We can all agree that NFTs suck, right? They chew through energy like termites eating wood and shit out a ton of greenhouse gas emissions, destroying our world one crypto sell at a time. On top of that, you don’t get anything physical, just a digital certificate of blockchain ownership. Thankfully, the internet is full of NFT criticism and mockery, and this one takes the cake…or I guess you could say it takes the NFT? You get it.
Twitter user DerrickMustDie posted to the social media platform on January 22 with what I think is the most hilarious way to “steal” an NFT. Derrick hooked up a Game Boy Advance SP to a Game Boy Printer and clicked print. It was a bit more complicated than that, Derrick told Kotaku over email, but what resulted was an expensive bored ape NFT being printed endlessly through unconventional means. Gamers already impress me with glitches and speedrunning, but this feat is on a completely different level.
“Looks pretty fungible to me,” Derrick screamed in the tweet. The Game Boy Printer is really going, too, printing off NFT after NFT like printing money. I don’t recommend theft in any capacity, but come on! This is funny.
But which NFT is Derrick copying? He said the first option was the “most expensive NFT sold,” but the actual image was ugly and would be unrecognizable after printing it. So instead, Derrick and his sketch group Lonely Space Vixens, a collective of friends who upload comedy sketches to YouTube around pop culture subjects like bitcoin and waifus which helped get the NFT stealing factory up and running, Googled the “’most expensive boredape’ and just used that.”
Then it was a matter of getting things connected and set up.
According to Derrick, one part his group got stuck on was the paper. Turns out the Game Boy Printer, a device designed to be used in conjunction with the Game Boy Camera and produced from 1998-2003, used thermal paper like most receipt printers. The results weren’t great because the paper Derrick and his cohorts had wasn’t fresh. Two of their rolls were sealed, but the rest were from at least 2000. They went through a few rolls, with the images appearing muddled.
There’s still the issue of uploading the image to the Game Boy Advance SP and telling the Game Boy Printer to do its thing. Derrick said by connecting the printer to the handheld with a Game Boy Link Cable—the same one used to trade Pokémon or play multiplayer games—and using the Game Boy Camera, he was able to right-click on the NFT to begin the process. The link cable was finicky and the first handheld used wasn’t cooperating, he said, noting that, “....we kept getting printer errors,” Derrick said.
“We googled the printer error code and it was a battery issue with the printer not getting enough juice, so we put in SIX fresh AA batteries to power it,” he added, before descending into a wider list of troubleshooting issues that are part and parcel of dealing with older hardware. It wasn’t until they got ahold of a Game Boy Advance SP, along with different cables, that they got the printing press to open.
Now that Derrick and his group printed an NFT, something apparently worth millions of dollars, they intend to “mint the funged token to the blockchain.”
Look, I’m not advocating for art theft here. Artists deserve compensation for the work they put into their creations. So pay your makers. But NFTs reduce art to mere commodities for capitalists to own and collect. It sucks, so I’m glad to see rebels like Derrick and the rest showing just how worthless NFTs are.