A Pirate Bay Clone for NFTs Has Hit the Web
- A critic of non-fungible tokens has created a site called The NFT Bay in order to distribute NFT images in bulk.
- The site was created by digital nomad Geoffrey Huntley to make a statement about the shortcomings of NFTs.
- The NFT Bay has only copied publicly available images; still, the copyright issues around this are unclear.
A critic of non-fungible tokens has created The NFT Bay, a site that mimics the Pirate Bay, in order to distribute NFT images in bulk.
The NFT Bay Sets Sail
The site was created by Australian digital nomad Geoffrey Huntley. It features NFT images scraped from public files, presumably sourced from marketplaces like OpenSea or a blockchain explorer.
A release note attached to the torrent reads: “Did you know that [an] NFT is just a hyperlink to an image that’s usually hosted on Google Drive or another web 2.0 host?”
“People are dropping millions on instructions on how to download images,” it notes, then goes on to explain that users can simply right-click and save images from NFT marketplaces.
The NFT Bay’s torrent file currently contains 15 terabytes of NFT images that originated on Ethereum and Solana. The site does not have a torrent file for each image. Instead, one torrent contains all of the NFT images in a single ZIP archive.
The site also alludes to the ongoing controversy around the environmental impact of blockchain mining with a sentence that reads: “WTF? We destroyed our planet for THIS?!”
Will The Site Stay Online?
The NFT Bay is possible because blockchain contracts only determine which crypto wallet owns an NFT—they do not store the image itself. Though Huntley has acknowledged the merits of digital ownership, he argues that “all of this…could be achieved without blockchain” and says the “greed [and] scamming going on is sickening.”
The legal situation of the site is unclear. The NFT Bay’s decision to copy public images is not substantially different from what legitimate NFT marketplaces do. OpenSea, for example, copies images from their original location to its own Google-based storage system.
On the other hand, creators may still retain a copyright claim over the images, and the fact that Huntley has scraped some of the largest NFT collections may be enough to draw backlash. The site—but not its torrent file—could easily be taken down.
Incidentally, Huntley’s decision to use peer-to-peer torrents is somewhat redundant. Huntley argues that “the majority of images I’ve seen are hosted on web 2.0 storage….which is likely to end up as [a 404 error].” However, many NFTs are actually stored on the peer-to-peer network IPFS, which is similar to BitTorrent to begin with.
In any case, the intent behind the site does not appear to be too serious. Huntley himself has implied that the page was made as a statement by calling it an “educational art project,” and as such, The NFT Bay may not be defended if issues arise.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned less than $100 of BTC, ETH, and altcoins.