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NFT Spam – The Future of Smear Campaigns and Invasive Marketing

Ryan Cowdrey
4 min read
NFT Spam – The Future of Smear Campaigns and Invasive Marketing

Shortly after it was announced that Visa bought a CryptoPunk, their wallet began getting spammed by all types of undesirable NFTs. This strange turn of events that took place over the last two weeks previews the future of NFT spam.

What is NFT Spam?

We all receive spam emails, spam calls, and spam mail. It’s unavoidable. And now the same goes for NFTs. Nobody’s wallet is safe from NFT spam. Especially not anyone notable.

NFT spam, in its current state, comes in two forms:

  1. People send their NFTs to random strangers (oftentimes notable NFT collectors) hoping that the entire project will take off. It’s unwarranted and, therefore, spam.
  2. People send undesirable NFTs to people’s wallets to muddy up their NFT collection and poke fun at them.

The first instance is more benign than the second. Q and I have both received countless spam NFTs from people who actually want their other art to do well. It’s honestly not that bad in small quantities.

The second instance is mostly reserved for public figures who enter NFTs, such as Visa, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, and even Mark Cuban.

A couple of weeks ago, Visa bought CryptoPunk #7610 for 49.5 ETH. Of course, Twitter had a field day with them, sharing their uncensored opinions on what they think about corporations entering NFTs.

Then they took the fight from Twitter to OpenSea, sending dozens of spam NFTs to Visa’s wallet (seeing as how they made their wallet address public when they announced the purchase).

Today, Visa’s collection of NFTs includes A LOT of unsavory NFT projects.

Excuse my language, but Visa is now the proud owner of:

  • 2 piles of DOGSHIT NFTs
  • 1 NiftyNude
  • 4 pairs of 8-bit Tits
  • 4 pictures of The Treasure Chests (you can guess what those are)
  • 1 Big PP condom
  • 1 Bored Dick Yacht Club #1
  • 1 self-portrait of a man’s “male member”
  • And 70 other NFTs they didn’t ask for

Oh yeah, and they own the ENS address: feetpic.eth.

Similarly, after Budweiser bought the beer.eth ENS address and “The Life of the Party” rocket from Tom Sachs Rocket Factory, they received quite a few spam NFTs. Coca-Cola was teased with Pepsi-related projects. And Mark Cuban received a vulgar ENS address.

It’s evident that the NFT community doesn’t take too kindly to commercial efforts entering the NFT market. And many want to make sure it’s clear that corporate interests aren’t welcome.

Furthermore, the irony of sending NFT spam is that it’s not like a spam call you can just ignore or a spam email that you can delete. This is digital ownership and someone transferred the rights to you.

You can burn the NFT spam, but that’s going to cost you gas fees. You can unlist the NFT from your profile, but the blockchain still says that you own that spam.

The Future of NFT Spam

In the craziest of cases, NFT spam will be the new version of a DDoS attack. A distributed denial of service attack is a method where you send an unmanageable amount of fake traffic to someone’s site, causing it to slow down for real users, and if it gets overloaded enough, it eventually crashes the site.

While NFT spam wouldn’t necessarily crash someone’s wallet, with enough people sending NFTs to someone’s wallet, you could cloud their wallet up enough to the point where it’s too much to manage.

Imagine if a dozen or so people sent hundreds of spam NFTs to someone’s wallet. And then they did this night after night until it got to the point where the victim just had to trash that wallet altogether and get a new one.

NFT spam used as a form of DDoS will be a real problem for those who make enemies of the NFT community.

It’s not just the public figures and corporations that will need to deal with NFT spam. We all will.

Marketers ruin everything. And pretty soon they’re going to ruin NFTs.

It’s not long before marketers start treating NFTs as advertisements. Whether they design the NFTs exactly like an ad or artistically disguise it in some way, this trend will take off when gas prices come down significantly.

Unlike an ephemeral Facebook ad, NFT spam ads will be permanent. As we addressed above, people won’t want to spend the money to burn an ad from their wallets. So they’ll just end up keeping the spam.

I consider NFT marketing spam to be the equivalent of Campbell’s soup being able to pay to put their cans in your pantry, unwarranted by you.

Once the dollars make sense, we’re going to see corporations do massive ad campaigns where they’re transferring tens of thousands of NFT ads to random wallets. It’s a much more advanced and elaborate way of reaching someone with an advertisement (especially when you think about all the unlockables they could include in the NFT).

Speaking of NFTs for marketing, the next election cycle could get messy. I imagine that we’re going to see NFT spam used in the form of a public smear campaign – featuring artwork meant to trash a certain person. And this could be applied to any public figure.

Overall, NFT spam is real. Anything you can think of in terms of spam will be applied to the NFT lens. We just haven’t seen it take place on the grand stage yet.

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