When Homer Simpson comes up with a get-rich-quick scheme it usually ends badly.
In the latest episode of The Simpsons the hapless dad turns his son Bart, and then himself, into NFTs to make millions.
It all goes wrong when Homer finds out from a floating pizza cat that “the NFT craze is over”.
The episode has been widely applauded by NFT fans and sceptics alike for successfully poking fun at a side of the crypto world that exploded a couple of years ago but has now gone very quiet.
So is the floating pizza cat right, and are NFTs really dead?
Well analysis shows the once frenzied Non Fungible Token market declined to its lowest level recently, with October being dubbed “Floptober”.
But some think there’s hope.
NFTs are digital tokens of ownership usually bought with cryptocurrency.
They’re often linked to images or videos, but owning an NFT does not normally mean the buyer gets the copyright of the picture. Anyone can view it online and even copy and save it, but only the buyer has the status of being the official owner of its token. Proof is etched onto the uneditable record of the blockchain – a giant spreadsheet of transactions published online.
According to researchers at Dapp Radar, the value of NFT transactions just hit the lowest point since the NFT market peaked.
Trading volume – the amount of money in sales across the whole industry – has fallen 89% from the beginning of 2022 to now.
Back then in the first quarter of 2022 it was $12.6bn (£10.4bn), and now in the third quarter of 2023 it’s a mere $1.39bn.
And the industry is contracting. Last month Yuga Labs – the creators of the talismanic Bored Ape NFTs – announced an unspecified number of redundancies.
Bored Ape Yacht Club is one of its most famous series. It once had NFTs selling for millions of dollars, fuelled by celebrity buyers including talk show host Jimmy Fallon and media personality Paris Hilton.
Paris Hilton has not posted on X, formerly Twitter, about NFTs since October 2022, in spite of almost daily tweets in January and February 2022 to promote her collections.
According to the NFT Price Floor website, the floor price of Bored Ape NFTs (the value of the cheapest in the collection) peaked at the beginning of May 2022, then costing around $268,000 (144 Ethereum coins). Now it’s dropped to $56,000.
Collector and artist Taylor Whitley from the US felt forced to sell six of his seven prized Bored Ape NFTs as the offers he was receiving were getting worse and worse.
“I haven’t really wanted to sell, but the market is really bad, so it’s the smart thing for me to do. I think the NFT market could even go lower,” he tells the BBC.