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 Crypto.com 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?

British tax collectors perform their first ever NFT seizure in tax evasion investigation

British tax authorities seized three NFTs in what they said was an attempt to dodge £1.4 million ($1.9M) in taxes. Officials stated that the seizure was a "warning to anyone who thinks they can use crypto assets to hide money", which may come as a surprise to some of the masterminds in the crypto subreddits.

Founder of an air taxi DAO writes of narrowly avoiding an elaborate scam attempt

thomasg.eth is the founder of Arrow, a DAO that is working to create "open-source VTOL [vertical take-off and landing] aircraft and air taxi protocol". In a long Twitter thread, he wrote about a pair of scammers, one of whom posed as a 3D artist from Ubisoft and one of whom impersonated a team member of an existing metaverse project called SpaceFalcon. After weeks of interaction, during which the supposed 3D artist supplied thomasg.eth with high-quality renderings and the supposed metaverse project team member invited him to tour the facilities of a different VTOL project, one of them invites him to test their NFT staking app. thomasg.eth was, fortunately, cautious about interacting with unfamiliar NFTs from his main wallets, at which point the scammers began to act a bit cagey. When thomasg.eth inspected the smart contracts, he realized they would enable the scammers to transfer any amount of aWETH (wETH on the Aave protocol) tokens from his wallet.

While many web3 scammers are fairly primitive in their tactics, these appeared to be running a sophisticated and highly-targeted scam. The pair worked to impersonate an existing web3 project, even buying a similar domain. They apparently hired a 3D artist to produce renderings to help ingratiate one of the scammers into the target's web3 project. And when thomasg.eth inspected the scammers' addresses, he found that they were working with at least 100 ETH in funding (currently equivalent to around $300,000). thomasg.eth is currently holding over $100 million in his wallet with the same name, so it's not hard to see why the scammers might have picked him as a target worth some extra effort.

Crowdfunded TitanReach MMO game project crashes and burns after developer spends investor money on a bad crypto gamble and a Tesla

A video game character stands on a beachTitanReach game screenshots (attribution)
The "Runescape-like" MMO game known as TitanReach has had a bumpy history so far, first failing to reach its Kickstarter goal in a crowdfunding project launched in 2020, but building enough community behind it to continue with crowdfunding off of Kickstarter to fund development on a month-to-month basis. The developer earned more than $200,000 via this model, but this only kept the project going until around August 2021, when they ran out of money. However, a month later, the lead developer of the project, "Unravel", reported that an anonymous investor had "fully funded this whole game out of the kindness of his heart. No strings attached. It sounds too good to be true, but it's true." Development resumed.

On February 11, Unravel announced that his studio "would be closing its doors for good. TitanReach will be laid to rest. The reasons for this are private." From there he went into a long message about the previously-unannounced crypto and NFT plans he had for the game, which unsurprisingly enraged the community who had supported the game.

YouTuber KiraTV, who had become close to the project, its developer, and the investor, revealed that the anonymous angel investor had been the cryptocurrency entrepreneur behind Yearn.Finance, though Kira said that he believed the investor had not influenced Unravel to add crypto elements to the game. Kira alleged that Unravel had taken $150,000 of money sent by the investor and put it into $TIME, the token associated with the ill-fated Wonderland project. When he lost the money overnight, the investor cut funding for the project. It later came out that Unravel had allegedly used company money to make risky cryptocurrency investments besides the one incident with $150,000, and had even used the investor's money to purchase himself a new Tesla.

Porn actress Lana Rhoades apparently abandons her NFT project after its launch

An illustrated pin-up style woman wearing green bunny ears, a cropped shirt saying "Lana", fringed gloves, a mini skirt, and thigh highs stands in front of a bed.CryptoSis #2153 (attribution)
Lana Rhoades put her celebrity status behind the "CryptoSis" NFT project, which launched on January 22 and raised about $1.8 million. The project featured a detailed roadmap, explaining plans to develop metaverse wearables and a "hangout spot", send personalized messages from Rhoades to a small group of holders, and send out merchandise. The website also promised "real world utilities" including meet and greets with the "many mainstream notable female figures [who] will continue to join this community".

However, only weeks after launch, Rhoades appeared to have abandoned the project, and most of the funds had been transferred out. Rhoades deleted her TikTok videos in which she had promoted it, and didn't respond to tweets asking about the project. One community member wrote on Discord that they had "spent what [they] can't lose. Spent 4k, on total I had 6k. Man I'm left with 2k only. No job and have a 2 yo son". Hopefully the guy who got the tattoo of the project logo on his shin also isn't too disappointed... The NFTs, which cost 0.1 ETH each to mint (about $250), were selling for around 0.005 ETH (about $15) on February 16, if they were being bought at all.

Jacked Ape Club triumphantly announces that the project sold out, and that the remaining supply has been destroyed... wait, what?

A muscular grey ape wearing a bucket hat, holding a hand weight in its mouth, with bloodshot eyes, wearing a bikini topJacked Ape #942 (attribution)
The Jacked Ape Club launched their public sale on February 10, offering 8,888 NFTs of illustrated apes much like the Bored Apes, but muscular. The following day they tweeted that, "The Jacked Ape collection has sold out! The remainder of the supply has been burnt so we can begin building". This led reasonable people to question how a project can both sell out and have remaining supply. It turned out that the Jacked Apes project had only sold about 3,200 of the NFTs, destroyed the remaining ~5,700, and then proclaimed that the NFTs had "sold out".

MoviePass is back, with a blockchain and eye-tracking to keep you glued to ads

Remember MoviePass, the completely unsustainable and shady business that allowed people to go see unlimited movies in theaters (until it didn't)? Well, it's back. This time they promise you'll be able to earn cryptocurrency by watching ads, which I guess you can then spend to watch more movies. Not only that, they promise to prevent that pesky issue of people putting their phones down while the ads are playing by using eye tracking to make sure you're firmly glued to the screen. I wonder if they screen A Clockwork Orange.

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