Just before Halloween weekend, CryptoPunk 9998, one of the 10,000 pixelated characters created by NFT forebears Larva Labs, sold for $500 million. Except it didn’t. And that’s exactly my issue.

For what it’s worth, this is by far the most money racked up by an NFT sale — earlier this year, Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5,000 Days changed the world when it sold for $69 million and CryptoPunk 7523 raked in over $11 million at auction in June.

But CryptoPunk 9998‘s half-billion-dollar sale wasn’t really a sale at all. Instead, its owner merely utilized a flash loan — an unsecured, decentralized, single-transaction borrowing that uses smart contracts rather than bankers — to artificially inflate the value of the Punk.

No money laundering involved, though, as the loan defaulted and was automatically canceled by the smart contract. Basically, digital money that doesn’t exist was used for a sale that didn’t happen, all for the sake of creating meaningless value for a piece of artificial “art.” Make sense?

Check the transaction history, if you’re able to decode blockchain info.

CryptoPunk 9998‘s anonymous owner is now offering the NFT for sale at the handsome sum of $1 billion (250,000 Ether), because nothing means anything.

Larva Labs even “redacted” the faux sale on the blockchain to reiterate how meaningless it is.

The takeaway here is that this realm of the NFT market is all bunk. A scam, perhaps.

Now, there’s a lot to like about decentralized cryptocurrency and NFTs, like the…

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