back to article 95% of NFTs now totally worthless, say researchers

Just a couple of years ago you'd have no trouble finding some celebrity hawking a non-fungible token (NFT) project. But how quickly times change, as now, even websites dedicated to gambling with cryptocurrency are warning people to stay away from NFTs. For those who don't recall, NFTs are entries on a blockchain, typically the …

  1. Mishak Silver badge

    95% of NFTs now totally worthless

    Along with 87% of all statistics.

    Though I never did "get" why/how they were ever going to be worth anything in the long-term (NFTs, that is).

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      The Gods of the Copybook Headings

      "And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire

      And yet my tulips flower year after year

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: 95% of NFTs now totally worthless

      The same way other collectibles with little or no use-value get elevated exchange-value. The information on baseball cards, for example, is readily available elsewhere; it's hard to see what use-value they have, unless you use one as a coaster or to make a sound effect for your bicycle. Their value is all in exchange.

      Same thing with, say, collecting stamps (particularly canceled ones, or others that couldn't be used for postage).

      That doesn't make NFTs not stupid, of course. At least with baseball cards and stamps there used to be, and presumably still is, a pretty large community of collectors, and there were social events like sales and swap meets organized around collecting; and they're physical objects so you can perform physical activities with them such as putting them into albums. NFTs lack even those virtues.

    3. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

      Full disclosure please

      As well as the fraction now valued at zero, can we also have an estimate on the difference between first / peak sale price and estimated current resale value of the ones that are not valued at zero?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh wow, such a shock.

    That anyone was dim enough to buy them.


    You'd have to be a moron or a scammer to have been involved in buying and selling receipts for a number on a computer that was somhow linked to crappy, childlike, crayon art.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: oh wow, such a shock.

      True. On the other hand, there are many people out there "collecting" all sorts of shit, gambling that in the future it will be in demand and they have "originals", in unopened packaging. Same with crypto currency. Some of those few early adopters probably made a fortune out of mining Bitcoin and hanging onto it instead of selling up early. I think you are probably right about NFTs, but really, there was a chance some may have taken off in some form and that's the gamble people are prepared to take. The sensible ones will look at risk and returns and only spend what they can afford to lose.

      I still upvoted you though since, yeah, the odds of NFTs being anything other than a very short term investment at the height of the hype were obviously incredibly low to almost anyone with two or more brain cells to rub together :-)

    2. Col_Panek

      Re: oh wow, such a shock.

      "Well, I didn't see that coming." --Stevie Wonder

  3. Derezed


    Nobody saw this coming. I am flabbergasted. Clearly NFTs are just better than fiat and are so much more fungible. My friend Brad sold me an nft of an adorable Roger smoking crack for $20k and now you say it’s worthless? Whatever.

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: Shocked

      You should have gone for Panda Roger, that one is going to hold its value!

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Shocked

        "I've been disappointed in get-rich-quick schemes before, but here's a scheme that will get me rich, and quickly!"

  4. Ace2 Silver badge


    “Now” would imply that things were different in the past.

    And the percentage seems low to me…

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: “Now”?

      As with many things, the "value" existed because other people believed there was value, and nothing else.

      All it needed was for everyone to realise the emperor actually was naked (to mix metaphors), but unfortunately it took longer than it should have.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: “Now”?

        Curious, how "whose investments are now worthless" sounds _so_ much better than "who lost their bet".

        Isn't there an old proverb about 'fools and money'?

      2. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

        Re: “Now”?

        Such an exercise in the distortion of meaning has become normal in anything crypto-prefixed.

        For example, translate crypto to English:

        while the NFT space has introduced a revolutionary new model for ownership and the monetization of digital assets, it remains a highly speculative and volatile market.

        Translates to

        NFTs were a pump-and-dump confidence scam from the outset.

      3. Johnr

        Re: “Now”?

        I have a direct lie on some very valuable Beanie Babies

        1. Doctor Evil

          Re: “Now”?

          Upvoted for the typo (deliberately made or not)

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: “Now”?

