Companies into Crypto: National Geographic NFT Launch Met with Frenzy of Criticism

Companies into Crypto: National Geographic NFT Launch Met with Frenzy of Criticism

18 January 2023

National Geographic has caused an uproar among its followers after announcing the launch of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Polygon network.

On Monday, an image was posted to National Geographic’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages showing a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT and accompanied by a caption describing how NFTs continued to rise. 

The magazine’s posts were intended to prepare the mainstream audience of readers for its own NFT collection, which debuted on Tuesday and showcases the works of 16 famous photographers. 

Companies into Crypto: National Geographic NFT Launch Met with Frenzy of Criticism


As a result of NatGeo’s social media mention of NFTs, the magazine received an overwhelmingly large amount of negative responses on its social media account, referring to NFTs as a “bubble” that has already burst, “an extinct species,” and even “another way to launder.” 

A number of people urged National Geographic to take down the post.

There were others who claimed that NFTs were a “scam,” ultimately demeaning the technology as a whole.

Even the Instagram account manager of Ansel Adams, a famous photographer, joined the discussion, responding to a post from NatGeo by simply saying “nope.”

Backlashes against NFT are nothing new. During Netflix’s promotional campaign for Stranger Things last year, the company launched the show’s NFTs, resulting in a lot of criticism. Moreover, video game media and the players themselves have consistently criticized the industry for attempts to adopt NFT technology.

Generally, the mainstream public doesn’t seem to have changed their opinion of NFT. Ethereum Merge, which was carried out in September of the last year, didn’t ease the concerns of those who believed NFTs were detrimental to the environment, even though ETH’s usage of energy dropped by 99.998%. 

With 256 million Instagram followers, 49 million Facebook followers, and 28.6 million followers on Twitter, National Geographic has a huge audience on social media. Though it was met with a backlash, NFT’s Instagram post still gained 100,000+ likes. 

It is noteworthy that NatGeo launched its NFT collection even with present low NFT trading volumes. The Dune Analytics dashboard shows the trading volume of Polygon-based NFTs on the OpenSea platform in December of 2022 was only $15.4 million, which is down significantly from its record volume of about $79.4 million a year earlier.

Artists’ Perspectives

Although almost all of the comments on Instagram and Facebook criticized NFTs, some NFT creators responded rapidly by suggesting that those who condemned the technology were simply not well-informed about it.

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

“It’s a shame most people commenting negatives here won’t have taken the time to learn about the useful applications and problems the tech is solving/has the potential to solve,” Betty, co-founder of Ethereum-based NFT project Deadfellaz, said.

There were many within the NFT community who defended the magazine’s initiative, but not all. Chuck Anderson, the NFT artist known as nopattern, condemned National Geographic for using The Bored Ape Yacht Club image.

According to him, BAYC, among all the fantastic projects, artists, and concepts in the NFT space, is by far the corniest. “Bummer [that] this is what people who haven’t hopped in are still being fed,” he added.

Technical Problems

There have also been reports of technical difficulties with minting National Geographic’s NFTs. It appears that the mint, which was developed by Snowcrash, continues to have issues.

Companies into Crypto: National Geographic NFT Launch Met with Frenzy of Criticism

Potential buyers have been frustrated, expressing skepticism about Snowcrash’s claims that it is the “premier NFT marketplace” and complaining about how poorly the platform communicates with them. There have been a number of Twitter posts regarding the website, which could not be accessed by user wallets half an hour after the mint went live.

It took an hour for the problems to be fixed.

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