This is really bad news for artists who post their work on Twitter

Twitter introduced a feature called “Tips” which is intended to roll out to all users (eventually). The purpose of “Tips” is to enable Twitter users to support their favorite creators – who are on Twitter – by giving them a tip. Options for tipping include Cash App, Patreon, Venmo, and others.

The problematic thing is that Twitter is enabling Twitter users to send cryptocurrency through “Tips”. It is well known that cryptocurrency is absolutely terrible for the environment. As such, Twitter should not be encouraging its users – especially the accounts that seem to have no other purpose than to push cryptocurrency – to add to our planet’s environmental problems.

Another problem with “Tips” is that it will enable people with Twitter accounts (who are at least 18 years old) to send and receive cryptocurrency directly through the “Tips” feature. A person would have to intentionally set that up. I expect the majority of the cryptocurrency focused accounts to do that the instant they are able.

Business Insider reported that Twitter is looking into how to ensure artworks that are showcased as NFTs are genuine. Apparently, Twitter doesn’t have any concrete plans on how to do that.

As you may recall, earlier this year, a Twitter account was made for the purpose of making it super easy to steal art from artists on Twitter and put it on the blockchain without the artist’s permission. People were enabled to do this by replying to a tweet that had art in it, and then tagging @tokenizedtweets who would generate a series of numbers that let the thief put art they did not own or create onto the blockchain.

If I understand things correctly (and I’m pretty sure I do) the result was that the thief would be able to sell that stolen art as an NFT to someone for whatever amount of cryptocurrency the thief asked for. The thief would get some crypto money. The artist would get nothing, even though it was their work that was stolen and being sold.

The @tokenizedtweets account was suspended in May of 2021. A second account, @tweetstokenized popped up and attempted to carry on where the first suspicious account left off. The @tweetstokenized account was also suspended. But, before that, an unknown number of NFT thieves stole other people’s art and put it on the blockchain.

How might Twitter ensure that NFT artwork is genuine? Daily Dot reported:

In many cases, the only element that keeps an NFT unique is the blockchain verification or the certificate of authenticity. If users wanted to, they could easily create a copy of a digital good (image, clip, song, etc.) and pretend it was the original without validating the actual data. In the cases of NFT scams, checking the copy and website surrounding a product can be a step toward protecting one’s investment from being wholly wasted.

Daily Dot

Based on that, I think that Twitter is unlikely to be able to actually verify the owner of an NFT. Someone could provide Twitter with a fake certificate of authenticity (which will look just like the real certificate). It is unknown how many NFT thieves stole the work of artists and put it on the blockchain. If those thieves provide Twitter with something Twitter decides is proof of ownership – the artist is harmed all over again.

How can you protect your art from being stolen by NFT thieves? One way to do it is to make your Twitter account private. Stop following accounts that are brands, strangers, or are primarily about cryptocurrency. Doing this makes it easy to share your art on Twitter with friends and family – who are unlikely to steal it from you.

Twitter is Supporting Cryptocurrency is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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