Tabletop roleplaying game publisher Chaosium suspends their NFT project after backlash

An NFT of a 3D model of Cthulu rendered as though it is made from jadeCthulhu fhtagn! (attribution)
Chaosium, a maker of tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs; think games like Dungeons & Dragons) including the popular Call of Cthulu game, launched an NFT project in July 2021. Their initial NFT offering was based around their Call of Cthulu game, but "didn't receive much attention from the gaming press or TTRPG community". However, their more recent discussion of plans to release more NFTs received major pushback from their community, leading the company to release a statement that "we have heard your concerns" and "we are suspending production". In a longer-form statement they wrote that, "In recent months, the debate has become prominent and contentious. Bad actors in this sphere have received widespread coverage. Many people are justifiably baffled, incredulous, and deeply skeptical."

BNB42 rug pulls for over $2.7 million

BNB42 was a "100% decentralized investment platform" that promised investors a 20% daily return on their investments. Unsurprisingly, that turned out to be too good to be true when the project owners deployed unaudited contracts that prevented anyone but themselves from withdrawing, and drained 6,445 BNB ($2.78 million) that quickly went to cryptocurrency tumblers. Around 6,000 investors lost money, presumably after being drawn by the unbelievable promises, like "earn 200% and double your investment in just 10 days". As is tradition, the project's Twitter account and website were wiped shortly after the investors cut and run.

"NFT influencer" Morgan (@helloimmorgan) repeatedly fails to disclose being compensated for NFT promotions

More shadiness emerges around the Jacked Ape Club as it's discovered that the popular NFT influencer account Morgan (aka @helloimmorgan and morgan.eth) failed to disclose being paid to promote the project, even directly denying it at one point. After the JAC deal was uncovered, someone asked her how many other projects had paid her that she hadn't disclosed, and she replied "I haven't been paid for anything except this one". However, it appears she has been compensated for multiple other giveaways for NFT projects including WomenOfCrypto and Squiggles.

Last year Morgan was caught up in scandal after it appeared she had bought a $24,000 Mutant Ape NFT while simultaneously running a GoFundMe trying to raise $20,000 for medical bills for her grandmother; she claims that the GoFundMe predated the MAYC purchase (though that seems to be in some doubt as well) and that all GFM funds went to her grandmother. Separately from that incident, she also created an NFT project called "Grumpkins" that was supposed to give 20% of profits towards children with cleft palates and also her grandmother's fund; after launching the project she quietly changed the donation amount to 10%.

Lonely Ape Dating Club launches to help Bored Ape NFT collectors find love, or maybe pay for it

A dating app screen shows a Bored Ape NFT with pink fur and a ponytail, with a profile named "misty.eth"Lonely Ape Dating Club prototype (attribution)
Left in place for posterity's sake, but the inimitible Katie Notopoulos has determined that this "app" was all a well-executed prank in the post-ironic world that is web3.

The Lonely Ape Dating Club project announced their plans to build a dating app specifically for owners of Bored Ape NFTs — NFTs featuring illustrations of apes that trade for an average of around 90 ETH ($225,000). The app is not currently accepting signups from people who don't own a BAYC NFT, which raises more than a few questions about how successful a dating app will be when its pool of users seems to be overwhelmingly male, though perhaps I'm making too many assumptions about their sexualities. The app does promise plans to release a "Coin Digger" feature, which would "allow non-BAYC owners to connect with higher net worth individuals for mutual benefit", so perhaps that is their plan to solve that problem.

Sadly, the project was cancelled in May 2022 due to "unforeseen circumstances" which I have to imagine were pretty foreseeable.

Leaders of the Canadian truck protest come up with hilariously complex plan to distribute the Bitcoins they've collected

18-wheeler trucks plastered in signage, with a man walking in front waving a Canadian flag. There are several plastic fuel canisters on the ground in the foreground.Canadian truck protest (attribution)
The leaders of the Canadian anti-vaccine trucker protest communicated their plan to distribute the 21 Bitcoin (worth almost $1 million) to the truckers blockading the border. Instead of giving the truckers the money in a cash format they can actually use, the "professional orange-piller" in charge of the Bitcoin distribution has explained a multi-step plan to give truckers pieces of paper with seed phrases printed on them. The seed phrases will be placed into sealed envelopes along with instructions on how to create a Bitcoin wallet, which are then "numbered and squiggly random lines should be drawn on the envelope to help with later identification". The volunteers then plan to physically destroy the printer with shears and screwdrivers, to try to prevent attackers from pulling the seed phrases out of the device memory. Of course once the trucker has their seed phrase, they have to go through the multi-step process of gaining access to the Bitcoin wallet on their smartphone, and then figure out how on earth to actually use their newfound Bitcoins to, say, pay for fuel. Anyway, I think this all goes to show that the future of money truly is upon us.

