Back in November, Stephen Colbert took the NFT plunge. No, the Late Show host did not, in fact, invest in non-fungible tokens. (Or: that gossamer boondoggle your least fuckable Tinder date wouldn’t shut up about.) Instead, Colbert spent a few exhausting minutes attempting to explain to a CBS audience just what people with far too much electronic pseudo-cash in their digital wallets are spending their [insert cryptocurrency name here] on. “Whew,” Colbert gasped after his cartoon-aided explainer at the time, “Is this what it feels like to be John Oliver?”
Helpfully, Colbert had jotted down his tortuous primer on his lunch bag, a handwritten prop he referred to at the time as the world’s first AFT, or “Actual Fucking Thing.” You know, since it existed in this plane of non-digital existence. Putting the Frito-smelling touchable object up on Ebay, Colbert promised that all of the proceeds would go to the very fine charitable site for public school teachers and their classrooms, Donors Choose. Well, as Colbert reported on last night’s Late Show, his actual (fucking) paper bag sold for the generous final bid of $33,333. And, again, that’s actual human currency, meaning some teachers are about to have their ever-underfunded classrooms stocked with some very tangible school supplies.
But the NFT situation isn’t going anywhere. At least until that particular marketplace for “avatars of manufactured scarcity on an encoded blockchain” (according to Colbert) finally bursts like a soap bubble under the untenable pressure of having to prove it’s a thing. So, on last night’s show, Colbert noted that a “UK metaverse marketplace” named Terra Virtua has, apparently with Colbert’s blessing, transformed Colbert’s brown paper sack AFT into an NFT, possibly causing the entire digital universe to eat its own tail, taking down our physical reality with it and kick-starting the heat death of the known universe. Or maybe it’ll just help Colbert raise some more money for America’s criminally underfunded and beleaguered-by-Republican-nutjobs educators.
Colbert, referencing the fact that NFTs and crypto are causing actual, devastating harm to our physical environment somehow (due to the massive energy costs of ensuring your pictures of bored-looking monkeys are safe), assured viewers that his NFT is stored on an eco-friendly blockchain company’s servers. As opposed to crypto concern Ethereum, which, Colbert speculates is “run on ground-up panda bones.” The Colbert NFT or the Colbert AFT features a robotic, faceless little Stephen Colbert holding up the paper bag where the actual Stephen Colbert wrote his NFT cheat sheet, and can be purchased (if that’s the correct term) at https://terravirtua.io/colbert. Or, you know, you can skip the virtual middle man and just give to Donors Choose.