NFTs are unique blockchain entries through which people can prove that they “own” something. However, the underlying images can be copied with a single click. This point is illustrated by The NFT Bay, which links to a 19.5 terabyte collection that purportedly includes “all NFTs” on the Ethereum and Solana blockchains. And it also comes with an important warning message.
NFTs have been booming for the past year. People are willing to pay millions of dollars just to prove they “own” a previously worthless digital item.
These digital tickets, stored on a blockchain, allow buyers to prove they are rightful owners. While different from a copyright, NFT owners are rights holders in a sense.
The NFT Bay
However, that doesn’t mean other people can’t copy the associated files, which are often widely available. This is made quite clear by The NFT Bay, which launched just a few hours ago. The site, which is clearly inspired by The Pirate Bay, claims to share a torrent with “hacked” versions of NFTs.
“The Billion Dollar Torrent” as it is called reportedly includes all of the NFTs on the Ethereum and Solana blockchains. These files are bundled together in a massive torrent that points to approximately 15 terabytes of data. Unpacked, this adds up to almost 20 terabytes
Australian developer Geoff is the mastermind behind the platform, which he describes as an art project. Speaking to TorrentFreak, he says that The Pirate Bay was used for inspiration for nostalgic reasons, which needs more explanation.
Too much for PRQ
NFT Bay itself lists a few examples of “hacked” NFT images, but these uploads point to the same massive torrent file. Downloading the torrent can be challenging as it requires quite a bit of disk space. In fact, finding a hosting solution for seedbox wasn’t easy either.
“To be honest, I was going to host at PRQ, but unfortunately they don’t offer servers with enough disk space,” Geoff says.
This comment may not mean much to the general public. However, veteran fans of file-sharing news will recognize PRQ as the former hosting partner of The Pirate Bay, launched by the site’s founders Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij.
The developer eventually hosted the NFT torrent file elsewhere. And despite the massive size and attention it’s getting, both the site and the seedbox are running smoothly.
“The seedbox hosting the torrent has 4 x 10TB SATA drives set up in RAID0 and the website works great even though it’s going incredibly viral,” says Geoff.
NFT Bay is not just any art project. It comes with a message, perhaps a wake-up call, for people who jump on the NFT bandwagon without fully realizing what they are spending their crypto earnings on.
“Buying NFT art right now is nothing more than instructions on how to access or download an image. The image is not stored on the blockchain and most images I’ve seen are hosted on Web 2.0 storage, which will likely end up as 404s, meaning the NFT has even less value.”
The same warning is articulated more clearly in the torrent’s release notes, which are in real pirate style.
“[T]his handy torrent contains all the NFTs so that future generations can study this generation’s tulip mania and collectively go…” it read.
Fifteen years ago, this would have been a project that The Pirate Bay could have come up with. It’s a thought-provoking work of art that shows that ownership can be a trivial concept, especially in the digital realm.
Greed and Scams
This is not to say that all NFTs are useless and have no future. Some will probably still be very valuable. However, people who aspire to own them must understand how they work and what they represent. And making a personal copy of is probably a good start.
Geoff himself seems to be quite critical of the NFT hype. While the software developer believes in the possibilities offered by Web 3.0, current implementations often result in greed and scamming, which he describes as disgusting.
He doesn’t own a CryptoPunk, obviously.