BuildFinance DAO project treasury drained after "hostile takeover"

A person managed to submit a proposal to the DAO that governs BuildFinance, a "decentralized venture builder", that would allow them to take over the project contract. The attacker succeeded in obtaining enough votes for the proposal to pass, primarily because they held an outsized number of governance tokens, and because they were able to disable community Discord features that would have alerted more of the community to the proposal. After the proposal passed and they were granted control over the project, they began minting and selling the project's native $BUILD token, draining the project treasury of about $470,000. According to BuildFinance, "As things stand, the attacker has full control of the governance contract, minting keys and treasury. The DAO no longer has control over any part of the key infrastructure." Some have questioned whether the incident can properly be described as an "attack" or "hostile takeover": everything worked exactly as it was supposed to in a "code is law" sort of way, even though it was against the intentions of the project founders and presumably most of its community.

The Belvedere Museum dreams big (or, rather, small) by splitting one single painting into 10,000 Valentine's Day NFTs

A small section of canvas with brown paintHappy Valentine's Day, honey! (attribution)
In a Valentine's Day-themed stunt, the otherwise reputable Belvedere Museum in Austria decided to sell Gustav Klimt's The Kiss as NFTs. But making one NFT was apparently not enough for the museum, which decided to section the digital copy of the artwork into 10,000 individual tiles. Although The Kiss is a very large piece of artwork, at nearly 6 feet on each side (180cm × 180cm), this means each NFT buyer gets an NFT representing a scrap of the painting measuring 0.7 inches to a side (18mm × 18mm), about the size of a U.S. penny. The Belvedere Museum has, somehow, estimated that each NFT will sell for €1,850 (about $2,100). If their dreams come true, selling all 10,000 NFTs would net them €18.5 million ($21 million).

The website for the NFT sale explains a six-step process to obtain one of these NFTs, including the standard steps of connecting a wallet and joining the allowlist, but ending with "Dedicate your NFT to a beloved one", which involves sending... their loved one a form email, apparently. My heart goes out to anyone receiving an NFT for Valentine's Day, much less a $2,000 one representing a portion of a painting smaller than a postage stamp. To anyone who thinks this is a good idea: I am begging you, please just buy your partner some flowers.

One Monero mining pool creeps closer to that crucial 51% of the network hashrate

Much of the mining of the Monero privacycoin is done by a single mining pool named MineXMR. The total computing power being used to mine and process Monero transactions (also called the hashrate) controlled by the one mining pool has been gradually increasing. On February 13, someone posted in the Monero subreddit urging people to "boycott" MineXMR, because the pool's hashrate was as high as 47.7% of the total network hashrate. If the one group's hashrate breaks the 50% mark, it opens the network up to a potential 51% attack, where the mining pool could be used for malicious actions, including blocking new transactions from being confirmed, reordering transactions, or double spending.

Jacked Ape Club NFT project team erupts in chaos

An illustration of a muscular ape with leopard spots wearing a cowboy hatJacked Ape #463 (attribution)
The team behind Jacked Ape Club, another NFT project featuring computer-generated apes, briefly erupted in chaos, shaking the confidence of many in the project. Several days prior, the project's initial sale finished with a bit more of a whimper than a bang. Team members Orange, Mitchell, and Jango were suddenly kicked out of the project and blocked by the remaining team. The founding members of the team said they simply removed the trio because their work was done, and because they said they weren't going to continue doing work for the project without further payments (how unreasonable!). However, it appeared that the remaining team members subsequently withdrew 178 ETH (a little more than $500,000) — 39% of the money in the project — leading some to believe they were rug pulling.

The following day, the project announced that control was back in the hands of Orange, Mitchell, Jango, and one other team member, and that the founders would be departing the project. The remaining team also announced that 105 ETH would be returned back to the project; they didn't address the 73 remaining ETH (around $220,000) that was reportedly taken by the founders.

Coinbase experiences an outage during the Super Bowl

Screenshot of error message screen reading "Planned maintenance in progress. Our systems are undergoing maintenance. Please try again later. Your funds are safe."Coinbase outage message (attribution)
People were apparently tempted by Coinbase's Super Bowl ad — which was just a QR code bouncing around the screen like the DVD screensaver — so much so that it took the Coinbase website down. Super Bowl levels of traffic are difficult to handle, granted, but you'd think a company with billions in revenue still might be able to figure it out. Travis Kimmel noted on Twitter that Coinbase's error message read, "Planned maintenance in progress": "Loving how 'planned maintenance' is just like their default 404 page. 'Don't worry everything is under control — we intentionally took the site offline while running an ad during the most expensive airtime ever.' " Coinbase subsequently tried to sweeten the pot by announcing that anyone who downloaded their app would receive $15 in Bitcoin.

This Super Bowl was the first to feature crypto advertisements. In addition to Coinbase's spot, Bud Light announced a beer-related NFT collection, Larry David appeared in an ad for the FTX exchange, and of course had a spot. What better time to make well-researched financial decisions than from your phone after a bunch of Super Bowl beers?

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