8 Money Toilets

8 Money Toilets
Photo: Chung Sung-Jun, Getty Images

A ferocious bidding war over a misshapen chicken nugget concluded at $US99,997 ($128,256) in the wee hours of Friday morning. Doesn’t seem weird at all, in a world where people are spending millions of dollars for blockchain tokens backed only by words. But wait, is this a sign of a healthy economy, us walking around like the internet in new tuxedos like a bunch of bootleggers displaying our NFT collections when Robinhood always seems like an hour away from a bank run?

I’ll leave that for a professional to explain because this is a slideshow, and clicks pay the rent, and being a god damn downer does not, so check out the baffling garbage people are accumulating!!!

$128,256 chicken nugget

Illustration: Dan Kitwood/Gizmodo, Getty Images Illustration: Dan Kitwood/Gizmodo, Getty Images

The chicken nugget’s title suggests that it is valuable for two reasons: it is marketed as shaped like a character from the multiplayer online game “Among Us.” It is also from a limited-edition BTS McDonald’s meal, which is a secondary market of its own. In reality, it is a 44-cent chicken nugget with legs, or, when presented upside down, a chicken nugget shaped like a Peep.

According to The Verge, the seller had offered to ship “some” of the Szechuan sauce that came with the meal.

No one has authenticated the nugget’s source.

After sitting on eBay for a few days at the starting price of $US0.99 ($1), bidding took off on May 30th with an opening of $US14,969.69 ($19,200). The same bidder suspiciously upped the ante four more times to over $US18,000 ($23,087) until 44 bidders eventually joined. (The original bidder tapped out at $US99,696.96 ($127,871).)

$5-$12,826 ketchup packets

Screenshot: Facebook Marketplace, June 4th, 2021 Screenshot: Facebook Marketplace, June 4th, 2021

The shortage of single-packet ketchup brought the nation to its knees; the masses reckon with reality as cold as a delivered french fry. The reality is that a $US2.49 ($3) McDonald’s hamburger tastes like death without the savoury-sweet lubrication of exactly one packet of ketchup.

The people have paid handsomely (at least up to $US4 ($5) per packet) to ease the hardship. Others bogarting the ketchup are cruelly listing their coveted foodstuffs for thousands; this one on eBay can be paid off in manageable installments of $US481 ($617) for 24 months with PayPal Credit.

$4 million for Jack Dorsey’s first tweet

Photo: Joe Raedle/Gizmodo, Getty Images Photo: Joe Raedle/Gizmodo, Getty Images

On March 21st, 2006, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey set up his Twitter page, and LO:

“just setting up my twttr”

A lot of stuff happened; a tyrant nearly blew up America; Jack became a billionaire; Roseanne was cancelled; non sequitur humour had a good run; etc.

Blah blah blah on March 21st, 2021, Jack Dorsey sold the tweet for $US2.9 ($4) million.

Buyer Sina Estavi, CEO of a blockchain tech company Bridge Oracle, had tweeted that he would have gone as high as $US10 ($13) million but got a bargain. Dorsey saved this narrative from becoming another public display of wealth hoarding by donating the proceeds to Give Directly, a charity that sends funds directly to people living in poverty.

And that’s it. That’s the tweet. Or is it. I don’t know, it sounds like something someone on Twitter would say about this.

$26 bill with a banana sticker

Photo: Heritage Auctions Photo: Heritage Auctions

Let’s imagine a world before March 11th, 2021, before Beeple shook the earth and sold an NFT for $US69 ($88) million, summoning a monsoon of NFT press releases. What did we consider an unreasonable purchase? What did we talk about? If you are not a tech blogger, artist, art critic, gallerist, crypto trader, or CNBC consumer, please let me know. About anything.

Back in January 2021, a collector paid $US396,000 ($507,910) at Heritage Auctions for a $US20 ($26) bill with a Del Monte banana sticker underneath part of the bill’s Treasury Seal and serial number. The provenance dates back to 2004 from an ATM in Ohio, which dispensed the note to a student and has now been auctioned three times.

“Collectors immediately fell in love with it,” Dustin Johnston, Vice President of Currency Auctions at Heritage Auctions, was quoted in a press release. Sorta not really explaining why this $US20 ($26) bill is worth 19,800 pristine $US20 ($26) bills, he added that “the placement of the ‘Del Monte Ecuador’ banana sticker is ideal.”

But why $US396,000 ($507,910)? Why not throw in an extra 4k for a smoother “four hundred thousand dollars” which rolls off the tongue at a cocktail party and is far more aesthetically appealing in a press release headline?

$115 farts

Zipping back to the ineffable present, a man has sold hundreds of farts. Or, NFTs pegged to the description of audio files of farts.

Alex Ramírez-Mallis (who considers the NFT craze ludicrous) told the New York Post that he and his friends recorded farts and shared them daily from March 2020 to March 2021. Ramírez-Mallis has sold a full-year compilation for .24 Ethereum (in late March, roughly $US430 ($552)) as well as seven single farts for .05 Ethereum (then, $US89 ($114)). Head over to the Post if you’d like to know more about the man behind the farts. In this case, I prefer to separate the art from the artist.

CumCoin and Pisscoin

Photo: Karen Bleier and @pisscoinlol, Getty Images Photo: Karen Bleier and @pisscoinlol, Getty Images

Joke coins, haha, they’ll never catch on, right? Surely Coinbase will never list

Cybertruck preorders

Photo: Frederic J. Brown, Getty Images Photo: Frederic J. Brown, Getty Images

After years of anticipation, Tesla unveiled the rhomboid bulletproof wagon of SpaceX steel. Despite the swift realisation that its “armour glass” was not in fact metal-ball-proof, Musk reported that hundreds of thousands of Tesla completists put in preorders, anyway.

CryptoPunks

Illustration: WikiCommons Illustration: WikiCommons

CryptoPunks represent the only historically relevant narrative upon which value could conceivably live for decades within an expanding catalogue raisonné, and I’ll be damned if I’m counting Jack’s tweet.

CryptoPunks, some of the first NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, were created by software developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson, aka Larva Labs, in 2017. As a fixed set of 10,000 and therefore a “safe” investment, they are represented by algorithmically-generated pixellated avatars, with extra mileage promised from a classic 8-bit aesthetic.

The creators claim that CryptoPunks “inspired the modern CryptoArt movement,” which glazes over the fact that artists and curators who have been thinking about how to interact with the blockchain for years — but ok, in the sense that CryptoPunks represent a vanishingly thin barrier between art and transaction.

CryptoPunks, at first distributed for free, aren’t trying to be anything other than tokens. That’s fine. Somewhat charmingly, the market for CryptoPunks has dispersed to porn site CamSoda, where one sold for $US200,000 ($256,520) to “mrpussyfucker23.” Every mrpussyfucker deserves his day.

But if Sotheby’s and Christie’s succeed, and they usually do, CryptoPunks will assume a permanent role as a storage space for generational wealth for decades to come.