Collector sues artist after spending over $500,000 on an image of Pepe the Frog that others got for free

A trading card style image with an illustration of Pepe the Frog leaning on the edge of a pond, with his buttocks partially exposed. The text area of the card contains Matt Furie's signature.FEELSGOODMAN Series 20, Card 50 (attribution)
Matt Furie is the original creator of the Pepe the Frog cartoon that was later co-opted as an alt-right hate symbol, and which has also been popular among crypto enthusiasts and other online communities. Furie, his company Chain/Saw, and his DAO PegzDAO held an auction on October 8, 2021, and seemed to promise that the NFT would be one-of-a-kind: "500 cards issued, 400 burned, 99 will remain in the PegzDAO, and ONE is being auctioned here". Halston Thayer ended up winning the auction by bidding 150 ETH, then worth $537,084. However, on October 24, 46 of the 99 NFTs that were held by PegzDAO were distributed for free. According to a lawsuit filed by Thayer on March 12, 2022, releasing the 46 additional NFTs "significantly devalu[ed] Plaintiff's Pepe NFT to less than $30,000". The lawsuit seeks reimbursement of Thayer's original purchase, as well as punitive damages. Best of luck to the lawyers trying to describe "Rare Pepes" to a judge, or keep a straight face when saying that yes, the plaintiff did pay more than half a million for a drawing of a rather callipygian cartoon frog.

A trader reportedly makes half a million from a flash crash, then the LATOKEN exchange takes their coins

A trader set very low limit order on Ripple's XRP token, and was delighted to see it executed with XRP very briefly plummeted in value in what's known as a flash crash. The price recovered quickly, and the trader found themselves $458,000 wealthier. However, when they tried to withdraw some of their money from the exchange they were using, LAToken, the withdrawal was declined and their account was restricted for 24 hours for an unspecified terms of use violation. When the trader regained access to their account, the XRP they bought was nowhere to be found.

Report alleges Socios withheld payments owed to advisors and staff to maintain the value of its cryptocurrency

Off the Pitch reported on March 11 that Socios, the sports fan platform, had withheld payments owed to staff, advisors, and others who had signed agreements to endorse the platform's cryptocurrency, chiliZ. Internal messages showed that Socios founder Alexandre Dreyfus repeatedly referred to the payments owed to advisors as "the free money we give them". The reasoning for withholding the payments he'd agreed to? According to internal messages from Dreyfus, "When you give free tokens, people can sell at any price... It doesn’t matter for them; so it makes the price going down... and the REAL investors who bought are losing money because of that." Staff members also were not paid the amounts they were owed. Some of them had moved to Malta, where Socios is headquartered, and were stuck there waiting to be paid.

$4 billion hedge fund Fir Tree Capital Management shorts Tether

The large hedge fund Fir Tree Capital Management has decided that the doubts around the stablecoin Tether are serious enough to take out a substantial short position against the project. Tether has faced questions from regulators, many of which center around whether or not the stablecoin is actually backed by the reserves it claims to have. Some of the assets Tether holds are high-yield commercial paper, which Fir Tree evidently believes is substantially tied to Chinese real estate firms. If that is the case, the real estate crisis in China (primarily revolving around Evergrande Group) could cause the value of Tether's reserves to plummet. According to Fir Tree, they've been shorting Tether since July, and expect their bet could pay off within a year. Other commenters and analysts have speculated that if Tether collapses, and that it very well might, there could be enormous ramifications for the rest of the cryptocurrency space.

UK Financial Conduct Authority requires all Bitcoin ATMs to be shut down

A person holds a phone while tapping a screen on an orange Bitcoin ATMBitcoin ATM (attribution)
All 81 functional Bitcoin ATMs in the United Kingdom are operating illegally, says the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). None of the companies operating them have a license to do so, and the FCA has said that they will take action against the companies if they don't shut down the kiosks.

