thing? “That…. Can’t work”

        There are plenty of NFTs that are less “nothing” than stuff people buy every day.
        It’s easy to poopoo something you don’t understand. Yes, most NFTs are worthless ledger items. But thinking all NFTs are “nothing” and a fad is like giving up on email because a majority of it is spam.

        1. What?

          You’re just making that up.
          Then again: Association, your friends are also likely morons…

          Hint: You didn’t lose money on your NFTs until you sell them. Until then you are just waiting for the market to ‘correct’. Good luck.

        2. There’s so many channels and outlets for NFTs because it’s a technology. Here’s two as quoted from my response below –

          “Starbucks is using them, look up Starbucks Odyssey. The DJ deadmau5 is using them to grant guest list and merchandise to his shows too.”

          1. The NFT is just the ticket to the loyalty program. I’m not in it, but have seen the benefits far outweigh the cost of entry. Ie. I believe NFT was $25 and in their first month they received 30 days of free coffee. Since it’s exclusive, the secondary value of the NFT has increased too. Try seeing the forest through the trees “dude”

    2. It was obvious and lots of people fell for it (which is why you should have minted them and got somebody to buy them from you, why didn’t you instrumentalize your esoteric knowledge of the future?!)

      1. Why would anyone devote their energy to being an internet scammer? Sure you’d have money but everyone would think you’re a trashy weirdo and it wouldn’t be fun at all. Capitalism may be a race to the bottom, but that doesn’t mean I have to try to win.

        1. …Uhhh for the money? “Everyone would think you’re a trashy weirdo”—just say you made money in tech (technically true, and often just as much of a scam).

          Blaming vague “capitalism” is enormous cope. As if people didn’t have hustles and grifts before the East India Tea Company or something. Utterly ahistorical.

          1. Anon: If we have to explain status symbols, you are beyond hope.

            Hint: It involves a body part that shares a name with cats and the fraction of that part’s owner operators that are impressed by status.

    3. Well me personally? I thought NFTs were a terrible idea and, like you, I was right. But I also walked into a Seattle Starbucks years ago and thought, “This will never go anywhere. Who’s going to pay this much for coffee?” So my point isn’t that everyone thought NFTs were great. My point was it is easier to pick the winners from the losers after the game is over.

      1. The key is that something like 99.9% are losers. I forget the stat on penny stocks but the number of 9s that remain worthless was about the same as then9s you’d want to see on a good SLA.

        For every dollar you turn into $10 on a new fad like NFTs, you’ll lose hundreds more.

    4. Cryptocurrencies are the same – they have worth only because there are stupid people ready to spend their money and resources to get them. Just another tulipmania.

      Even Mona Lisa has such a great value because we praise (and price) it as a work of art. As soon as we end up in zombie apocalypse, it would be worth less than a sturdy pair of boots and an ax. ;-)

        1. Perceived value, but mostly heat. Which is the opposite of efficient. Efficiency, in all cases where the desired product is not heat, can be defined as (energy in – heat out) / energy in.

        1. Real money is not the same, really. Its value is backed up by governments and institutions, and that’s why it works. As long as those governments and institutions can keep their promises, the value of money will stay true. And because of that we can exchange money for goods and services with guarantee that the prices won’t change from day to day by more than a few percent.

          OTOH no one and nothing guarantees the value of cryptocurrencies. Only supply and demand determines their values and there is no controlling body that will protect their exchange rates from being manipulated. That’s why bitcoin for example, suffers from bad case of hyperinflation and hyperdeflation – exchanges and scammers often use manipulation and speculation to artificially change its value. If any country or institution tries to do that with real money, they will be punished by other countries and institutions.

          1. Actually bitcoin is fairly resistant to people manipulating it but it’s definitely subject to massive swings from insane levels of lets say “enthusiasm”. Other crypto currencies honestly seem to have a pretty high rate of pump and dump and other fairly obvious schemes and manipulations.

            That said, government backed currencies are far from fool-proof. Just look at the effect handing out trillions of dollars had in only a couple years (massive inflation). The .gov likes to claim they are helping the lower class/poor with schemes like that but when the inflation hits its the poorest that get hit the hardest. Those on fixed incomes and those who spend a majority of their income on rent/car/food etc are really screwed. Property owners can’t just eat the inflation so they pass it on and rent goes up (us home owners are just happy we bought and are not renting) and now buying are car is insane.

