The world of tabletop gaming has been brushing up against the convoluted crypto scams known as NFTs lately. Quirky tabletop developer Exploding Kittens turned heads with their printable NFT marketing stunt. Wizards of the Coast had to warn a DAO to stop unauthorized use of Magic: The Gathering cards in their NFT card economy. However, this increased scrutiny and evaluation of this crypto scam has lead to some studios beginning to step away from entertaining the practice, including Call of Cthulhu publisher, Chaosium.
This announcement came from a blog post on Chaosium's official website. The post was made by the company's President, Rick Meints and it lays out the company's decisions and logic behind backing such a controversial practice. Meints mentions that Chaosium partnered with digital collectible platform VeVe back in 2019, which had minted and traded NFTs based on many different licenses such as Marvel, DC, Ghostbusters, etc.. Meints confesses that the very use of NFTs were relatively unknown when it came to the tabletop space, but stated that the partnership with VeVe was based on environmental conscientious decisions. He states that VeVe's Immutable X blockchain was carbon neutral and that the process of minting NFTs were done "off-chain" significantly reducing their carbon footprint in comparison to the more widely adopted Ethereum network.
However, in light of more widespread information about NFTs, cryptocurrency, and their highly predatory practices, Meints did confirm that Chaosium's future plans for NFTs will be shelved.
We understand that a lot has changed since we started down this road in 2019. The issues relating to NFTs are increasingly complex and controversial. In recent months, the debate has become prominent and contentious. Bad actors in this sphere have received widespread coverage. Many people are justifiably baffled, incredulous, and deeply skeptical.
Based on both our research and experience with them, we believe that VeVe is an ethical company, pioneering a new digital community for collectors which uses this distributed ledger technology in a legitimate, meaningful, and environmentally responsible way.
We appreciate that many of our fans are angry and disappointed. We hear you. Your concerns must be listened to and addressed. That is why, in cooperation with TYPE40 and VeVe, we have made the decision outlined above. We do not have another scheduled release on VeVe or any other NFT marketplace. We will never require anyone to own an NFT/digital collectible to enjoy any Chaosium product or game.
While this is ultimately a net positive in terms of positive spin for Chaosium, Meints' even-handed addressing of the merits and faults of NFTs does help illustrate how prevalent the practice has become. His "justifiably baffled, incredulous, and deeply skeptical" references a feature by the Harvard Business Review discussing the technology's use for new marketing business ventures. While it does highlight some potential merit NFTs could have in isolation, it fails to recognize what they've become in their current state and how damaging they've become.