Pringles Has A New Digital Flavor You Can't Taste

Yet another brand is getting in on the non-fungible token (NFT) action this week. Pringles has just launched a new flavor called CryptoCrisp. Only, you can't taste it. The "flavor," they explained on Twitter, is a set of 50 NFTs.

NFTs are similar to collectible items because they're one-of-a-kind digital artwork (via The Guardian). An NFT, as the Associated Press describes, is essentially a certificate of authenticity for any digital file, meaning pretty much anything you experience on your computer or phone, from GIFs to albums. It works with the same technology as cryptocurrencies except, where those have an interchangeable value, NFTs have a unique value. 

So, what Pringles has done is release just 50 1080x1080 MP4 files of the CryptoCrisp on Rarible, a digital collectible auction site, for people to bid on (via Hypebeast). The file, designed by Ukrainian artist Vasya Kolotusha, features a golden Pringles can with a mascot that waggles its eyebrows before twisting about. Bidding starts at 0.0013 ETH, which Hypebeast says comes out to about two dollars. Any money raised from the bidding, Hypebeast emphasizes, will go to Kolotusha, not Pringles. 

Is buying CryptoCrisp worth it?

The tone of Twitter's response to Pringle's announcement was broadly negative. "What a disappointment!!!!! Here I was hoping 4 some real and tasty. And u give us this," one Twitter user lamented. "Why are you choosing to create needless emissions to jump on the NFT bandwagon?" a second wrote, noting, as Eater covered while writing about Pizza Hut's foray into NFTs, that the infrastructure for the technology places a heavy toll on the environment.

Most, however, could not see the point of Pringles selling chips that can't actually be consumed. After all, the whole NFT enterprise is digital, meaning that it can't be touched, smelled, and, most importantly, tasted. The point is that the limited amount of authenticated Pringle CryptoCrisp files makes them a potentially collectible item, with the prices such status attracts. As Food & Wine points out, spending money on a file now could, theoretically, result in a large payday down the road once its value has accrued. Or, the market may move on as people decide that when it comes to digital works, a copy serves as well as the "original." For now, Pringles, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell are betting that the stunt will attract attention, which could be their end goal.