Stop The Wombats from launching an NFT.

Stop The Wombats from launching an NFT.

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Petition to
The Wombats and

Why this petition matters

Help us stop The Wombats from launching an NFT.

On Tuesday 8 February 2022, The Wombats intend on launching a fan experience as a collection of Non-Fungible Tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, where ownership of each NFT doubles as membership to an exclusive community referred to as the 'Wombats Creative Universe'.

In the ‘Wombats Creative Universe’, users can look forward to a selection of perks such as exclusive access to behind-the-scenes video content and prize giveaways, timed-exclusive access to some previously unheard songs and finally, access to the Wombat World in the metaverse which will host virtual concerts.

Over the past few weeks, fans of the band have expressed an interest in many of the perks on offer here but simultaneously, showing a total discontent with the attachment of this project to NFTs and cryptocurrency.

So far, complaints about this have fallen upon deaf ears at the band and their management across their social media accounts and in their original Discord server; so this petition aims to formally compile the arguments of fans against this experience being an NFT in the hopes that the band will reconsider their decision.

Non-Fungible Tokens have a negative effect on the environment

To validate transactions and add to the blockchain, the Ethereum network uses a consensus mechanism called proof-of-work. This is a competitive validation procedure in which miners go through an intense race of trial and error to verify the block; miners have circumvented the difficulty of such a task by simply having vast amounts of dedicated machinery idle-mining at any one time.

It is this procedure that has led to the major shortage of GPUs in recent years but also the reason why NFTs are so bad for the environment. When there are so many machines running day and night to solve these puzzles, they take up an extraordinary amount of energy.

It should be added that Ethereum will transition to a proof-of-stake mechanism in the future and that this would be far more environmentally friendly but the earliest date for the network to make the full transition is June 2022. Therefore, the network is not entirely environmentally friendly for the foreseeable future and still will not be when the Wombats are scheduled to perform in the Metaverse in April.

In the case of this project, the band’s admin on Discord has claimed that each mint of this NFT will generate 45 kilograms of carbon which is the equivalent to a car journey from Liverpool to London which is over 200 miles long. However, they have made the claim that this project will include the purchase of 3,000 tonnes of carbon offsets to make the campaign carbon negative - the company they are working on the offsetting is Moss.

Moss: A lack of transparent information

Moss’ website does not provide details on the projects it supports, omitting the fact that two of those projects (Santa María and Madre de Dios) are from private timber companies that cut down trees classified as vulnerable, according to publicly available documentation. In addition, after finally obtaining the links in which each project’s carbon credits are stated, the total sum of said credits amounts to 2,730,093, but on TrustExplorer (an application that provides independent accountant reports in real-time), they state having a total of 3,041,044 credits. When asked about this, Moss did not provide a clear answer. After reaching the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute, they’ve advised that “there is a lot of reason to be skeptical of anyone claiming to be the ‘Biggest solution provider for climate action’”.

This project is inaccessible for fans

When we talk about price, let us be very clear; the amount of perks that the band is offering for 0.07ETH (which at the time of writing is roughly £155) is actually good value for money. However, such a bulk offering with a high price creates a large paywall for many fans who may be interested in some of the perks but cannot afford to spend that much money. The Wombats have a young fan base and interviews about this have suggested it is technology for young people but young people are the least likely to have disposable income.

This project is inaccessible to fans who don’t want to compromise on their environmental values too. To these people, this project is the antithesis of their beliefs and also in a way, what the Wombats have stood for before too. In this album cycle alone, this band has brought out an array of eco-friendly merchandise which many fans have invested in.

Finally, in a recent interview with Benzinga, Dan Haggis mentioned how they were so keen to do a show in the Metaverse because “there are always fans of bands who, for whatever reason, are unable to travel to shows, whether it’s their geographic location or other reasons” but this fails to address the fact that several countries and other local bureaucracies have made moves to ban or severely restrict how people can access blockchains or crypto technology. Countries such as China and India have banned blockchain and prevent more than 2 billion people from accessing this technology alone, these two are not the only ones though as Russia has also banned it too.