            I used to always buy a couple year old off lease used car. You saved a fortune over buying new and still had the majority of the vehicles useful life left. Now used cars are barely cheaper then new, used car loan rates have crested 10% and a decent 2-3yo used car is still 25-30k$. Financing a used car at 10%+ for 30k is absolute insanity. This will be the first time I’ve ever bought new and it will be twice the price of what I usually paid for an equivalent car just 10-15 years ago, but its the best choice. I bought a 2008 infiniti G35x in 2011 with 35k on it for 22k. The similar buy today would be a 2020 Q60 and that ranges between 35k and 40k depending on features and mileage. So a 60-65% increase in cost over a similar class vehicle you’d have purchased 10-12 years ago.

            I’m going with a tesla model Y LR. After the discounts and gas savings it’s cheapest in its class and a blast to drive.

          2. “If any country or institution tries to do that with real money, they will be punished by other countries and institutions.”

            Like a certain country staring with “C”.

          3. >government backed currencies are far from fool-proof

            Incompetence of the administration is a different matter. The reason why fiat currency is worth something is because the issuer always has to buy it back to pay the original debt as it expires. Of course you can trick yourself by paying the debt with more debt, and governments like to keep on adding debt to cause inflation, because inflation is taxation by the back door – but that’s a different matter again. The fundamental idea is that if you give out an IOU to buy something, you must accept the IOU back as payment for something you do, so all money that is ever made in this way completes a two-way exchange: you get something and they get something back, and the money itself ultimately vanishes as it’s no longer needed.

            Cryptocurrencies are made with no such obligation or any mechanism that would make the money go away, so the issuer gets free stuff by selling the cryptocoin and then never has to accept it back, and the “money” is left circulating forever. Buying stuff with Bitcoins for example is more like buying a car with a case full of Monopoly money – if the seller believes it’s real money, you get a car, and they get to chase someone else dumber than they were to recoup the loss.

          4. Of course, the counter-argument goes that if you and I both agree that Monopoly money is real money, then it is money.

            But that would be stupid, since it’s toy money. We might as well be trading with glass beads or bottle caps. Why would we make such an arrangement? Unless, one of us was trying to fool the other, knowing that glass beads or bitcoins are really worthless.

  2. You sort of hint at something with “if you dumped your bulbs before prices dropped” that I think is worth expanding on. A non-zero number of people knew that nft’s were a bubble and got in precisely because they wanted to get in, make some money, and get out. This is activity related to rent-seeking: the rational effort to siphon off some of the money flowing without actually adding any value. Related behavior, of using capital to buy the ability to extract money, is a chunk of what Cory Doctorow has been calling the enfecesication (to avoid filters) of the internet, and society at large.

        1. Not that obscure, but usually refers restricting the asset (lol in this case) to make long-term profits without adding any value (eg land, copyright, etc) not simply flipping it as fast as possible.

    1. I use the term “the rake”. That’s what it is called at a casino. It’s the percentage the house takes whenever money moves one direction or another. The house doesn’t actually care which gambler makes or loses money they take a percent either way. Same with Wall Street. Same with a lot of stuff.
      And your analysis is correct- really dumb people bought NFTs (or bitcoin or whatever) and instead of selling it for a huge profit for even greedier and now have zero to show for it. It’s astounding “no one” saw this coming. Did they really think making money was that easy!? What an education they got. The “smart” ones bought it then sold when it rose somewhat in (perceived) value, made a modest but real sum then moved on.

      1. >Did they really think making money was that easy!?
        There are a significant number of people who have no viable way to get out of the socioeconomic situation that they’re in. A lot of those people play lottery or do other things that, to those of us who are doing well, look irrational.
        And of course there are a whole lot of total grifters out there, who think hey this is easy money.

        1. The expected value of playing lottery is always negative regardless of your socioeconomic situation. The poorer you are, the more irrational it becomes since the proportional losses relative to your income are greater. In fact, the whole point of a lottery is to be an “idiot tax” that preys on the desperate – that’s why many governments have monopolized such gambling systems entirely.

