The Giro d’Italia has NFTs now

If you want a little rotating gif of a maglia rosa, bought with imaginary money, today is your lucky day.

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Ah, NFTs. You know about them. Maybe you collect them. Maybe (probably!) they make you feel a creeping sense of existential dread. But regardless of your personal feelings about Non Fungible Tokens, you have to admit this: they have come from absolutely nowhere to be one of the most hotly debated phenomena of the moment. Heck, that three letter initialism was even Collins Dictionary’s word of the year of 2021.

Now, if you believe their proponents, NFTs have potential and in a few years will be as foundational to online existence as social media. In that scenario, they are an intellectually fascinating growth industry which can directly connect consumers with creators, provide repeating financial stability for artists, raise funds for worthy causes, be traded for physical artwork. Even CyclingTips’ parent company, Outside Inc, has dipped its toe in these uncertain waters (and, for whatever it’s worth, the Outerverse will be entirely carbon-neutral, donate 20% of NFT revenue to non-profit partners, and be focused on real-world experiences and getting people outdoors.)

A lot of NFTs aren’t like that, though. A lot of them fall into the ‘opportunistic cash grab’ category.

On which note: the Giro d’Italia has jumped on the craze, launching an “exclusive” collection that is fruit of the “extraordinary” collaboration between “a competition that’s over one hundred years old [and] the most innovative technology.“

That’s right: you can buy a little rotating gif of a maglia rosa. Will you own it? Ah, what is ownership, really? Is it the ability to brag about owning the ownership of a little rotating gif of a maglia rosa (but not the gif itself)? Then hell yeah, you can own it. Do you want to show your friends your virtual wallet with your little rotating gif, paid for with made up money that has an environmental footprint rivaling an emerging national economy? This is your moment. Seize it. 

The Giro d’Italia’s NFT collection, developed with ItaliaNFT – which is, and I quote, the “primo marketplace italiano di vendita di NFT del Made in Italy” – was rolled out yesterday on the Giro’s social platforms with a teaser post proclaiming that “Giro d’Italia has never been so cryptic”.

Adding to the crypticity of it all was the fact that there was no link provided to the actual NFT collection, although after a little digging I can assure you that there are probably some NFTs on the way. 

For starters, there’s the maglia rosa. You can buy that now, if you like. There are currently 992 of them available, for the princely sum of 0.02 ETH (US$49/€46.53) apiece. Maybe you want to snap up the lot. Maybe you want to see how much a maglia ciclamino will set you back. These are your choices. Not good choices, I’ll grant you, but choices nonetheless. 

No, I don’t know what’s going on with that little mid-pocket slit either.

The little rotating gifs of the other classification jerseys are ‘coming soon’, with a free NFT promotion opening up on May 13. You can also buy the Giro’s logos “including some rare NFTs with unique and highly desired attributes”. 

But the big prize – just like in the real world race itself – is the Trofeo Senza Fine, the golden spiral trophy that “represents the victory, the champion, the hero” and is “the dream of all the participants in the Giro d’Italia”. There’s one NFT of that for sale in an auction at the end of the race, so if that sounds like your jam, hoard your ETH tokens for a few weeks and don’t blow them all on pictures of the Giro d’Italia’s logo that you could get for free by, oh, I dunno, going to images.google.com and right clicking the first result of ‘Giro d’Italia logo’. 

As is usually the case when an NFT program is launched, the reaction has been fairly … mixed. Plenty of people are probably excited (maybe; I don’t know). A quick scan through Twitter suggests that plenty more hate everything that they are seeing here.

This is the polarised nature of our dying planet. NFTs as a whole might represent the future of media, art, and digital culture. Some NFTs might – might – even be cool now. But the Giro d’Italia NFTs are the shitty trinkets that humanity will bear to its grave. 

To check out the Giro d’Italia’s NFT collection, visit here.

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