The Rag | Tech

I’m In Love With These Animal NFTs

Ponies, Shibus, and CryptoKitties—oh my!

Daemonwings are a unique CryptoKitty trait. Image by CryptoKitties

I’ll admit to being a bit turned off by NFTs when I first started reading about them earlier this year. First, the word “fungible” is gross. So is someone paying bazillions so they can say they owned a stupid tweet, IMHO.

After the initial vicarious sticker shock wore off, I reflected on how NFTs aren’t really about NFTs just like cryptocurrency is about so much more than money. The idea of registering provenance and ownership of anything in a decentralized blockchain is a revolutionary one.

Maybe NFTs are just a fun way (mainly, for rich people) to explore possibilities and work out the intellectually property kinks so we can start using the blockchain for important things like paying artists, equitable land transfers, and personal data rights, I thought.

Then I discovered the cuddlier side of the crypto world and suddenly stopped caring about anything except animal NFTs and how cute Shibu Inu dogs are.

Every Kid Wants a Pony

The first animal NFT I discovered was at first glance less cute and more apocalyptic ghost horse that can see into your soul through its dead eyes. Then I saw that they came in pink and purple!

The company Zed Run coordinates races for these jewel-toned virtual steeds that you can watch on Twitch. You can sign up for free stables on the Zed Run website and then buy, race, and sell horses, which can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on bloodlines and attributes.

You can even breed whole horse families with desirable characteristics and make a profit. In a surprise NFT twist, this actually seems better than the real life equivalent. Still, many do still have dumb racehorse names like actual racehorses.

And the cute factor? At least one dad has bought his child a pony. “She comes home from school and wants to race it,” start-up founder Alex Taub told The New York Times, referring to his 5-year-old daughter. “She named her horse Gemstone, and Gemstone had two babies named Rainbows and Sparkles.” Can’t argue with those names, now…

Image by CryptoKitties

Cats, the NFT

CryptoKitties is a game and also sort of like the NFT-era version of Beanie Babies. You can collect them and sell them for a profit. There are special limited edition “fancy cats” and cats with “purrstige traits.” They are colorful and undeniably adorable, each one more smol than the last. You want every single one of them for your collection.

CryptoKitties, like Zed Run horses, have the additional benefit of also being breedable and sellable—the crux of the CryptoKitties game. CryptoKitty cat moms and dads blend different attributes to optimize kitten cuteness. You can search for CryptoKitties with specific features and buy them on the NFT marketplace OpenSea.

Unlike videos of a sleeping Kate Moss (why—just—why?), I actually understand why people want these NFTs. I’m a kitty lover, so these cartoony pastel wonders are slaying me. They also seem relatively affordable and more Insta-worthy compared to other apparently covetable NFTs like those videos of Kate Moss sleeping—and far less creepy.

Dogecoin, the Cute Cryptocurrency

Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency, not an NFT. However, digital artist Chris Torres immortalized the Dogecoin mascot in Nyan Cat-ified form and sold it for $69,000 last March, so I’m putting it on the list. The original Nyan Cat, another whimsical cutie with a strawberry Pop-Tart midsection who leaves rainbows in his wake, fetched around $600,000 last March.

Is this the same as the actual NFT? No idea.

Dogecoin is obviously the cutest of cryptocurrencies because it features an adorable Shibu Inu dog as its mascot and “to the moon!” as its tagline. To the moon! You can even mispronounce “dohj coin” as “doggy coin” for maximum cuteness and to annoy your partner, who invested in boring old Bitcoin.

Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer created Dogecoin as sort of a meme-joke in 2013. In the past year, its value has soared 25,000% lol. Despite its serious valuation, Dogecoin still gives “fun and friendly internet currency” vibes. It has a foundation that supports clean water action and a whole community of “shibes” on Reddit, who seem way nicer than many other people on Reddit. And now I will end this article with a picture of Shibu Inus in party hats just because. Look at those sweet-sweets!

Two dogs in party hats.
Two dogs in party hats.
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

American freelancer in Istanbul writing about culture, mental health, race & travel. Bylines everywhere from Al Jazeera to Zora. Tw: @Ruth_Terry | IG: @ruth.ist

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