Orb Land shutdown proves almost no one cares about NFT utility

Once heralded as proof that Ethereum NFTs have utilities beyond speculative trading, Eric Wall is closing down his Orb Land project. The project has been inactive for over a month.

Orbs were supposed to be ‘NFTs with actual utility,’ according to Wall. In reality, almost no one used his sophistic proof-of-concept.

On April 10, 2023, Wall created his orb. It is now discontinued. “Thank you to everyone who participated,” he glibly signed off.

The whole project spawned a mere five orbs by crypto celebrities Wall, Nic Carter, Justin Drake, Tarun Chitra, and Zaki Manian. Even their combined follower count of 714,000 on X couldn’t attract more orb ponderers.

Wall co-founded Orb Land with Jonas Lekevicius of cybersecurity company Cube3. Lekevicius never owned an orb but helped code smart contracts, create the website, and manage designs.

Eric Wall writes the final chapter of a story with the opposite ending that he intended.

No one cares about non-speculative utility NFTs

Comically, the project disproved the exact concept it intended to prove. Not only did it not prove that Ethereum NFTs have non-speculative utility, but it also failed to prove a modern use case for the Harberger Tax.

A Harberger Tax is a user-specified tax rate that assesses while the user holds an asset. Holders of orbs specified a price at which they were willing to sell, then Orb Land would drain a percentage of that amount until they sold the orb. Orbs drained ETH from orb holders’ wallets every 12 seconds (each Ethereum block).

Orb Land promoters like Wall and Nic Carter spoke about the innovative Harberger Tax at great lengths in a wide variety of media interviews. They praised its innovative fee structure to “auction off a recurring slice of your time.” They promised that orb invocations — written responses to orb holders’ questions that Orb Land ceremonially hashed onto Ethereum’s blockchain — was only a proof-of-concept for a cornucopia of motivating use cases for non-speculative, useful NFTs.

Ultimately, no one cared. Carter complained that owning an orb burdened him with ‘homework’ that he regrettably typed to unwelcome invokers.

Today, as from the beginning of Ethereum’s ERC-721 ‘NFT’ standard, the primary use of NFTs remains not utility but speculating on their resale price.

Read more: Influencer ghosted Logan Paul NFT lawsuit to ‘save six figures’

As with most crypto projects, Wall’s blockchain project remained centralized. Even Wall himself admitted that there’s little reason Orb Land couldn’t have simply been a non-crypto website. 

Indeed, no one could ever own an Orb Land orb without applying to management. Orbs also have no transfer function, so management unilaterally enforced royalty rates and collections.

Orb Land was a simple business that gained little product-market fit and is now shuttering. It failed to prove that NFTs have non-speculative utility beyond niche hobbyists and wealthy fans of celebrities.

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Source: https://protos.com/orb-land-shutdown-proves-almost-no-one-cares-about-nft-utility/