Andrew Yang announces plans to fight poverty with a lobbying group that distributes voting power in proportion to how much you pay

Perennial political candidate Andrew Yang, perhaps in a desperate bid to stay relevant, announced his plans to create "Lobby3". Lobby3 is a DAO which he says will push for crypto-friendly regulation and "eradicate poverty". Like many DAOs, the voting power is allocated based on how many tokens a member owns, meaning that those who pay more have more votes. A single token, representing one vote, costs 0.07 ETH (about $200). The "Founder" tier of participation in the DAO, which appears to offer access to Yang more than anything particularly lobbying-related, costs 40 ETH (about $125,000).

Interestingly, one of the people credited as a "contributing artist" to Lobby3 is "Robness", who had the previous day minted an NFT of a photo of a journalist as a child in an attempt to harass her.

Class action lawsuit names SafeMoon, its executives, Jake Paul, Nick Carter, and others in alleged pump-and-dump scheme

A class action suit was filed against SafeMoon, various executives, and a handful of influencers and celebrities who promoted the token. The plaintiffs allege that promotions included false or misleading statements, and that the defendants misrepresented their control over SafeMoon and its tokens in what is commonly called a "pump and dump". In addition to SafeMoon and its executives, the lawsuit named various celebrities and influencers who had promoted the token to their followers: Jake Paul, Nick Carter, Soulja Boy, Ben Phillips, and Lil Yachty. Promotions by the influencers occurred primarily between March and May 2021, and helped the coin spike to its all-time-highs of about $0.000008. However, the coin has spent most of its history worth less than half or, more lately, a quarter of that amount. The token underwent a migration in early 2022, which increased the price per token, but the value has continued to decrease.

These influencers join a growing list of celebrities who have been named in class action suits over alleged pump-and-dumps. The list includes names like Kim Kardashian, who was named among others in a January class action suit pertaining to a coin called EthereumMAX.

Binance halts activities and marketing in Israel over "licensing issues"—namely, the lack of one

Binance announced they had stopped "marketing to Israelis and all activities focused on Israel until we examine the issue of licensing." The "issue" in question seems to be that they don't have a license at all: according to the Israeli Capital Market, Insurance and Savings Authority, they never received an application that would license Binance to do business in Israel.

MetaDeckz ends trading card NFT project after facing legal action from streamers whose likenesses were used without consent

Side-by-side images showing an illustrated trading card of streamer Pokimane eating a lollipop, next to a photo of her from which the illustration was derivedComparison of the Pokimane MetaDeckz card and an existing photo (attribution)
An artist creating and selling trading cards of various streamers without asking their permission claims he was "just trying to do something cool for the community". He originally claimed that he had emailed each streamer about the project and never got a response, but the enormously popular streamer Ludwig released a statement in a tweet reading summarized with "TLDR: I am not making a fucking NFT and I'll let my lawyers take it from here". The longer text said that the MetaDeckz creator hadn't emailed Ludwig at all, and only sent him a Twitter DM "less than 24 hours ago". "You didn't even follow me on Twitter until [a popular Twitter personality called out your project]. It feels like you just reached out to cover your ass rather than get permission.... This is nothing more than a low effort scam."

Following Ludwig's scathing statement and legal threat, MetaDeckz explained he was just "an artist who saw an oppertunity [sic]" and that he would disband the project. He later released a video explaining that he would stop the project, though his continued references to the cards as "the product" and his statements that he intended to continue working on the cards led some to question if he was just planning to try to monetize them in some other way. If that's the case, he may run into further issues given that the card illustrations all appear to be derived directly from photos of the streamers that don't belong to MetaDeckz.

NFT artist "Robness" mints an NFT of a journalist's childhood photo to harass her

"Robness", an NFT artist who is somewhat known for selling a photograph of a trashcan for more than $250,000, apparently took issue with BuzzFeed News journalist Katie Notopoulos, who published an article in early February revealing the identities of two of the pseudonymous Bored Ape Yacht Club team. Robness was not the only one unhappy with her reporting—many people claimed that she "doxxed" the founders, despite the fact that she only published names that were on public business records and which the Bored Apes company confirmed to her. Some went so far as to send threats to her about her parents, claiming to know where they lived.

Robness decided the best way to make his displeasure known would be to find a photo of Notopoulos as a young child and turn it into an NFT titled "VOTED MOST LIKELY TO BE A FAILED JOURNALIST: KATIE NOTOPOULOS". The NFT description read, "Failed journalism is a true art to master. With Buzzfeed's new article about the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Katie Notopoulos went where no journalist usually goes. She ousted [sic] both of the Bored Ape Yacht Club founders while providing baseless claims of racist tropes about their artwork to further stir up contention. We thank Katie for her continued pursuit in tainting the once respected practice of real journalism. Here we have what is known as doxx art. Enjoy."

The NFT platform where Robness originally listed the NFT, Known Origin, eventually took down the listing. However, due to the nature of blockchains, the NFT itself still exists and can continue to be accessed and traded despite one platform's intervention.

Even Gary Vee gets upset with the shady business in NFTs sometimes

Still image from Gary Vee's video. He's wearing a blue sweatshirt and black baseball cap.Gary Vee (attribution)
Gary Vaynerchuk, an entrepreneur and now crypto/NFT personality, took to Twitter to express his frustration with some projects that airdrop their NFTs to big-name collectors and then market their projects by suggesting the person bought in of their own volition. There is no way for a person to prevent NFTs from being airdropped to their wallets, and if a person wants to get rid of them by burning or transferring them, they have to pay gas fees (averaging around $50 today on the Ethereum blockchain). In an exasperated Twitter video, Gary Vee said, "Hey NFT News and all the other accounts that take money from these projects that airdrop these products into my account and others accounts, and then say shit like 'Gary Vee owns this' or 'this person owns that' or 'this that'. Can you just stop doing that? It makes you look insane. This project is completely full of shit and is trying to trick people, and that sucks."

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.

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