          1. That’s the thing, if you’re legitimately desperate you don’t have to be an idiot to consider it. Like, if you rationally believe that you need something you could never afford any other way (education, medicine, house not full of mold, etc) then a dice roll between getting rich or going bankrupt is a bit more valid than when someone with a steady job and a family goes into massive debt for no reason.

          2. > if you’re legitimately desperate you don’t have to be an idiot to consider it

            Yes you would, because your chances of winning are astronomically tiny. If money is your only way out of trouble, then doing just about anything else would make more sense, up to and including using your last dollar for wiping your bottom. It’s more comfortable and effective for toilet paper than the thermal printer slip of a losing lottery ticket.

  3. A pretty flower for a week or a link to a website that might last more than a week.

    Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

    Although tulips are perennials, so I get a flower ever year! Gosh, what to choose…

    As @Pete said we knew NFTs were stupid, just like anything blockchain or crypto.

    1. Crypto is awesome because it allowed a bunch of lucky autistic people to suddenly become extremely rich and influential on a one-time basis and also because it will eternally torment those who seethe about it not being “real” (meaning that they are angry they cannot do the same thing). It is a global work of performance art, jest, and force of will.

      1. I was going to mine BitCoin for the amusement factor way back when it was a nerd thing on SlashDot, but thought “this is dumb” and ran Seti@Home instead.

        No regrets, I know I’d have lost the wallet keys anyway.

    2. “As @Pete said we knew NFTs were stupid, just like anything blockchain or crypto.”

      Obvious and stupid. NFTs at least don’t burn (much) energy. Just a P.T. Barnum aberration. :)

      But what grinds me … We have a crypto operation in town that is using two times the energy of the “entire” city. So much more reducing energy loads…. Yet the ‘climate’ crowd seems to think this waste of energy is perfectly ‘ok’. Quite amazing really as all that computing is just turned into heat. Gotta love it.

      1. What’s actually interesting is that crypto mining could actually make renewable energy economical and less traumatic to the grid. Excess power? Mine some crypto. Grid paying more for power than I’m getting for crypto? dump power into the grid. You’re “wasting” the energy which seems bad, but it also effectively load-balances power generation across the planet, which is fascinating.

        1. Yes, if the silly panels and wind were attached directly to the operation and that is all they could use, I would have no problem with that. It’s not the way it works though… the energy goes over power lines which have to be sized to pass the energy. Costs involved. Something is ‘producing’ all those megawatts.

          Instead, you could ‘back off’ on the power being produced reducing the energy usage and what climate activists call green house gases. For hydro, you just let the pond fill a little higher for the next surge in usage (energy storage). Coal, the plants back off. For renewables you fill batteries. You don’t have to ‘consume’ it — store it.

          As for crypto in general it just seems to be a silly idea. More like money laundering scheme to me…. No thank you.

        2. I’m always fascinated coming across a group of people calling something stupid when they probably have very little firsthand experience. Yes, there was a pricing frenzy a couple years back, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still value in the technology. This tech is part of the next phase of the internet. The Mona Lisa isn’t a good example as the medium was paint and canvas. Today’s digital creators have a new medium and it’s NFTs with proven authority and ownership. Just look at the one that was recently added this month to MoMA’s permanent collection. It’s beautiful and owned by them. Who cares if you want to right click save, you have no provenance. It’s only the beginning and it will change all digital assets.

          1. Enjoy your Kool-Aid. We already had a mechanism for ownership of intellectual works: it’s called copyright. This is nothing new, because this was the same problem for authors, forever: once someone has a copy of your book, they can make copies of that book that are indistinguishable from the one they bought, at a fraction of the work that went into writing it. Same for composers, and once sound recording became possible, for musicians. Throwing a currency with no stable value into the mix just screws the artists, every time.

          2. @brightbluejim
            If you would have said Creative Commons instead of Copyright, I may have paid more attention.ive been drinking the Kool aid since 2017. My guess is you’re judging the taste based on its color.

        3. >Excess power? Mine some crypto.

          It would be far more sensible to put the excess power into hot rocks and boiling water than blowing it out as waste heat in a server farm. That way you could recover it back to use later.