          At least Beanie Babies you could throw at people. Hell, with enough of 'em, you could make a bean-bag chair. Can't do that with BAYCs.

      4. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

        Re: “Now”?

        Replace NFT with internet advertising...

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    All those who 'invested' in NFTs will now realise they were conned into spending money on basically a GIF file, but fair do's to those who managed to sell some fairly rudimentary art for large amounts of money to gullible people at the NFT high. As long as they were sensible enough to cash out any payment they received for the sale of NFTs to real money and didn't decide to keep it as crypto.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Not everyone was scammed. Metallica Trump used hers for money laundering.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Of course there were a number of savvy folks who hot-potatoed them and sold them on as soon as the price went up (or perhaps even, as you suggest, sold them at a nominal loss to launder ill-gotten gains, though I'd be shocked – shocked – to hear such a thing was done by any member of the upstanding Trump family).

        And there were a whole bunch more people who took the expedient route of stealing NFTs from poorly-secured wallets and immediately selling them on, then tumbling the cryptocurrency proceeds, and cashing out as much as they could. That's, like, one out of three stories on Web 3 is Going Just Great. So it's not like NFTs don't have any uses.

    2. that one in the corner Silver badge

      > they were conned into spending money on basically a GIF file

      Nope, you've missed the subtle distinction that all the value of NFTs relies upon.

      They didn't spend money on a GIF, the GIF was free for everyone to enjoy[1].

      What they bought was a note on a blockchain (hopefully, that blockchain is still being mined and hasn't just evaporated) and that note said they now owned this copy of a URL - i.e. they literally owned one copy of a sequence of characters that starts "http" - and the fact that, at the specific point in time when the note was made, the claim that said URL leads to a copy of the GIF in question. Where that same URL leads to now, or tomorrow, is one of the great imponderables[2]

      The value is all in understanding this chain of references and how its very ephemeral nature highlights the essence of Man's struggle against Nature. Or something like that. Maybe it was Man's Inhumanity Against Man[3]?

      [1] enjoyment is not guaranteed; the aesthetic appeal of a garish cartoon of a monkey may go down as well as - actually, no, it just goes down.

      [2] or it is just a 404 - damn, I should have sold NFTs to a 404 page and saved the hosting fees for the GIF! Is it too late?

      [3] if the NFT mongers had made that claim, they could have actually had a case for charging money for the things: "the art is in the process by which we ripped people off, it is a performance piece".

      1. Bebu Silver badge

        Really that daft?

        《What they bought was a note on a blockchain (hopefully, that blockchain is still being mined and hasn't just evaporated) and that note said they now owned this copy of a URL》

        I would have thought at least one or more crypto hash (eg sha256) or a signature of the gif file would be added to the blockchain entry. I have absolutely no idea how this nonsense was supposed to work but cleary didn't for the punters.

  6. Omnipresent Bronze badge


    Your AI killed your Monkeys.

  7. NoneSuch Silver badge

    We Need a Simpsons "Nelson" Icon


  8. HMcG

    I'm only surprised by the implication that 5% are still worth something.

    1. karlkarl Silver badge

      Indeed. Certainly exceeded my expectations!

      Reckon it is the pictures of monkeys or frogs that make up that 5%? Or perhaps even those coordinates (virtual land?) in ratty Unity3D games.

    2. Zack Mollusc

      Yes. I hope my nautical ennui primates are the ones still rapidly increasing in value. Maybe I should cash out now and put my money in Theranos AI Robotaxis inc?

  9. Christopher Reeve's Horse


    For crypto investors NFT's fulfilled a vital purpose - for a while at least. They provided the liquidity to the market that investors needed to sell their crypto currency assets. The whole thing is effectively a 'find an even bigger idiot' scam, and the people that are left holding this shit at the end have really lost out.

  10. spider from mars

    I have an NFT of the world's smallest violin to sell you.

    1. David 132 Silver badge




  11. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C

    First rule of poker

    If you can't spot the mug sitting at your table then it's probably you. In a semi-fungible sort of way.

