Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash

I Don’t Buy NFTs but I’ll Gladly Sell You One

Alex Bainter
4 min readDec 27, 2021


I thought NFTs were lame before you’d ever heard of them.

I started making generative art in 2018. At the time, NFTs were esoteric, and no one was paying millions of dollars to buy one. On a few different occasions, a stranger would suggest I take a look at the NFT space. Every time I did, I’d think “Wow, these are fucking stupid!” thank the well-intentioned stranger, and move on with my life.

The way NFTs were pitched to me was something like, “You can make your work accessible to everyone and still get paid voluntarily by passionate supporters.” But I was already doing that without NFTs and continue to do so through channels like Patreon.

The model of releasing work for free but enabling people to pay for it makes sense to me; it’s essentially the same as how most transactions work — pay for a thing, then get it — just in the opposite order. I like this model and sponsor several creators this way. It’s very simple and works great without cryptographic tokens.

Absolutely nothing about owning an NFT enhances the work for me.

But I can’t relate to people who buy NFTs. The vast majority of collectors are speculating to make a profit, which isn’t something I’d ever personally attempt since success depends on luck. A tiny minority seem to genuinely just enjoy the art, which is great, but I don’t understand how this translates to a purchase. Absolutely nothing about owning an NFT enhances the work for me.

I’ve been lurking where collectors hang out and talked to several of them to try to understand the benefits of owning NFTs. One of the first explanations I heard was that collectors buy NFTs to support artists financially. This doesn’t really make sense to me; when I want to support a creator financially, I just send them money.

Another reason to buy an NFT is if it has some usage rights afforded to the owner. If you have significantly more money than taste and want to advertise that to others, you can purchase a Bored Ape to use as your profile picture on social media. Personally, I’m still waiting to find any NFT I feel is worth owning. If I wanted to use one privately — like as a background for my device or to hang on my wall — I wouldn’t feel obligated to buy it first.

Remember when people thought having an anime waifu as your profile pic was cringe?

I’ve also been told many collectors want to flex their taste, their money, or both. I imagine these are the same people who spend indefensible amounts of money on clothing from particular brands. They’re from a different planet than people like me.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with buying NFTs, it’s just that whatever collectors are getting out of the experience isn’t for me. I don’t really collect anything, so it’s not a behavior I relate to. To me, NFTs are a bit like vinyl records; some people love to own them, but lots of people fully enjoy music without them. It’s subjective.

As a generative creator, it’s hard to ignore NFTs as a source of income.

But as a generative creator, it’s hard to ignore NFTs as a potential source of income. Some digital artists are making more money than ever, and generative creators are uniquely equipped to create entire collections of NFTs with disproportionately less effort. As someone with a history of producing generative content people enjoy, ignoring this new way to monetize my work risks leaving significant money — possibly life-changing amounts — on the table. It’s absolutely worth trying.

To me, selling NFTs is purely a source of income. I make a lot of decisions about what I release based on what I think will make money. That’s not to say I don’t care about the work I release as NFTs; I believe the best strategy for selling it is to make it as interesting as I can, and I don’t release work I’m not proud of. I also release NFTs exclusively on blockchains which aren’t environmentally controversial.

I’m glad there’s a new interest in generative art and that generative creators have a new way to earn an income from their work. Trying to earn money from NFTs is fun, challenges me to work with different constraints than I’m used to, and exposes my work to a new audience. But I’m pretty sure I’ll never buy one.

“I do commercials to make money. But I always say, every time I learn something.” — David Lynch

Thanks for reading. My name’s Alex Bainter, and I make generative music on, which I also built. Sometimes I sell NFTs on fxhash.



Alex Bainter

A web developer creating audio/visual experiences both digital and not. Currently making generative music at