      2. Who, pray tell, thinks that crypto mining is ok for the climate? I’ve never heard this once and it sounds like you’re making it up. The two biggest arguments against crypto are 1- it’s unbacked / speculative, 2- it’s a waste of electrical resources

        1. Unfortunately its a thing, sometimes called a virtual battery. The idea is they consume cheap power generated by solar and wind when those things are in excess, generating a load on the grid and a market for the excess power. Then turn it off when other load sources come on or renewables are not available and other more expensive sources are used. This idea usually ignores the fact that the capital costs of building a massive mining outfit are very large and a mining setup has a limited time window to earn that back, so the cost of power, the cost of hardware, and the cost of crypto would all need to be perfectly balanced to make mining during off peak times but not during any other time worth it. Because if those values are not set right mining during peak times and holding the crypto waiting for it to go up might be more cost effective than letting your expensive system stay shutdown. Or it might only incentivize adding the same amount of solar to an area as needed to supply the new needs of the miner resulting in addition of capacity but no offset of old capacity.

          1. The concept of the virtual battery really isn’t a battery – it just means diluting renewable power into a larger grid that can absorb the variations, so you can export and import from other markets.

            A crypto operation is not a battery, since it doesn’t give you energy back, or anything else really. It just turns energy into low grade waste heat. It’s a dump load.

  4. NFTs were very simply about riding the wave and never being the guy who holds the bag. Getting rich off hype and sucker money. If you are disappointed by this and think that it was ever about the “artwork” or any other kind of product, I have some very bad news for you about the 1.0 economy. You are not going to like it

        1. Not at all like capital. Capital is the means of production. What you are talking about is just trading. NFT minters/sellers don’t contribute to production in any way.

          1. Capital includes the means of production and also anything value that can be traded for means of production. Paintings are capital but aren’t a means of production.

          2. > Paintings are capital

            No. A painting is an investment of capital with an expectation of return of more capital, but not capital in itself. Capital is “those durable produced goods that are in turn used as productive inputs for further production”. Money represents value in the economy, so it is considered capital, whereas a painting is just a painting – perfectly useless as it were. A painting becomes capital through selling it to someone who prefers the painting over some productive assets.

          1. I’d same the same to you. I’d guess you’re one of the many self-proclaimed “capitalists” who owns little to no capital but works for “socialists” who do.

          1. Neoliberalism is just a modern incarnation of Laissez-faire Capitalism, i.e. Reaganomics or Trickle-Down.

            Saying the purest form of Capitalism isn’t Capitalism is ignorant or disingenuous.

          2. Sorry, price with value. Point being, the neoliberal idea tries to measure everything in terms of GDP rather than real capital, so it ultimately can’t tell the difference between productive and non-productive activities. It only counts the numbers going up by whatever means.

          3. >Laissez-faire Capitalism, i.e. Reaganomics or Trickle-Down.

            A major difference between Laissez-faire and Reaganomics is that the latter still controls the economy through the money supply, which is decidedly not Laissez-Faire.

    1. If you think Capitalism isn’t exemplified by a purely competitive free market of supply and demand without regard for intrinsic value or any regulatory guardrails, I’d like to know how you define Capitalism and what school has “Economics 101” instead of a few years each of macroeconomics, microeconomics, and finance. I am sorry that actual science disagrees with whatever you learned in elementary school, but your 5th grade “Economics 101” teacher isn’t more authoritative than an entire field of study.

      1. > free market of supply and demand without regard for intrinsic value

        It would be free, but not capitalism. The entire point of capitalism is the ownership of the means of production, which involves at least some regard of the intrinsic and productive value of the assets you have. Owning means of non-production such as NFTs isn’t capitalism – it’s just a market failure due to the irrationality of the people involved.

    1. Yeah it’s very obviously a stupid idea. The only people who thought it was some kind of revolutionary & real thing are people who didn’t understand what it was at all (a nerd hyperlink to a png that people “can’t steal” (they totally can))

      1. TG, I challenge you to steal any/all of my NFTs. When you’re finished, I’d then like to see you authenticate them back to the original creator. Oh wait…you can’t 🤷‍♀️

        1. Why would I even want your NFTs?

          Whatever digital asset you’re trying to “own” with your NFTs, I can copy and upload somewhere for people to have, completely disregarding the fact that you have an NFT. It’s not even a legal form of transferring copyright (or patents, or any legal ownership really) from one person to the next because the copyright law doesn’t recognize it as such – so if you bought an NFT of a copyrighted something, or something that was in the public domain explicitly or implicitly, you actually bought nothing whatsoever.