This experience is now targeted at cryptocurrency enthusiasts, not fans

From the beginning, it was described as “an exciting fan experience”, however, once fans expressed their negativity and discontent with the project — which were disregarded in a recent interview, where they mention the fan response as “all pretty positive” — they continued with the project regardless, and it seems that if their original intention was to be more interactive with the fanbase, then they would have taken on the advice they had received. From the personal experiences of the authors of this petition, we have seen the official Wombats Discord be flooded with new people who have never even heard of the Wombats. They most likely just had the keyword NFT followed on social media sites and joined with the sole intention of making money (which was, in fact, the intention described by multiple users). This type of mindset is going to ruin what the rubix cube game is supposed to be; a game of trading digital cards with the community of a common shared interest. The majority of people joining seem to be in it for greed, not for a “fan-focused experience”.

Most perks can be done without NFT integration

The obvious perks which would be unable to be included seem to be the Metaverse gig and the blockchain game, however, we strongly believe there’s got to be better, more environmentally friendly ways to achieve this. For example, developing the rubix cube game as a normal game. Furthermore, on Feb 25th, they’re doing a livestream for their concert that will be available for 24 hours after the event, making it accessible to fans across the world in multiple time zones. In this scenario, even the livestream has more advantages than the pre-recorded metaverse gig (not to mention a safer environment, given recent news about incidents occurring in a metaverse that were pretty much disregarded when they happened). The rest of the perks listed are things that have already existed for way less of a price, both financially and environmentally. Another perk mentioned was the ability to “airdrop” b-side songs to NFT holders’ devices. This has not been explained in any significant way and leaves many questions unanswered, such as “Will non holders be able to access these songs later on?” Or “How does this technology even work?” Fans have given alternatives for things like this many times, such as a Patreon that has a post of a VRChat code for buyers to access, and exclusive .mp3 files for songs. These are all possible without the environmental baggage that comes with an NFT.

NFTs have been associated with stolen work from other artists

We’ve seen first-hand the art of multiple artists being stolen and sold as NFTs. Even a couple of days ago, the music and art from The Wombats themselves, and many other artists, was stolen and sold on a website called Hitpiece. Associating with this technology at this time, before it’s even regulated, could be seen as endorsing these occurrences.

The impact of a fluctuating value of Ethereum

With the volatility of crypto being what it is, the price of these perks can fluctuate majorly. When this NFT was originally meant to be launched on 24 January, Ethereum prices were at the lowest they had been in months. At that time, it would've cost £110 to buy the NFT but at the time of writing the price would be equivalent to £155. When asked if these changes in price would affect the amount of perks offered, there was no response.

The band members understanding of the technology

It is understandable if they don’t know everything about it, considering it is a fairly new thing and they have mentioned that they aren’t heavily tech savvy people. However, if they have mentioned that they don’t thoroughly understand the technology, then maybe it’s in their best interest to hold off or research the issues with it before getting involved with something they’re unfamiliar with. Even if the band is curious about trying a new technology, it’s highly recommended that they conduct a deep analysis on the significant harm they could be involved in. That’s why we are reaching out to the fellow Wombats fans to sign this petition and make our voices heard in a respectful way that brings forward our collective concerns, in the hopes that the band will take them into account and consider an alternative to NFTs.

In conclusion

Please sign this petition for the reasons listed above and share this however you can. This is aimed at fans of the Wombats, but the entire world stands to benefit from one less NFT project. 

Thank you for reading and signing,

The Marsupials Against NFTs

Reference material

YouTube: Line Goes Up - The Problem With NFTs

Discord: Promotional Image 1 - Introduction

Discord: Promotional Image 2 - Product

Discord: Promotional Image 3 - Environment

The Wombats: NFT Mini-site

Ethereum: Proof-of-Work

Twitter: The Wombats NFT announcement

Twitter: A thread describing the NFT timeline of events

Investopedia: The environmental impact of cryptocurrency

Benzinga: An interview with Dan Haggis

GlobeNewsWire: The Wombats launch NFT experience


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