A large variety of cryptocurrencies, ranging from Bitcoin to the meme-inspired Doge Coin, are being exchanged throughout the internet. Courtesy of Space Coast Daily

Shaun Lucas

The world of the unregulated digital currencies of crypto and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has been under fire for the last several months. Lawmakers want to set regulations on the trade and distribution of the currencies, despite the main attraction for the currencies being their unregulated nature. I feel those shocked by the likely regulation of cryptocurrencies were ignorant of obvious signs of such an outcome.

Since crypto and NFTs are intangible, the way they function is rather confusing. Cryptocurrencies are online-exclusive currencies not monitored by banks or governments, often leading to huge fluxes in prices. These currencies are not new, with the popular currency Bitcoin being invented in 2009 by someone under the surname Satoshi Nakamoto, according to Investopedia.

Since their inception, the incorporation of crypto into the mainstream has been confusing — to say the least. There have been successes, such as El Salvador becoming the first country to adopt Bitcoin as a national currency earlier this year.

But the volatile nature of crypto led to a few disasters for users. Tesla CEO Elon Musk initially supported Bitcoin, even allowing the currency to be used to purchase a Tesla vehicle. Musk not only later voided the acceptance of the currency but also hinted in May 2021 to be selling off all of the company’s Bitcoin.

Ironically, Musk was involved in another crypto hiccup in May of this year: in the May 9th, 2021 edition of “Saturday Night Live,” Musk joked about Doge-Coin, the meme-inspired currency, which made the currency fall 29.5%, at that moment only being worth 49 cents, according to CNBC. 

If this situation sounds ridiculous, it’s again because crypto is unregulated and its value depends on how badly geeks want to invest at the moment.

NFTs are even more ridiculous in concept: people pay top dollar to own the links to pictures without owning the pictures themselves. Also for some reason, many NFTs simply look awful and amateur in quality.

Beyond unreliability and low visual value, the most criticized aspect of these digital assets is their effect on the environment. According to Forbes, the average transaction of Bitcoin is over 1,700 kilowatt-hours of electricity, nearly double the amount used in an American household per month. New York Times reported on studies that showed that the average NFT admits 200 kg of carbon in its lifespan.

Many are supporting the movement for the government to regulate the currencies, either out of environmental concerns or pure spite. Twitter user @CoinersTakingLs, an account dedicated to posting screenshots of crypto supporters losing money or packing over price fluxes, has nearly 230,000 followers enjoying the failures of crypto.

I can’t feel sympathy for someone aware of a currency being unregulated and losing money due to said currency’s lack of regulation. Similar to Tesla’s experiments with self-driving cars, cryptocurrency still needs more tuning before being released into the world properly.