Love them or hate them, NFTs have created a buzz around blockchain in 2022. Sadly, they have also ushered in a wave of tasteless, corrupt, and in some cases outright mad NFT projects — resulting in a colorful year, to say the least.
The one color it’s seemingly lacking, however, is green. NFT trading volume has dropped 97% since early January highs. Numbers for NFT marketplace OpenSea are bleeding: active traders, sales, and monthly volume are all down by 61%, 75%, and 96% respectively since January. Indeed, some six figure NFTs are down almost 99% this year.
To celebrate the wild ride, here’s a recap of some of the most ridiculous NFTs of the year.
2022 will go down as the year of tacky Trump NFTs
Former president Donald Trump recently announced a set of NFT trading cards intended to celebrate his career. However, users on Twitter highlighted the uncanny resemblance that Trump’s NFTs share with existing images on the web. The project appears to share a likeness to pictures from Amazon. Some still show Adobe Stock watermarks in the background.
To make matters worse, it appears that 1,000 of the rarest Trump NFTs had been minted directly into Trump’s own wallet, raising alarms of potential wash trading. The NFTs have since plummeted in price.
A similar grift was pulled by his wife earlier this year. Former first lady Melania Trump released an NFT of her wearing a particularly large hat, which was worn during a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron. The piece didn’t garner much attention but eventually sold for $170,000.
Trump herself was reportedly the actual buyer, after an investigation revealed that she shared the same wallet address as the winning bidder.
God save the skeleton queen
The passing of Queen Elizabeth II was, of course, immortalized through many NFT projects. However, one pushed the boat a little further by depicting the queen as a skeleton.
While the many hundreds of NFTs minted on that day were all varyingly tasteless, this one takes the cake. The winning bidder ultimately paid 0.217 ETH for the skeletal piece, worth $265.
Historic art? Burn it
A Frida Kahlo painting was destroyed by fire at a house party in Miami. Crypto millionaire Martin Mobarak celebrated the launch of his Frida.NFT project in late July, which minted 10,000 digital copies of Fantasmones Siniestros (Sinister Ghosts), a colorful artwork by Kahlo.
Mobarak burned the original by placing it on a martini glass filled with dry ice and fuel.
The public bonfire, filmed and uploaded to YouTube, prompted questions of the artwork’s authenticity as well as an investigation by Mexican authorities.
“In Mexico, the deliberate destruction of an artistic monument constitutes a crime in terms of the federal law on archaeological, artistic, and historical monuments and zones,” stated Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature, the country’s leading cultural authority.
Web3 Islamic State
In September, an NFT project by Islamic State supporters was released to promote the group. The NFTs reportedly served as a test, to determine if the technology could be used as a reliable conduit for ISIS recruiting and funding. NFT marketplaces were slow to take down the images.
Madonna’s clitoral debut
In May, Madonna released a series of NFT videos in collaboration with Beeple. Animations of her naked body queefed out butterflies and birthed robotic centipedes.
A surprising news day to say the least, Protos fondly recalls spending an entire morning watching videos of wildlife and nature crawling out of Madonna’s fanny while her own ominous voice gave poetic insights into the wider meaning of technology and society. In case you’re reading this in public, we won’t embed the videos here — but we highly recommend you check them out when the coast is clear.
The most expensive NFT sold for 170.5 ETH, worth $346,000 today, with the proceeds going to a women’s charity. Some users have still been making offers for the NFT, but so far none of them have exceeded 0.1 ETH, or $122.