One company now owns three of the most popular NFT collections: Bored Apes, CryptoPunks, and Meebits

A voxel-style rendering of a human with short black hair and a beanie cap, wearing a tie-die shirt, ripped jeans, and green sneakersMeebit #12742 (attribution)
Nothing really says "decentralized" like one company controlling the priciest and most popular NFT collections! Yuga Labs, the company behind the popular Bored Apes Yacht Club NFTs, announced they had purchased CryptoPunks and Meebits from LarvaLabs. CryptoPunks is one of the oldest NFT collections, and, along with Bored Apes and Meebits, ranks among the priciest collections on the market. Yuga Labs is also the owner of the popular Bored Ape Kennel Club and the Mutant Ape Yacht Club projects.

Facebook bans crypto scammer who pulled in up to $140,000 by impersonating economist David Rosenberg

Facebook comment from someone named Fany Roy Hayes: "I know this may sound unlikely but I just want to share it here for the good of everyone. I've been investing with Sir Ethan David Rosenberg for some week's now, the first investment, to my greatest surprise, I made a withdrawal in just 5days. since then I have been investing with him because of his accuracy. You too can earn big connect with him on the link."A Facebook comment from an account promoting the Rosenberg scam (attribution)
A Facebook profile impersonating an economist named David Rosenberg was discovered by Snopes to have drawn in around 3.4 Bitcoin in deposits, ostensibly from victims who were convinced they were investing with the actual Rosenberg. The fake Rosenberg profile, and others associated with it, posted about how he had reportedly helped them get out of debt or make a lot of money. The scammer's account was originally created in 2012, and when it began to be used in 2021 for the crypto scam, the operators edited old posts to make it appear that the "investment" operation had been going on for multiple years. Facebook banned the account shortly after Snopes published its report.

MeUndies cancels its NFT underwear plans and sells its Bored Ape after community backlash

A grimacing illustrated ape, wearing heart sunglasses and a black cap with a chain around it, to which the MeUndies logo has been addedMeUndies' modified Bored Ape illustration (attribution)
Believe me, I was as shocked as you were to discover that the MeUndies underwear brand has a "community". But that community apparently objected to the brand's purchase of a Bored Ape NFT, which they intended to use as a print on their line of undergarments. "We aren't going to make any excuses, we just didn't do the work we should have to make such an impactful decision", a MeUndies spokesperson wrote on Reddit. The spokesperson wrote that, after learning about the environmental impact of NFTs and cryptocurrency, they would be canceling the planned print, and selling off their Bored Ape. The NFT in question appeared to be BAYC #3986, which most recently sold in January for around 107 ETH ($260,000).

ESPN baseball reporter Jeff Passan has his Twitter account hacked and used to shill NFTs on "the biggest news day of [his] life"

Twitter profile of Jeff Passan, showing banner and profile pictures for "Skulltoons", and the name "Jeff.eth (Jeff Passan)"Jeff Passan's compromised Twitter profile (attribution)
ESPN MLB reporter Jeff Passan was having a great day, as he had been the one to break the news of an agreement between the MLB and the MLB Players Association, who had been deadlocked on labor negotiations. Unfortunately, this was soured a bit by his 800,000-follower, verified Twitter account being compromised and repurposed to shill "Skulltoons" NFTs.

Passan regained control of his Twitter account several hours later. Passan later wrote in a tweet, "hey remember that time i got hacked on the biggest news day of my life". The Skulltoons project distanced themselves from the incident, writing that they believed the hackers were trying to scam the Skulltoons community.

The Polygon network suffers an eleven-hour-long outage

After a network upgrade, Polygon went offline for eleven hours while developers scrambled to diagnose and patch an issue preventing its validators from achieving the 2/3 consensus required by the protocol. Projects and traders alike were affected by the outage, with various projects having to delay planned releases, and users reporting errors and funds stuck in transit. Although the network was able to release a patch to buy them some time, the project had to hard fork on March 18 in order to properly fix the issue.

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