  12. Jan 0 Silver badge

    Re: Tell your friends

    >Some readers ask us if they can support The Register through some kind of subscription. The best way to back El Reg and keep our journalism flowing is to spread the word on social media, tell a colleague, sign up for a Register account and our newsletters, and comment away on articles.

    That sounds like a recipe for EVEN MORE ADS!

    Satan, spare us! and **Bring our Dabsy back!**

    Yes, some of us would subscribe for ad free bliss.

    1. Rich 2 Silver badge

      Re: Tell your friends

      …and some of us would pay for a subscription if it meant The Reg dropping the bloody annoying American pretence.

      1. BenDwire Silver badge

        Re: Tell your friends

        Amen to that!

      2. Ace2 Silver badge

        Re: Tell your friends

        The *real* annoyance is all the limey bastards cluttering up the comments section!

        (Kidding obviously)

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Tell your friends

          The *real* annoyance is all the xenophobes cluttering up the comments section.

    2. Snapper

      Re: Tell your friends

      Forget Dabsy, get Ms Bee back!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Flak



  14. Tron Silver badge

    Take the Money and Run.

    Like all good cons, you hype, you sell to mugs, and you leave quietly by the back door.

  15. Dave Taflin

    NFT = Not F-ing There

    Still my favorite article on NFTs, and it has aged well:

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: NFT = Not F-ing There

      Yup, that's one for the ages.

  16. Grogan Silver badge

    Well, an asset with a NFT assigned to it is still the same image or object, so the actual difference in value between other copies is arbitrary. It wouldn't keep its exclusive value for long because there's no reason to keep caring.

    I laughed at the concept, because I couldn't give a fuck.

  17. MikeTheHill

    Revolutionary new model?

    "the NFT space has introduced a revolutionary new model for ownership and the monetization of digital assets"

    With quotes like that, dappGambl's are clearly part of the cult of bitcoin, so for them to say their favourite parrot is dead, must mean it is indeed very very dead.

  18. Howard Sway Silver badge

    crypto gambling website dappGambl now says that most are worthless.

    Well who could doubt the authority of a website whose homepage screams "Your Crypto Gambling Made Easy" at you? Except of course that they're right, although it's taken them a lot more time than those of us who instantly said what a load of worthless bullshit the whole idea was. I guess the idea is to say "don't waste your money on NFTs, they're worthless! Come and gamble it with us and win some other kind of digital token which definitely isn't also worthless no siree!".

    I doubt they'll be researching and publishing how much the mugs who hand them money are making on average.

  19. heyrick Silver badge

    a revolutionary new model for ownership

    Weird concept of "ownership".

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: a revolutionary new model for ownership

      It's a weird concept of "revolutionary", since getting people to pay for nothing is hardly new.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is sad, in that there is a very real need for digital art to be saleable, so that artists who put work into it can get money.

    Unfortunately Midjourney more than NFT scams, is probably going to destroy any perception that digital art took actual creative time and effort, and has real monetary value.

    1. Christopher Reeve's Horse

      Well, fortunately, the classic, old fashioned way of making digital art non-fungible still exists, and what's more it doesn't require a ridiculous amount of compute power and energy costs to process. Simply render the art as a single instance into meat-space. i.e. print it out.

      1. Dolvaran

        And of course the physical art world has been doing this for years - it's called a print!

        1. tiggity Silver badge


          A few days ago we visited a gallery & purchased a (small, relatively inexpensive) signed print by the artist (who also signed a book of hers we also purchased ).

          Whether these fall or rise on value is irrelevant* as we purchased them because we liked them: With reputable artists also the advantage of limited print runs & numbered copies, unlike "infinitely reproducible" NFT "art".

