Blog / Crypto World / National Geographic Issues An Nft Collection

National Geographic Issues an NFT Collection

Jan 30, 2023
5 min read

This blog post will cover:

  • Not so different from others
  • Technical issues
  • Going silent

Despite all the controversy arising from manipulative or speculative trading of NFT assets, NFT technology no doubt has valid uses for art, academics and science. The ability to trace back something to its original creator forever, provides an advantage that is easy to understand. 

So, when the National Geographic magazine launched its first NFTs on the Polygon blockchain with the opportunity to buy them with MATIC, people were very enthusiastic. The whole idea was to celebrate NatGeo's 135th birthday, and to continue the storytelling the company was always loved for. Photography is a great medium for sharing stories. And the logical follow-up is entering the new technologies sphere, such as web3, to “Illuminate the Wonder of our World”. The pictures made by the best photographers of the National Geographic, including Justin Aversano and Catch Simard, have turned into NFTs for the limited collection.  

However, the audience was hoping to see something different. Unfortunately, their enthusiasm quickly turned into disappointment and anger. Let’s see the reason behind it. 

Not so different from others

The NFT project features images of 16 different artists. However, the community has criticized almost every bit of such a move. People claim that none of the images are particularly unique. Sure, they are good quality images of professional photographers, but none of the images is associated with any famous award or has true unique significance of other kind. 

The images are in fact not even that much different from the images of other NFTs that were sold during last year’s NFT boom. People expected something more and seemed to be unimpressed. Most comments heavily attack on National Geographic, some even outright calling the project a simple “moneygrab”.

Some of the Twitter followers have accused the company of being insincere and non-eco, as NatGeo has previously positioned itself as the one valuing the carbon footprint reduction: 

Comments “the NFT hype is already over” or “the NFT bubble has already burst” were all over the posts related to the project. Other commentators even urged the magazine to cancel the project to maintain their integrity. Many less crypto-friendly users simply called NFTs a complete “scam” in general and reiterated their absolute refusal for the whole technology. However, this opinion might definitely be a matter of debate as many NFT projects still continue developing, growing and attracting the attention of large brands.   

The issue of the project was the fact that the same image could be bought by an unlimited number of people, each minting a separate NFT token. It goes against the very nature of NFT technology which focuses on unique items. 

In overall, the announcement of the project received several thousand comments on Instagram and several hundred comments on Facebook and Twitter in a few days, the vast majority of which were negative. Nevertheless, the collection has found approval of some Nat Geo’s followers:

Technical issues

To make matters worse, those who were interested in buying the NFTs reported technical issues. Minting the NFTs is supported by the NFT platform named Snowcrash, which appears to have technical difficulties. Ironically, “Snowcrash” was reported crashing while minting on numerous occasions.

Several users have said that they were unable to mint their NFTs at all, or they were unable to even connect their crypto wallet to the platform:

To be fair, these initial shortcomings were confirmed and sorted out within a few hours of the project going live, although a small number of users continued to report issues for up to a day longer.

Going silent

A few days after the NFT images went on sale, National Geographic removed most posts related to “GM: Daybreak Around the World”, the National Geographic's Genesis NFT collection from social media platforms. It could not be more obvious that the project was not received as planned and they are backing out. This puts the collection in danger, because although the NFTs will remain with their owners, their value might deteriorate in the long term, as the company behind the project is no longer around with the announcements and support of social media promotion. Companies and influencers quickly abandoning their projects is a phenomenon that seems to occur often in the NFT world. It certainly does not help increase trust in the technology. 

This story once again shows that many people are still not ready to join the digital revolution, which is taking place right now. A lot of work has been done, and much more is left to do. At this point, it seems that the days when NFTs were traded or sold to make a sizable profit are coming to an end. But the better days where NFT tokens are purely used for the technical advantages they can provide, could be coming. We will see!

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