Cubes, whaaat? Yes, I repeat, cubes. They are trendy among the online investing army that has embraced cryptocurrency, NFTs and just about any opportunity that is anti-establishment.
“We’re doing something new. We’re doing a thing.” (Neeraj Agrawal, Coin Center)
“Tungsten cubes are one of the most popular memes in the world of cryptocurrency right now, a realm where value is defined as much by attention as anything tangible.” (The Verge)
“It’s classic crypto stuff, taking funny concepts and then massively taking the joke too far … We deal with this immaterial virtual world - the metaverse, as we like to say. We’re dealing with synthetic commodities, and NFTs, which have financial value, but are completely ethereal. So it’s nice to return to the atoms.” (Nic Carter, Castle Island Ventures)
These cubes are not made of gold or silver, the best-known coinage metals. Nor do they fit into the other precious group of metals: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium and platinum (which is the most widely traded).
Tungsten. This word sounds familiar. I am having a flashback to high school chemistry, but I can’t remember exactly what tungsten is. So, since my BF is a mechanical engineering tech, I decided to ask him, as he usually knows something about everything that I don’t know.
Richard says that if you can only remember a few things about tungsten, remember these two words: DENSE and TOUGH.
Pure tungsten was first isolated by Spanish brothers Jose and Fausto de Elhuyar in 1783. It is a silver-white metal that must be chemically isolated from a naturally occurring mineral called wolframite. That’s why tungsten’s symbol in the periodic table is W (short for ‘wolfram’), not T. The name tungsten is Swedish for ‘heavy stone’. Tungsten’s atomic number (the number of protons in the nucleus of its atom) is 74, and its atomic weight (the weighted average of its naturally occurring isotopes) is 183.84. OMG, this is heavy stuff (both in the sense of weight and this newly imparted knowledge). By far, the largest producer of tungsten is China.
Tungsten is one of the toughest elements found in nature. It is incredibly dense, has the highest tensile strength (resistance to breaking under tension) of any element, and is resistant to corrosion. It is almost impossible to melt (6,192 F) and boils at the same temperature as the photosphere, aka the visible surface of the sun (10,030 F). This high melting point makes tungsten a very useful element when it is mixed with other materials to form an alloy. For example, tungsten alloys are plated onto sections of rockets and missiles that must withstand tremendous heat, including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson’s engine nozzles that eject highly explosive rocket fuel. The turbine blades in aircraft engines are coated with a tungsten alloy. Tungsten is often used in armor-piercing bullets. The military also uses tungsten to make kinetic bombardment weapons that can shoot a rod of tungsten through walls and thick tank armor.
Previously the mainstay of incandescent light bulb filaments (before LEDs took over), much of today’s mined tungsten is used to create specialized tools, especially drill bits that cut through metal or solid rock without breaking or becoming dull.
If you’re into fishing, you have surely heard about the benefits of pricier tungsten weights, which provide more “feeling” than lead.
If you’re a F1 enthusiast, did you know that tungsten was present on every car on the grid in Houston a few weeks ago?
What would be the biggest joke about the world’s most dense element? Owning it as a weightless NFT. You got it – that’s recently been made possible, too.
Or … perhaps you prefer to have a few physical assets in your portfolio.
Now challenge yourself and your friends to our Tiny Tungsten Cube Quiz of the Day, by downloading Quizefy from the app store if you haven’t already done so, then see how much you know and Strut Your Smart. Our Tiny Tungsten Cube Quiz of the Day is only available today, then it disappears. We’ll be back again every Tuesday with a special blog posted at www.quizefy.com, along with a new trivia quiz on the same topic as the blog. Don’t forget to follow Quizefy in social media, so we can remind you of upcoming blog and quiz content.