Buying a pink NFT cat was a crypto nightmare

The hype surrounding NFTs (non-fungible tokens) has been hard to ignore. Bright and colorful exclusively digital art sold to millions of people. Who wouldn’t be intrigued?

But my first experience of investing in this world was a nightmare, with too much time, money and stress wasted on… well, not much. Because an NFT does not have a physical representation like a painting, it exists only as a digital asset. So all I was paying for was a land registration, basically for my number to appear on a website alongside a cartoon cat. What are NFTs and why are some worth millions?

The ‘frenzy’ of blockchain-powered digital art sales Kim catdarshian Using one of NFT’s leading trading platforms, Opensea, I eagerly searched for my first purchase – a joyous gift for a departing colleague. The website hosts a variety of content, from adapted versions of classical art to album covers by rock duo The White Stripes. They all have different attributes: patterns, colors and “purrstige.

But because my former boss and I share a common love for felines, I decided to purchase a CryptoKitty, a virtual cat, which can be collected and traded as digital Pokémon cards. Launched in 2017, CryptoKitties now sells for millions, but the average price is around £ 175. On a budget, I only had the sand lots to choose from. Finally, I settled on Kim Catdarshian, a pink creature dotted with diamonds on her fur and a raised eyebrow.

According to his profile, he has a “fuzzy” mouth and can be agile, taking 10 minutes to “calm down”. Sounds good, given her diva namesake. NFTs are sold in cryptocurrencies. My purchase was in ETH, known as Ether, which is stored on the Ethereum blockchain. Like Bitcoin, it is a very volatile currency and relies on computers to verify transactions. This process, called mining, uses large amounts of energy, often from fossil fuels.

Kim was on sale for 0.006 ETH, which was worth around £ 13 at the time. Using a Chrome extension called MetaMask, I set up a digital wallet to convert money from my bank account into cryptocurrencies. I transferred the minimum amount – £ 30 and a ‘gas fee’, required for each ETH transaction to pay the miners who keep the network running. It is similar to tipping a waiter.

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