Internet shutdown in Kazakhstan reveals that 12–18% of all Bitcoin mining is done there, which has alarming energy implications

Fuel shortages and spiking electricity costs in Kazakhstan have contributed to protests and a governmental crisis in the country. The electricity issue is partially thanks to cryptocurrency mining to begin with, with about 8% of electricity generation in the country going towards crypto mining (as of last year—it's likely to be higher now). During the crisis, the Kazakh president ordered the nation's largest telecom provider to shut down Internet service in the country to try to quash communications among his opponents. On doing so, the total amount of Bitcoin mining taking place in the country was revealed: at least 12% of Bitcoin's computational power disappeared, though the numbers could swell closer to 18%. This has extremely concerning implications as far as Bitcoin's environmental impact (which we already knew was bad): Kazakhstan's electricity generation relies heavily on "hard" coal being burned in old and inefficient power plants, producing comparably enormous amounts of CO₂.

Pudgy Penguins NFT project founders apparently try to make off with all the money they've raised

An illustration of a smiling penguin wearing a pink scarf with a blue dead fish on its head.Pudgy Penguin #6827 (attribution)
Pudgy Penguins, a popular NFT project that somehow warranted a full-length New York Times article by Kevin Roose, apparently is trying something pretty shady. This was revealed by NFT whale 9x9x9, who has invested around 600 ETH (over $2 million) in the project and who said they tried to buy shares in the company a few months ago but ultimately rejected the deal Pudgy Penguins offered. 9x9x9 says the project's founders contacted them on January 4, offering to sell the company, at which point 9x9x9 discovered that they had split the company and were trying to walk away with the full profits and sell the shell of the company with 0 ETH in its wallet to 9x9x9 for 888 ETH.

Artist discovers her work has been stolen and published as 86,000 NFTs

Tweet by Aja Trier: "86 thousand times people have stolen my art and listed them on opensea and they even had the gall to make a collection like a giant middle finger to my IP rights. Wtf?"Tweet by Aja Trier (attribution)
Artist Aja Trier was shocked to discover that her artwork depicting dogs painted in the style of Van Gogh's Starry Night has been stolen and turned into an NFT collection with 86,000 items. Although NFT theft is sadly nothing new, this was perhaps the largest-scale theft to date. @NFTtheft, a popular Twitter account that draws attention to art theft in NFTs, wrote, "This is absolutely shocking. We’ve never seen anything at this scale before."

Kosovo issues an emergency ban on cryptocurrency mining in efforts to ease electricity shortages

Energy shortages and rolling blackouts plagued Kosovo towards the end of 2021, leading the Kosovan government to issue a 60-day state of emergency to address the crisis. The emergency authorization promised to identify and shut down any cryptocurrency mining. Kosovo has attracted cryptocurrency miners because it has some of the cheapest electricity prices in Europe, largely due to government subsidies and the availability of lignite (the lowest grade of coal, which is extremely harmful to the environment). Much of the mining takes place in the northern portions of the country, which do not recognize the Kosovan government and so have not paid for electricity at all in more than 20 years.

ElectionDayMad1 apologizes for shilling an NFT project (that later rug pulled) without adequately disclosing he was being paid

A pixel art person with yellow hair smokes a vapeExpansionPhunks #15091 (attribution)
NFT collector and influencer Franklin/@ElectionDayMad1 posted a tweet thread about how he had hyped a project that later rugpulled. He was paid about 18 ETH (about $63,000) to promote the "Expansion Phunks", but did very little to acknowledge that he was being paid to promote the project. He also wrote, "I didn’t do any research of Fly nor try to dox the anon team+devs and for that I’m very sorry and regret not researching." Elsewhere in the thread he mentions that "I’d say 99% of projects that I promote fail", a statement which might prompt some self-reflection if he was as ashamed of fleecing his followers as he claims to be.

Solana experiences outage or "congestion", depending on who you believe

An illustration of a yellow chick with a large brown afro, bruised eyes, and black dress shoesSolChick #535 (attribution)
Journalist Colin Wu reported that the Solana blockchain had an approximately four-hour-long outage due to a DDoS attack, while many others noticed enormous slowdowns. Solana later claimed there had been no DDoS and no outage, and that there was just "some congestion", a claim several crypto outlets reported at apparent face value. The "congestion" was reported to have been from the launch of the highly-hyped SolChicks NFT project, although you have to wonder how a blockchain that claims to be able to handle 50,000 transactions per second (though averaging around 1,700 in reality) could be affected so majorly by a single project. This was the third apparent network issue suffered by the Solana blockchain over the past few months.

After being hospitalized for digestion issues after selling farts in a jar (really), a former 90 Day Fiancé star turns to NFTs

An illustration of a green jar with a top hat and flowers inside on an orange background.Fart jar NFT (attribution)
Stephanie Matto, who starred on season 6 of the reality show 90 Day Fiancé, has turned to some weird moneymaking schemes following her TV career. For a time, she claims she was making more than $50,000 a week selling "farts in a jar" for $1,000 each—until she was hospitalized for a health scare after a particularly fiber-heavy meal. She now is trying to sell her farts as "digital artworks on the blockchain" for a bit under $200 each, sans any physical component. At least you got a jar for your money before.

The Sunflower Farmers blockchain game DDoSes the Polygon blockchain for several days

A pixel art game screenshot where a character is watering sunflowersSunflower Farmers (attribution)
Sunflower Farm, a play-to-earn farming game on the Polygon network, contributed to massive slowdowns and a spike in gas fees on the Polygon blockchain. Heavy bot usage and a game design where practically every action (including saving the game, using a tool, harvesting something) required a blockchain transaction flooded the Polygon blockchain with more traffic than it could handle, and spiked gas fees for a given transaction from around 30 gwei up to more than 1000. This event casts some doubt on Polygon's claims it can handle up to 65,000 transactions per second—in reality it averages about 85 transactions per second and so presumably should have had a lot of wiggle room for even a pretty major increase in transactions.

ArbixFinance appears to rug pull, making off with at least $10 million

Yield farming platform ArbixFinance was drained of at least $10 million, with some reporting amounts up to $32 million. Some optimistic users hoped it was a glitch, but the fact that the formerly-active @ArbixFinance Twitter account disappeared along with their website as the funds were being drained points to a rugpull. The platform had previously been audited and approved by CertiK in November, lending the project credibility in the eyes of prospective users.

Samsung announces its new smart TVs will include an NFT marketplace

If trying to type in the name of a movie on Netflix with a TV remote isn't painful enough for them, now people will be able to try using their TV to do due diligence into whether or not they're about to get scammed.

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