NFTs aren’t inherently malicious, but there’s no lack of people that aim to make a quick buck off of the trend through questionable practices. One such endeavor recently showed its ugly head in the form of a group called EtikaPunks, which is said to be a group of fans of deceased YouTuber Desmond “Etika” Amofah that have made a collection of NFTs “commemorating” him. The products have drawn the ire of many of Etika’s fans, who have demanded the NFTs be removed and the group cease attempting to monetize Etika’s passing.
The said group, EtikaPunks, popped up on Twitter fairly recently, with the account created in January 2022. It didn’t take long for the group to gain attention in the worst of ways as it offered up a collection of Etika-inspired NFTs for sale. While it could be argued that it’s simply a troll looking for outrage clicks, the NFT collection and sales page is actually real and hosted on the Rarible NFT marketplace. More notably, one of the products features a bridge in the background, which is particularly heinous because Etika reportedly passed away after jumping from the Manhattan Bridge in New York.
Non-fungible tokens have taken on many forms since their conception and boom of popularity and the cross section of crypto and creative space. We’ve seen many a venture promote NFTs from the likes of a Lil Nas X music video on TikTok to the tease of NFTs in games by Square Enix and Electronic Arts. At the risk of editorializing and to be clear, we are aware that this is most likely a troll or group of trolls looking for outrage bait. However, it also seems fair to say that attempting to use NFTs to monetize anyone’s death is a step too far and should not go unaddressed.
It will remain to be seen if the Etika NFTs stay up for long, but this may easily go down as one of the more despicable chapters of the NFT trend. That said, if you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, do not hesitate to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or local suicide and self-harm prevention resources near you. Mental health is not a simple subject and there is no reason for anyone to face it alone.