New Platform 'The NFT Bay' Clones Infamous Pirating Website

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Nov. 22 2021, Published 12:22 p.m. ET

If you have ever used The Pirate Bay to illegally download media, no you haven't. Now, NFT investors and art enthusiasts have an alternative for blockchain-based art.

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Here's a rundown of a new platform called "The NFT Bay," which allows traders to search and browse copies of NFT art, including the most popular.

What is The NFT Bay?

The NFT Bay is basically a clone of The Pirate Bay, the latter of which is an online index of digital content like movies, TV show episodes, music, and audiobooks.

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The Pirate Bay has been shut down by the U.S. government before but has always found its way through proxies of the original URL. While an online index is perfectly legal, distributing content without obtaining rights from copyright holders isn't legal. Naturally, most of The Pirate Bay's content is pirated.

Recently, Geoffrey Huntley launched The NFT Bay as an NFT alternative to The Pirate Bay. In the same vein, it acts as an online index where people can download NFT art for free.

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Digging into The NFT Bay

Digital artist Beeple sold a $69 million NFT through a Sotheby's auction, officially marking it as the most expensive NFT ever sold. One of the biggest counterpoints to the value of NFTs is that people can simply download videos, JPEGs, and other digital art without having to pay massive amounts of money for tokenized art.

Huntley is one of those critics, which is why he started The NFT Bay. In an interview with Motherboard, he said, "NFT is just a hyperlink to an image." He added that while the NFT is stored on the blockchain, the digital art isn't, which means that "as web 2.0 web hosts are known to go offline, this handy torrent contains all of the NFTs so that future generations can study this."

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The NFT Bay website lets people download free copies of NFT art

On The NFT Bay website, people can browse through NFTs like CryptoPuppied, Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunks, Axie Infinity, Farmers World, and more. Having a copy of the digital art doesn't make you an NFT owner. Instead, it provides you with a digital copy of the art itself. It takes away the collectibility of the NFT.

Right now, The NFT Bay is home to more than 15 terabytes of NFT art.

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The NFT art copies don't give you access to smart contracts

NFTs are smart contracts for a digital or tokenized physical asset between two parties. The tokens themselves are stored on the blockchain, often on the Ethereum network. NFT owners can verify authenticity easily on the blockchain.

Still, copies of the art are easily downloadable thanks to NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, Rarible, and SuperRare. That's how The NFT Bay has acquired so many art copies. For tokenized physical objects, a photocopy isn't worth much. However, users might be eager to get their hands on digital art that looks and feels like the real thing (without the smart contract to go along, of course).

Huntley says that most digital art tied to NFTs will end up as a 404 in Web 3.0 (meaning the NFTs from this era could potentially be worthless) and his website will serve as a historical repository if nothing else.

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