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ผู้เชี่ยวชาญด้านการเข้ารหัสทิ้ง NFT ในวันแรกของการประชุม RSA

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The experts have weighed in: Non-fungible tokens are dumb as hell.

The annual RSA Conference brings together some of the brightest minds in cryptography to discuss advances in the field, the year’s biggest hacks, and where the cybersecurity industry is heading. This year, it just so happened to kick off with a pronounced dunk on NFTs.

The first main event of RSA 2021 was the cryptographers’ panel, which followed Monday’s opening keynote. At the start of the panel, Ron Rivest, a famed cryptographer who co-created RSA public-key encryption, derided non-fungible tokens as worth even less than the famed tulips of tulip mania.

At least with actual tulips, argued Rivest, “you can own them, you can posses them, you can plant them, you can enjoy them.”

NFTs, Rivest observed, aren’t even like pictures of tulips. They’re more akin to digital tokens that point at a picture of a tulip.

“It’s a bit like homeopathic medicine,” said Rivest. “You dilute it, you dilute it, you dilute it, and you say, ‘What’s left?'”

In his mind, the answer is clearly not much.

Adi Shamir, another panelist and co-creator of RSA public-key encryption, was slightly less harsh on NFTs — but only slightly so.

“I think it’s a nice way for digital artists to monetize their creations,” said Shamir, before then comparing NFTs to a board game.

“I think that we should all look at it like a game of Monopoly,” he told the remote audience. “Certainly it’s not harmful — some people collect coins, some people collect stamps, some people collect NFTs. If they want to pay money for this, it’s fine with me.”

Shamir then announced plans to, at some point in the future, theoretically mint his own NFT. (Panel host Zulfikar Ramzan, who has a doctorate in computer science from MIT, clearly had been briefed on this idea beforehand and told the audience that RSA would work with Shamir to mint and sell an NFT with any proceeds going to charity.)

And while the cryptography experts may be skeptical of NFTs, it’s worth noting that this conversation was even happening at RSA in the first place. In recent years, many in the cryptography community have chaffed at the term “crypto” becoming shorthand for cryptocurrency instead of cryptography. And in 2019, at the very same RSA cryptographers’ panel, the assembled experts mocked the idea of “Facebook Coin.”

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In some ways, Monday’s panel was a continuation of this theme.

“Unfortunately in the last few years we’ve seen the term ‘crypto’ get a bit usurped by a different community of people who may expect us to talk about things like blockchain and bitcoin,” Ramzan explained at the beginning of the panel discussion. “Is there any reality or any substance beyond the [NFT] hype?”

If the RSA Conference finally decides on an answer, maybe it can mint that as an NFT.

WATCH: A beginner’s guide to NFTs, the crypto potentially worth millions

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