The animation team behind the YouTube personality Annoying Orange have announced they are releasing a non-fungible token (NFT) of its first YouTube video, and Twitter users aren’t happy.
Annoying Orange is the main character in a series of animated videos, created by YouTuber Dane Boe, first released over 10 years ago.
In a tweet posted April 11, the official Annoying Orange account said the original Annoying Orange video from 2009, which has been viewed 228 million times, will be remastered in 4K resolution and re-released as an NFT.
NFTs are essentially digital certificates that document ownership of some sort of digital asset. In this case, the owner of the Annoying Orange NFT will “own” that 4K remaster video.
The NFT will be available to buy on Foundation, an online NFT marketplace, on April 15. It is currently unclear what the starting bid or asking price will be.
The announcement was met with resistance on Twitter amid wider criticism of the NFT phenomenon as a whole.
NFTs have increasingly been used to certify ownership of digital art in recent months, with some selling for millions of dollars.
However, many are concerned about the environmental impact. NFTs are certified using blockchain technology, which is notorious for requiring large amounts of computing power and electricity. Some single NFTs are said to have a carbon footprint equivalent to that of someone living in the EU for over a month.
There are also concerns about whether NFTs are worth their price, leading some observers to dismiss the whole phenomenon as a pyramid scheme.
Others have defended NFTs as a way of allowing artists to make money from their work.
Katie Haun, a general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, told NPR: “It’s everything that brings together culture, and it’s also a bet on the future of e-commerce.”
Digital artist Beeple, who sold an NFT for $69 million last month, has celebrated them. He said in a Christie’s press release in February: “The technology is now at a place with the blockchain to be able to prove ownership and have true scarcity with digital artwork so I think we are going to see an explosion of not only new artwork, but also new collectors and I am very honored to be a part of this movement.”
Annoying Orange addressed criticisms in a thread. Referring to the cryptocurrency, it wrote: “NFTs do not increase Ethereum’s carbon emissions,” and “To those that might be angry because you think I’ve ‘sold out’, I’m sorry you feel that way.
“We are a very small animation studio that work very hard to do what we love—which is make silly videos that make people smile.”
Twitter reactions—some with hundreds of likes—included: “Reading Twitter discourse about the annoying orange selling an NFT and I feel like I’m in a Twilight Zone episode” and “never did I think I’d utter the phrase ‘Annoying Orange is destroying the environment,’ and yet, here we are.” More are below.
nyan cat, overly attached girlfriend, and annoying orange joining the n//f//t circus shouldn’t be surprising but brother was i surprised
— gbriel/kai @ sick hiatus (@rorskie) April 11, 2021
The Annoying Orange is only the latest vintage internet craze to get involved in NFTs. Versions of old memes such as Nyan Cat and Bad Luck Brian have also been turned into NFTs and sold online.