Publication Date


Document Type

Working Paper


Professor John Hall

Journal of Economic Literature Classification Codes

B15, B31, B52

Key Words

Conspicuous Consumption, Instinct of Emulation, Leisure Class, Non-fungible Tokens, Veblen Goods


This inquiry seeks to establish that ideas advanced by Thorstein Veblen in his book, The Theory of the Leisure Class [1899], offer insights into nonfungible tokens. Through the evolution of technology -- aided by broad access to the internet -- the emergence of non-fungible tokens can be understood to offer the leisure class a novel form of conspicuous consumption. Enabled by expansive networks, members of the leisure class can now engage in conspicuous displays of wealth and therewith establish their status relative to members of the laboring class as well as members of the leisure class. While there exist many different forms of non-fungible tokens, this inquiry places special emphasis upon “Cryptopunks” and “Bored Ape Yacht Club” as two major projects.


© 2022 Kamren Geist

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