The NFT industry has been full of uncomfortable projects. Outside of scams like Blockverse and the general aesthetic of cryptoart lines — Bored Apes, Weird Whales, etc —there are also projects that are extremely uncomfortable and offensive.
Last year, a cryptoart line known as Floydies launched, selling NFTs of police brutality victim George Floyd in different outfits including a police uniform and as Donald Trump. That line of NFTs is still going. However, there's now a new racist cryptoart product “inspired” by Floyd: Meta Slaves NFTs.
What is Meta Slave NFTs?
Starting on January 25th, the Meta Slave project is a collection of NFTs that are designed to “honour the abolition of slavery”. The collection will feature 1,865 “Meta Slaves”; 1850 was the date that slavery was abolished in the United States.
Currently, 971 NFTs have been released of the 1,865 collection have been released, all of them featuring black people. Horrifically, the first NFT is an image of George Floyd entitled: “Meta Slave #1 ‘I CAN'T BREATHE’”.
The Meta Slave NFT project encourages crypto enthusiasts to bid on images of black people, creating a digital equivalent of slave auctions. Almost every NFT starts at 0.01 ETH, around $276. However, some images are listed for higher prices. The George Floyd image is priced at 25.04ETH, the equivalent of $69,146 .
Meta Slave’s Opensea page claims that it shows “everyone is a slave to something”. However, that's obviously just a flowery description for what can only be a sick, racist joke. And the Internet immediately saw through it.
Obviously, there’s backlash
As soon as the project saw any kind of traffic on social media, it was met with intense backlash. While the aforementioned racist Floydies have managed to find their own racist fanbase, Meta Slaves has been met with backlash without selling anything.
Immediately after the controversy started, the creator behind the racist NFTs tried to backpedal. The banner image for Meta Slave was changed from all black faces to add in white and asian faces. Additionally, the profile picture for the project on Twitter is now a white woman.
The twitter page for the racist NFTs claimed that “there will be other collections in the future: white, asian, etc”. Another post apologised “to those who have been offended”. However, commenters aren't buying it.
Commenters also noted that this isn't the first NFT line created by the user. Under the Opensea account Unipic, another line of cryptoart exists: Unique Fractals. Just like the user’s new, racist cryptoart line, not a single one has sold.