Front Burner

The market for NFTs is booming. Will it last?

The non-fungible token market is booming in early 2022, with estimates easily surpassing a billion dollars in transactions. Today, how the hype from a die-hard community compares with concerns about speculation and environmental impact.
Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled Machine Hallucinations — Space: Metaverse by artist Refik Anadol in Hong Kong. The installation was converted into NFTs and auctioned online at Sotheby's for millions in October. (REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)

The non-fungible token market is booming in early 2022, with estimates easily surpassing a billion dollars in transactions. But hype from a die-hard community is having a public collision with concern for the tech's impact. 

Celebrities are both boosting digital tokens and laughing at the very concept of NFTs. Projects are providing access to exclusive clubs and selling virtual land, but also scamming buyers and disappearing. 

Meanwhile, concerns about energy usage by blockchains are causing groups such as BTS fans to erupt in protest. As investors speculate over JPEGs while some struggle for necessities, social media discussions are devolving into class warfare. 

Today on Front Burner, we look at what's driving the hype and the hate. Andrew Hayward, senior writer for crypto-focused news site Decrypt, explains how NFT culture has grown and changed, and why we can expect the tech to have a more mundane — but more useful — future. 

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