Opinion

NFT, the ultimate in dematerialised social status?

Cristina D’Agostino

By Cristina D’Agostino31 janvier 2022

On the 18th of January, Lamborghini, a luxury car brand, celebrated its entry into the NFT world. The project, developed with an artist whose identity is kept secret, foresees a limited artistic production in the form of a unique digital asset housed in a QR code on the back of a carbon fibre key called Space Key. Beyond the publicity stunt, this is not the brand's entry into the world of NFTs, now commonplace in luxury, but rather what it symbolises. Our digital age has indeed transformed our relationship with materiality and materialism. More and more of our everyday goods are becoming dematerialised: money, information, meeting places, shops, art, museums, etc. Social status, too, has changed as a corollary. Other ways of acquiring and showing social status have emerged with what we call "liquid consumption". Knowledge, education, health, well-being, time and space have become markers of high social status. While luxury items still play a role in social differentiation, NFTs, these unique digital identifiers certified by blockchain and linked to digital assets, are revolutionising the way in which social status is identified.

From now on, you no longer need to own a luxury car, in this case a Lamborghini, to be part of the happy few. Owning a unique crypto-art by NFT is enough. Invisible, except to its owner, it contributes nonetheless to significantly rise one's status, but only known to the insiders of the crypto-art and metaverse world. This dematerialisation of the luxury object, coupled with its high economic value and the ability to access it through advanced technological knowledge, makes NFTs the new status marker. Except that in the world of NFTs, too, digital creations can be qualified as fake. Hermès has just brought a complaint against the MetaBirkins NFT project, which the company describes as a “fake Hermès product.”

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