The completely asinine concept of NFTs has made its way into the world of tabletop gaming. Board game developer, Exploding Kittens have officially announced that they are partnering with 3D laser printing company Glowforge to promote and giveaway what are being described as limited-edition printable NFTs.
According to Exploding Kittens' own Facebook account, they have created an NFT for a unique hardwood box for their board game, Happy Salmon that they are reissuing. This will also come with a copy of the game. Only ten of these NFTs will be produced and given away, five through Facebook, the other five through their Instagram. All you have to do to enter is comment on why you would trade, keep, or print your NFT if you won, then tag a friend. The giveaway starts today and will end on January 24.
As for what makes these printable NFTs, that is where Glowforge comes in. They have a patent-pending technology that will allow the owner of these NFTs to submit the design file to one of the company's 3D printers. Either the user themselves print the box using one of their own printers or they send the info to Glowforge themselves where they print then ship the box out. But once this unique version of Happy Salmon is completely printed out, the design file is immediately deleted. The NFT itself however is still yours to own or trade as you see fit.
The official sweepstakes page goes into further detail about the production of these printable NFTs and the contest as a whole. First, the NFTs for these hardwood boxes will be minted on the Ethereum blockchain, with the display image for the NFT being available to view on OpenSea. The page's FAQ also mentions that Glowforge's printers are open-source, which means that even if the company goes out of business, the underlying technology of their printers will still work.
Furthermore, in response to concerns for the environmental damage produced by the minting of NFTs, the page states, "we are using Aerial to calculate the emissions generated by these 10 NFTs and will offset at 10x our impact. That means for every 10kg of carbon created by this project, we’ll pay to remove 100kg of carbon from the atmosphere." It is worth noting though, that as using the Ethereum blockchain this is proof of work, which is the more energy-draining version of NFTs and will mean there will be a goodly amount of carbon created by this.
As for contest specifics, all who enter must be at least 18 years of age and if chosen as a winner, they must respond to a direct message within 24 hours. Finally, all contest winners will receive an additional prize: a physical copy of Happy Salmon.
It is genuinely baffling to understand the logic behind Exploding Kittens decision to do this giveaway. The entire appeal of NFTs is the idea of claiming ownership over something that is digital and being able to move it seamlessly to other programs and platforms supported by the blockchain. It is why there are entire warehouses full of high-end graphics cards running nonstop to authenticate these overwrought digital receipts. This is to say nothing about the rampant fraud and scams that come from the decentralized nature of the production and trade of NFTs.
But here, a printable NFT is basically a giveaway for a collector's edition but with extra steps. Why go through all of the trouble of minting NFTs that will cause environmental damage, then stating you'll pay to offset the damage, when simply producing the storage boxes would lead to less carbon produced? If a winner has no 3D printer and requests Glowforge to print and ship the box, will there be any additional shipping or production prices attached? What exactly was stopping Exploding Kittens from just making ten of these hardwood boxes and just giving those away to winners, complete with unique serial numbers filed into the boxes themselves for authenticity?
The closest thing to an answer comes from Glowforge's co-founder and CEO, Dan Shapiro in the press release, stating, "Their games have always come in amazing boxes - one box meowed, and another had to be shaved with a razor. It was a huge challenge to come up with something even more incredible. Fortunately, the Glowforge 3D laser printer makes it easy to sketch, design, and create amazing things at the push of a button. We can’t wait to share this limited-edition printable NFT with the world."
In short, it appears these printable NFTs are what they appeared to be on the surface: a needlessly complicated marketing gimmick.