Loot set to redefine the legal parameters of social networks

Loot, founded by Dom Hoffman, who created the Vine that many of us knew and loved, is being hailed as a social network, yet Loot doesn’t look or feel like any other social networks. 

As reported in Coindesk Loot was astronomical in its first five days.

The text-based NFT side project from social media network Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann, managed to attract $46 million in sales and a total market cap well in excess of $180 million. 

So what’s Loot? It’s adventurer gear generated and stored on the blockchain. What you get from Loot is essentially a randomized bag of something that feels like an NFT.

Stats, images, and other functionality are intentionally omitted for others to interpret.

Feel free to use Loot in any way you want

Honestly, when I first heard about Loot I thought of this abandoned store in my neighborhood where you can now go to buy unmarked Amazon grab bags.

These stores really exist whether buying micro or macro with lots of Amazon returns.

In brutal honesty, why anyone would want to do this boggles my mind every time I walk by these modem dumpster divers happily exiting the shop.

With Loot, you get bags of pixels, which won’t make sense for a lot of people, but maybe it’s not supposed to. The initial haul of Loot was 8,000 bags of randomly generated items.

What Hoffman asked is that people would then mint blockchain NFTs from these loot bags.

The Verge described Loop as a viral social network that looks like nothing you’ve ever seen,” and while that last half of that sentence is absolutely true, why is Loot a social network?

Because there’s a social component to the trading and just like Vine was, Loot itself is a social community – one that already has its own real-word gravitas.

As The Verge reported, the cheapest Loot bag could be had for about $20,000.

That price more than doubled overnight, and would now cost more than $46,000. But the time this piece is published, we could be climbing towards $100K.

With a tumultuous year for social networks, do we need to be more wary than ever about the creation of a new one that sits on a foundation few of us actually understand? 

We certainly need to gain awareness on how new social networks might be regulated when they deal in the intangible products such as the blockchain and NFTs.

What about when the new network itself becomes intangible even by social network norms?

What’s the worst that can happen on Loot?

You can lose the value of an individual purchase or all of your purchases. What about theft and harassment? The latter may not be a huge issue given the anonymity of the blockchain.

Is the theft part of the game? Maybe even a desired game feature rather than a bug, with the notion of crypto-pirates stealing loot bags not a wholly undesirable thing for Loot. 

John Lawlor warns that anything dealing with NFTs comes with legal risk far beyond pixel theft.

“The problem with the NFT space, especially for those who are new to it, is that they don’t fully consider how and when there are legal restrictions on work that may be copyrighted.” 

“Without even knowing, the creator or owner of an NFT might be infringing on the intellectual property rights of another person, group of people, or a corporation.”

“This doesn’t mean staying away from new ideas such as NFTs but just tread carefully.”

Legal issues aside, the opportunity for new social networks to come from NFTs is exciting, and who better to build one of the early ones than the person who built the Vine app. 

Robleh Jama, a product director at Shop, who built several top-rated apps before having his company acquired by Shopify, loves new Internet ideas and watches the NFT space closely.

“Loot is the wildest thing I’ve seen on the internet and in crypto. So much energy, creativity, and real-time experimentation all coming together to make internet magic.”

For those willing to embrace the discomfort and lack of familiarity that comes with new social media frontiers, Loot and its progeny could prove to be interesting grost for their creative mill.

For others who can’t or won’t push beyond what the Internet and social media has meant to them will miss new experiences but will probably be erring on the side of Internet safety. 

Aron Solomon, JD, is the Head of Strategy and Chief Legal Analyst for Esquire Digital. Aron has been featured in CBS News, TechCrunchThe Hill, BuzzFeed, Fortune, Venture Beat, The Independent, Yahoo!, ABA Journal, Law.com, and The Boston Globe.