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National Geographic NFT Launch Faces Huge Backlash, Technical Issues


National Geographic put out its first NFTs on Polygon and posted a full explanation of the technology on social media. This made hundreds of fans of the nature-focused magazine, which has been around for 135 years, frustrated.

NatGeo’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts posted a picture of a Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT with a text about the rise of NFTs, which are unique blockchain tokens that show ownership, on Monday.

The social media posts were meant to get the magazine’s mainstream audience ready for the magazine’s own NFT drop on Polygon, which came out on Tuesday and features the work of 16 photographers like Justin Aversano, Reuben Wu, Cath Simard, and John Knopf.

How they reacted

When NatGeo mentioned NFTs on its social media accounts, it got a lot of negative feedback. People said things like “popped bubble,” “bullshit,” “extinct species,” and “another way to launder money.”

Many people pushed NatGeo to delete it

Others said that NFTs were an obvious “scam,” which threw the whole system under the bus, even though NFT phishing scams and “rug pulls” are done by people, not by the technology.

Even the account manager for the famous photographer Ansel Adams chimed in with a simple “Nope” in response to NatGeo’s Instagram post about NFTs.

This kind of one-dimensional NFT answer is not new. In 2016, Netflix made free NFTs as part of its marketing for the most recent season of “Stranger Things.” The gaming media and gamers who don’t like the technology have also been very essential of the video game business.

It looks like the public still thinks the same way about NFTs. The Ethereum Merge, which was finished in September 2022, didn’t do much to convince people that NFTs weren’t bad for the environment, even though it cut ETH’s energy use by 99.99%, according to the Ethereum Foundation.

NatGeo has a huge number of fans. They have over 256 million followers on Instagram, 49 million on Facebook, and over 28.6 million on Twitter. Despite the backlash, its Instagram post about NFTs got more than 100,000 likes.

Even though there has been a lot of backlash, it is interesting that NatGeo has decided to launch NFTs at a time when the number of NFT trades is a small fraction of what it used to be. A Dune Analytics dashboard shows that Polygon’s total NFT volume on OpenSea was only $15.39 million last month. This is a huge drop of 80.5% from its all-time high of about $79.45 million a year ago.

NFT Creators’ Points of View

Even though most of the over 3,000 Instagram comments and almost 200 Facebook comments were negative, some NFT artists said that most of the people who disagreed knew enough about NFTs to have an opinion.

“Welcome to the comment section, here you’ll witness a sea of people hating on what they don’t understand in their natural habitat,” said artist Ryan Hawthorne, who has released Ethereum NFTs with Sotheby’s.

Betty, the fake name of the cofounder of the Ethereum non-fungible token (NFT) project Deadfellaz, said, “It’s a shame most people commenting negatives takes here won’t have taken the time to learn about the useful applications and problems the tech is solving/has the potential to solve.”

Not every NFT artist or creator who answered defended National Geographic. Chuck Anderson, who goes by the name “nopattern” and is an NFT artist, was very angry that the magazine used a picture of a BAYC NFT.

“Of all the incredible projects, artists, and concepts in the NFT ecosystem, BAYC is far and away the corniest and most tasteless example,” Anderson said. “Bummer [that] this is what people who haven’t hopped in are still being fed.”

Snowcrash faced some problems

People who wanted to mint NatGeo NFTs have also run into technical problems. The mint, which was made by the NFT platform Snowcrash, seems to be having technical problems over and over again.

This made potential holders unhappy. They didn’t like how Snowcrash said it was the “top NFT trading platform” and didn’t like how the platform tried to talk to potential buyers. More than 13 people on Twitter were unhappy with the mint website.

After an hour, the problems at the mint seemed to have been fixed.

About MahKa

MahKa loves exploring the decentralized world. She writes about NFTs, the metaverse, Web3 and similar topics.

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