You Are NFTs' Fifth Estate
Dear Bankless Nation,
The fact you’re here reading this means you’re better positioned than billions of other people to speak on NFTs.
You’re early. You’ve researched. You’ve experimented.
Realize how special that is. And that, if you’re willing to take up the mantle, it comes with a responsibility to share your experiences and educate others about NFTs in good faith.
The mainstream get NFTs so wrong so often, at least while things are still early. Yet we here in the ecosystem can stem this tide and win the world over to NFTs by doing more of what we do now, i.e. serving as the fifth estate.
Allow me to explain 👇
You Are NFTs’ Fifth Estate
Simply put, the fourth estate is news media. It’s the power of the press to check the other centralized estates — the executive, judicial, and legislative elements of our societies.
Yet for as important as this fourth power is, it has its pitfalls too. This has been particularly evident in the cryptoeconomy since its very beginning, where we’ve seen mainstream media giants butchering the framing or even the facts of crypto reporting time and time again.
I wouldn’t attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by ignorance, of course. Unless you're passionate and studious about this specialized field, writing a solid crypto report is like navigating a minefield both blindfolded and with a faulty metal detector in hand — you’re in trouble.
What got me thinking about all this is how The New York Times just published an article titled “As Auctioneers and Artists Rush Into NFTs, Many Collectors Stay Away.” Editorially, I think this framing is goofy. As art futurist and noted NFT creator and collector Jason Bailey put it:
So while that NYT piece’s framing may make sense from the outside looking in, it makes little sense from inside the world of NFTs. It’s a disservice. This brings me ‘round to my main point today, the importance that we here in this world are the fifth estate for NFTs.
In short, the fifth estate is non-mainstream media: it’s the analysts, bloggers, journalists, and pundits that use the internet and social media to cover the things other estates don’t seriously consider yet, like crypto, NFTs, and so forth.
As such, anyone with a web connection and know-how can join the fifth estate. And while in the context of NFTs this dynamic can lead to a bit of a Wild West landscape and plenty of noise, it’s also led to the creation and curation of the best info and resources on NFTs available today.
For instance, I think of Matty Soudagar whose NFT coverage on Twitter and YouTube is excellent and from an embedded, DIY perspective. If the mainstream can’t or won’t cover our field with the nuance it deserves, then we’ll do it ourselves.
So that’s really what I want to stress today. Don’t consider yourself as some passive onlooker here, but rather as an active participant in the fifth estate for NFTs. That comes with the responsibility of being helpful and analyzing and educating in good faith where we can. Yet if we can manage that, NFTs and their many possibilities will become mainstream and empowering to billions of people in due time.
So don’t underestimate the impact that NFT blog post or Twitter thread you’ve been pondering can have — it’s time to shine, and the world needs it!
- 📰 Read “Announcing Bankless DAO” to see how the Bankless community is extending the fifth estate to new horizons.