          The advantage being that (barring a house fire, theft or similar scenario) we keep them to enjoy (and when we are gone, physical objects** remain for the will recipients to do with as they see fit)

          * Some other prints have definitely gone up in value, e.g. we have a Hockney print & looked to buy another (different picture but from same "series" of print runs), all the print runs sold and the prices on offer were ludicrously high & not worth considering (the whole point of a print is it's a nice (relatively) cheap way for the non wealthy to get an art work (in the form of a decent quality copy) they like)

          ** Even if some NFTs etc. actually have a meaningful financial value I do wonder how many people will actually think about dealing with digital assets in their wills? - e.g. I wonder how many crypto wallets are sitting there, the owners dead and relatives totally unaware the wallet exists / what the credentials are (lets be realistic we may all want a long, but accidents and illness can strike at any time )

  21. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

    /giphy throw head back and laugh

  22. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    Before, it was just worthless.

    Next year it’ll probably come with a plea for you to consider taking it!

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Totally

      Yep. Even now, the authors of this study are probably offering pennies for worthless NFTs, which they can then turn around and sell to the next generation of suckers. I can practically smell the opportunisim from here. "We bought this collection for $0.01 apiece in 2023, we're selling them today for $20 apiece, just imagine what they'll be worth next year!"

  23. DS999 Silver badge

    Only 95%

    Well hopefully the other 5% will follow soon.

  24. BenDwire Silver badge

    I'm totally shocked ...

    ... said no-one with any common sense whatsoever.

  25. BartyFartsLast

    Tulips anyone?

    It's been pretty obvious since the inception that crypto and NFTs have been a game of pass the parcel with a live hand grenade, you really don't want to be holding it when the music stops.

  26. Ahosewithnoname

    I'm shocked!, shocked I say!

  27. Kurgan

    Just a nice site to browse...

    Have a look at this nice site:

    I'm not affiliated with it in any way, it's just a site I like to browse when I'm bored and I'm the mood of reading about idiots losing money.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Just a nice site to browse...

      Checking that site is one of the highlights of my day, to be perfectly honest. Not the only highlight, but whenever I see Molly's posted a new piece or two it brings a smile to my face.

      I feel a bit guilty about not being sadder about the tremendous waste of resources – energy, capital, inventiveness – being wasted on cryptocurrency and DeFi and the like, and about how it's used to enable criminal proceeds and bring hard currency to North Korea and so forth. But I can't help chuckling at Every. Damn. Story.

      (It's much the same with cryptocurrency research. I think blockchain is a Merkle Tree for babies, and cryptocurrency is an abysmal idea. But I've read a bunch of really fascinating papers about this area. Stupid in practice, intriguing in theory. It's the theology of computer science.)

  28. MrGreen


    There’s quite a few Bored Apes on this forum.

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. Jim Whitaker

    Oh dear, so sad, too bad

    I am so surprised and very disappointed.

  31. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    Last year it was NFT, this year its AI, im just not sure if next year its quantum computing.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      "im just not sure if next year its quantum computing."

      It is. And it isn't.

  32. Jabber 44

    Electronic Cat

    Hi - While you're here, can I interest you in a small electronic cat image... Very reasonably priced...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Electronic Cat

      "You wouldn't steal a car?"...unless it's freely copyable and the original owner still has his/her NFT proving ownership and no loss of his/her copy :-)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Electronic Cat

        No need to steal cat; As part of the Core Utilities it's freely available under GPLv3+.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Electronic Cat

      Is this cat transistorized, or does it use valves?

  33. Lazlo Woodbine


    One thing that's never in short supply is human greed, and stupidity.

    Luckily, there's always someone beavering away in new and interesting ways to separate the gullible from their liquid assets...

  34. arachnoid2

    Snake Oil has never been more popular.

    The internet was supposed to make people smarter, well that certainly didnt work did it DOH!

  35. wsm

    It's an improvement

    From 100% worthless to 95%. Can they keep this momentum?

    Those of us who didn't buy any of these things will remain amused, but relieved that reality has again intruded on another grift.

  36. Alter Hase

    Shortage of Greater Fools

    Obviously, there is a shortage of greater fools....

  37. Groo The Wanderer Bronze badge

    What a shock. When you buy nothing, not even copy protection of the NFT, you end up with nothing.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems like their estimates are off... about five per cent.

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