          It’s very hard to think up of a case where an NFT would actually do something other than waste your money.

          1. Here’s an easy example – NFTs can represent a new participation in a creator/company loyalty program. Starbucks is using them, look up Starbucks Odyssey. The DJ deadmau5 is using them to grant guest list and merchandise to his shows too.

            Everyone in this chat is so narrowly focused on the beanie baby model. Its not even an equivalent as those dumb beanbags came from one creator. NFTs have limitless potential and it’s only getting started.

            Also, copyright is moot as well. Some NFTs grant cc0 giving the owner complete creative control.Not my cup of tea, but the flexibility is there.

            Again, NFTs are technology and it’s up to you on how to use it. The amount of ignorance is making everyone sound geriatric 🤣

          2. Starbucks is selling NFT “collectibles”, which is yet another example of an attempted tulip mania, and the DJ is just using it for the hype – not for any practical reason as opposed to just a standard token like a concert ticket.

          3. >Some NFTs grant cc0 giving the owner complete creative control.

            Actually, CC0 amounts as abandonment of copyright, so the rights go to everyone, not just the owner of the NFT. You in fact cannot own the work if it’s in the public domain, so again the NFT counts for nothing.

          4. Dude….you’re a funny dude! You said NFTs don’t have any value and I gave you two simple ones that offer benefits for owning them (outside any resell value). To the starbucksoholic, they’re getting free coffee and access to coffee tours for $25. Deadmau5 is literally giving guest list access to his shows for owning an NFT that cost $100. The beautiful thing is that NFTs as a technology don’t need to have any monetary value associated to them for some returnable value. I could send you one right now that would give you access to a private community or website section.

            Also, I was only stating cc0 as a counterpoint to your copyright topic. Owning the Mona Lisa doesn’t transfer any copyright to me (not a timely example), but it also doesn’t negate my ability to resell it or charge you, specifically, more than others to see it.

          5. Here’s another great example that I’ve actually used –

            – Bought NFT X that comes with Physical Object Y
            – Physical Object Y costs $x.xx on their commerce site
            – Add Physical Object Y to cart
            – Connect web3 wallet to verify NFT X ownership
            – Subtract $x.xx from cart to zero balance
            – continue commerce flow for shipping details

  5. So If the value is outside the object of desire, inside of the observer, even the cycle, buy-profit-sell will have an unhappy end, would you do it even if your national currency is worthless? so when to start using our euros/dollar/pounds/Renminbis bills to light our campfire? So what is left then? Historically, I think is land,food,medicines,water, oil,natural resources.
    Anyway, that brings to mind the CBDC digital dollar, is really a thing?

  6. I always love when things are compared to Tulipmania.

    In 2022 tulip exports accounted for €256mil in the Netherlands. People talk as if tulip cultivation isn’t a thriving and stable industry.

    1. All true, though Tulipmania was an extreme example of the crazes that have regularly happen when something new, varied and exciting comes onto the market – remember the Cabbage Patch dolls?

      Many people lost fortunes because they had neither the wisdom to forsee, nor the experience to predict the outcome of the tulip bubble. The ultimate winners in the tulipmania debacle were the growers who ignored the insanity of the initial craze and quietly built up stocks of bulbs of stable cultivars for sale – the businessmen rather than the speculators.

      1. IIRC the worst recorded deal regarding Tulips was the trade of the Carlsburg brewery for a couple of bulbs. Just before the crash.

        The new owners of the brewery (that makes terrible bottled Alka-Seltzer) were the clear winners.

        Even referencing newer Dutch flower merchants is just stupid. What is the point of that? No, the Dutch were not right all along. Any among them that paid craze prices were bankrupted by the interest costs long before the modern greenhouse industry was built.

        1. > Even referencing newer Dutch flower merchants is just stupid. What is the point of that? No, the Dutch were not right all along.

