Animoon rug pulls for $6.3 million

A Bulbasaur character from Pokemon, recolored to be silver, with orange bows on its earsAnimoon #6891 (attribution)
Animoon is yet another Pokémon rip-off NFT project, with artwork that was ripped directly from Pokémon artwork and recolored. They claim to have a "signed NDA" with Pokémon (whatever that means), though it seems extremely unlikely that there's any real agreement granting them rights to use Pokémon IP.

Not only did their roadmap include play-to-earn game (of course), collaborations with a Swiss shoe and apparel store that would send them actual gear, and real-life trips, but they promised that 15 "legendary" cards would "automatically generate" their owners $2,500 each month, for life. The project was promoted by Jake Paul, an influencer whose crypto promotions don't have a great track record to say the least.

The project team began to grow more distant after launch, posting less frequently. Promised apparel shipments never arrived. The team changed the legendary rewards from $2,500 a month to "a percentage of incomes from the game", which they said "could be a lot more than $2500 monthly" despite no game actually existing. The project team eventually disappeared, took down the Twitter account and website, and disabled the general chat in their Discord project.

Renter loses half their security deposit after landlord puts it into Bitcoin

A Reddit poster asking for legal advice reported that when they moved out of their apartment, they received only $1600 of the $3000 they provided to their landlord as an initial security deposit. When they asked what happened to the rest of the money, the landlord explained that they had put the money into a "money market account" that had lost value, then admitted they'd invested it into Bitcoin. The landlord tried to claim that "this is how a lot of landlords operate now", despite most likely falling afoul of guidelines on how landlords are supposed to hold deposits.

Personally, I'm looking forward to telling my landlord that I can only pay half my rent because I lost the money I'd set aside for it in the crypto markets.

Coinbase rescinds already accepted job offers

The same day that Gemini announced they would be laying off 10% of their staff, Coinbase announced they would be extending a hiring freeze they'd put in place two weeks earlier, and also rescinding job offers that had already been accepted.

Crypto companies are not the only tech companies that have been slowing down hiring or even laying off employees recently, though rescinding already accepted offers is extremely unusual. A would-be employee wrote on the anonymous employee message board app Blind that their offer had been rescinded, and that "this feels like a nightmare that I can’t wait to wake up from". A current Coinbase employee replied, "Dodged a bullet".

Someone scrapes pre-launch NFT data to steal and launch their own goblin asses project

A green wrinkly pair of butt cheeks with light green goblin ears with gold rings, and a pink bandaidGoblin Ass #462 (attribution)
Hoping to riff off the popularity of the recent and weird Goblintown NFT project, some NFT enthusiasts decided to make their own "Goblin Asses" project, which is exactly what it sounds like. As one of the team wrote in a thread explaining what they also clearly thought was a pretty funny turn of events, the team was working quickly and with only one developer. They cut some corners on their development practices, and when testing their project contract, a watchful observer was able to scrape the image data, duplicate the contract, deploy it, and create and release their own website for the project.

All my goblin asses gone.

Gemini announces layoffs of 10% of their staff, blames "crypto winter"

The Winklevoss twins, founders of the Gemini crypto exchange, announced to employees and in a public blog post on June 2 that they would be laying off 10% of their workforce. They wrote that the crypto industry is "in the contraction phase that is settling into a period of stasis — what our industry refers to as 'crypto winter.'" According to CNBC, Gemini employed around 1,000 people, meaning that around 100 would lose their jobs.

The announcement came on the same day that the CFTC announced a lawsuit against Gemini for allegedly making false or misleading statements.

CFTC sues Gemini over allegedly misleading statements

Gemini is a major cryptocurrency exchange and market for Bitcoin futures. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a lawsuit against Gemini for making false or misleading statements pertaining to their self-certification of a bitcoin futures product. The complaints contains several sections detailing allegations of "false or misleading statements and omissions" concerning loans and advances, self-trading, fee rebates and overrides, and trading volume and liquidity. The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction preventing Gemini from engaging in trading activities, as well as civil penalties and forfeiture of money earned through their alleged violations of the law.

Someone impersonates Guardian tech editor Alex Hern to shill a cryptocurrency

Alex Hern, a technology editor at the Guardian, was surprised to receive an onslaught of messages asking about "Tsuka", a new crypto token. It turned out someone had been using Hern's identity to promote the token. After Hern set the record straight with a message in the token's Telegram channel and a note in his Twitter bio, the token crashed—at least as much as a $0.00015 token with a notional market cap of around $100,000 can crash. But it was enough to hurt some of the people who had been misled by the scam—one person messaged Hern to say he'd lost $400 on the crash, which was around a month's wages in his country, and which he described as his "life savings".

After the token plummeted, Hern received an email from the developers, who spun a story about how they were just fans of his, and that it was just an unfortunate mistake that people has mistaken their usage of his name and "Guardian" to mean he was involved.

Collector sells Bored Ape for $513,000 less than they paid for it

An illustrated ape with brown fur wearing a grey cap, with Xs for eyes, with a dagger in its mouth.Bored Ape #7256 (attribution)
NFT collector onekiller purchased Bored Ape #7256 for 188 ETH a month ago—at the time worth about $513,000. On June 1, they sold the ape for 0.088 ETH, or $161.

It's not quite clear what happened, but it seems likely that it may have been a listing error. Onekiller had posted and then canceled listings for the ape several times in the past week and as recently as four hours before the sale, all between 250 and 145 ETH, suggesting that they had control of their account and made a mistake while entering the listing value.

Technologists draft an open letter to US lawmakers urging them to responsibly legislate crypto industry

A group of 26 technologists (disclosure: myself included) have signed an open letter to U.S. lawmakers urging them to "take a critical, skeptical approach toward industry claims that crypto-assets ... are an innovative technology that is unreservedly good". The letter is an effort to push back against the well-funded crypto lobbyists attempting to influence U.S. lawmakers.

The Financial Times writes, "While individuals have made similar warnings about the safety and reliability of digital assets, it marks a more organised effort to challenge the growing influence of crypto advocates who want to resist attempts to regulate the frothy sector."

Solana network halted again

Solana is one of the more popular proof-of-stake blockchains, and is often trotted out as an alternative to Ethereum when people bring up Ethereum's environmental impact, slowness, or high transaction costs.

However, Solana has been plagued with stability issues, and on June 1 it was taken offline by its developers for what CryptoWhale says was the eighth time this year. This occurred only days after an incident in which the Solana blockchain clock drifted significantly behind real-world time.

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