          You’re right. There’s no money to be made growing and selling tulips. Only a fool would own a tulip farm. Wal-mart, Home Depot, Lowes, and all these other companies reselling tulips every year are clearly fools. /s

          > Any among them that paid craze prices were bankrupted by the interest costs long before the modern greenhouse industry was built.

          Cool. A lot of early ventures in electricity went bankrupt too. What is the point of that?

          > No, the engineers were not right all along. Any among them that paid craze prices were bankrupted by the interest costs long before the modern electricity industry was built.

          1. Your reduction to the absurd doesn’t work because it misses the whole argument.

            The market eventually recovered from the mania and nothing was won by it, because the rare tulips that caused the craze were later shown to be affected by a plant virus, so the bulbs and the futures they were gambling with weren’t even guaranteed to produce any returns from selling the special flowers.

      2. > remember the Cabbage Patch dolls?

        Remember? They’re still being made, sold, and bought. I bought an older one from Goodwill recently for $5 and resold it to a collector for $50.

        > the businessmen rather than the speculators.

        Exactly my point. Businessmen make money fairly reliably. Speculators are gambling and sometimes hit a jackpot but usually lose more than they make. The problem I have is people who apparently think tulips and Cabbage Patch dolls apparently don’t exist anymore or don’t have value.

        Remember black pepper? It was worth more per ounce than gold! Insanity. What sort of fool would try selling black pepper or any other spices in 2023!? Worthless. Nobody buys spices anymore, they were just a fad! /s

        1. Nobody buys spices? I have spices in my kitchen right now. I also have lots of aluminum, which also used to cost more than gold. Both are examples of things that were so useful, they were developed into cheap commodities. Not exactly fads.

  7. At least with tulips the appeal is obvious and they did reach the point where a sizable percentage of the Dutch target market owns them.

    I did think about trying to make and sell an NFT, but by the time I found out about them, John Cleese had beaten me to the idea of selling an NFT of the Brooklyn Bridge.

  8. Fast forward to garage sale and a box of computer stuff from the decedent containing a DVD sharpie scribbled with ‘The Merge’ (a $91.8m NFT). The owner being just a temporary impediment for final journey to the landfill.
    Or the decedent dies with the NFT safely encrypted on spinning(?) rust and no-one cares, no-one knows the password, also => landfill.

  9. As far as I can see, the only valid use of NFTs is as a datestamped proof of ownership of some intangible property of a real thing – such as copyright on an image or text. It is not the thing, but the oldest NFT based on that thing is essentially proof that you own the original.

    There is no value in it, other than as a certificate of authenticity to accompany the original.

    As to the NFT bubble – that, like cryptocurrency, always smelled of being an academic exercise that escaped into the wild – something interesting that, like the laser, was a solution looking for a problem to solve; and, like the laser, got turned from useful tool into scams, the banal and the trivial.

    As Bob (elsewhere in this lot) said: “I’d have lost the [crypto] keys, anyway”.

    1. Except it doesn’t really count. There’s a similar concept of the “poor man’s copyright” where you mail yourself a copy of the item in order to prove that you’ve had it since that date.'s_copyright
      >There is no provision in United States copyright law regarding any such type of protection. A work of original authorship is protected by United States copyright law once it is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. According to section 412 of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 (17 U.S.C. 408), registration of a work with the Copyright Office is a prerequisite for copyright protection. Poor man’s copyright is therefore not a substitute for registration.

    2. > the oldest NFT based on that thing is essentially proof that you own the original.

      Proving that it is the oldest NFT is the difficult bit, since it involves proving a negative: that there aren’t any older NFTs in existence.

  10. The same goes for cryptocurrencies. They are speculative (gambling) instruments with no inherent value which will only rise after finding “greater fools” to buy them and increase their price. However, for the creator of a cryptocurrency, it’s easy money. Create a new one, mine a bunch when it’s easy to do so, and then wait for fools to trade “real money” for them. That’s why there are 9,321 kinds of them as of August 2023:

    1. WWII (runup and hot) was funded by freshly printed money.

      Cryptocurrency is still the far better idea.
      Do accounting in money or megadeaths…Same answer.
      Stop stealth taxes to fund the nightmares of powergrubbers.
      We can’t trust government with the power to print money.
      Only pure math can save us.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.