The enormously popular Cryptopunks project, created by the LarvaLabs group, is actually on its second version. A bug in the original smart contract allowed users to retrieve their money after buying the original NFT, allowing people to "steal" the v1 NFTs, and so the project largely faded into obscurity in favor of the patched version 2. However, recently the NFT marketplace LooksRare allowed a project where people "wrap" their original punks and can trade them properly without encountering the bug. This apparently didn't go over so well with LarvaLabs: on January 31, the project tweeted, "PSA: 'V1 Punks' are not official Cryptopunks. We don't like them, and we've got 1,000 of them... so draw your own conclusions." However, @NFTethics noticed that one of the LarvaLabs founders sold all 40 V1 punks that he owned between January 23 and 25. Trading them shortly before the project released the tweet declaring they viewed them as worthless sure looks a lot like insider trading. The trades earned the founder a handsome total of 260 ETH (about $625,000). Fortunately for buyers of the wrapped V1 punks, LarvaLabs' announcement doesn't appear to have impacted trading price very much.
French surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean minted an NFT of an x-ray image of a bullet embedded in the fractured forearm of a person who was shot in the November 2015 Paris Bataclan attack. The NFT, which was listed on OpenSea for a starting price of around $2,800, was created without the consent of the victim. The doctor quickly took down the listing after it was noticed by media, and the head of Paris's public hospital system announced that the doctor would be facing criminal and professional complaints.
Conservationist and wildlife photographer George Benjamin tweeted about his new project, "The NFT Conservation Fund". "Over the last decade I've seen first-hand the devastation that our Earth is currently enduring, oftentimes feeling completely helpless," he writes. The project involves minting NFTs of his wildlife photography on the notoriously high-emissions Ethereum blockchain, and then contributing a measly 15% of profits to... get more wildlife photographers to do the same. Good news, though — the paper on which the limited-edition prints will be printed is "Forest Stewardship Council-approved"!
An NFT group announced that they'd be releasing NFTs created from photographs of a 1991 Nirvana show they performed shortly before Nevermind rose to popularity. The NFTs go on sale on what would have been Kurt Cobain's birthday if he was still alive. The creators say they seek to "honor" Cobain by releasing these NFTs, which makes you wonder if they've ever heard Cobain speak before.
Solana was so overloaded with bot transactions that users couldn't transact. As the cryptocurrency market in general continued to tank, users rushed to top up the collateral they had provided to keep their loans from being liquidated and found they couldn't get the transfers to go through. One user reported spending eight hours trying unsuccessfully to add collateral, before eventually getting liquidated and losing 500 SOL (about $47,500). It took Solana 24 hours to even identify the cause of the issue, and another 24 before they were able to resolve it. Traders watching their loans get liquidated were not impressed when Solana Labs co-founder tweeted "lol", with a screenshot of a Solana node showing high amounts of duplicate packets.
Ozzy Osbourne's NFT project, CryptoBatz, changed to a slightly different Discord URL ("cryptobatz" rather than "cryptobatznft") some time after the new year. However, they forgot to take down at least one tweet mentioning the previous URL, and scammers were able to set up a new server at that location. Users were instructed to "verify", which redirected them to a phishing site where the contents of their wallets were stolen.
Shortly after rolling out their hexagonal NFT profile pictures, @twitter posted "gm, looking for an nft pfp". The next day, McDonald's German language communications account, @McDonaldsDENews, replied "Say no more!" with attached pixel art of the Twitter bird logo holding a McDonald's bag in its beak. After further investigation, the art was found to be nearly identical to an image from a tweet by @SarahBurssty, which ironically was created to criticize Twitter's support of NFTs.
Security researchers publicly disclosed a critical privacy vulnerability with the popular cryptocurrency wallet Metamask, where a malicious attacker can easily create an NFT and airdrop it to a victim to obtain their IP address (and thus potentially their location). Metamask founder Dan Finlay acknowledged that "this issue has been widely known for a long time", and that the researchers were "right to call us out for not addressing it sooner. Starting work on it now. Thanks for the kick in the pants, and sorry we needed it."
Although NFTs-as-profile-pictures on Twitter is nothing new, Twitter launched a new feature in which users can connect their crypto wallets to verify that an NFT belongs to them. Such verified NFTs will display with a hexagon shape, rather than the standard circle, presumably to differentiate these users from the right-clickers.
Popular NFT marketplace OpenSea suffered an outage that had ripple effects throughout several major services using their APIs, including the browser extension crypto wallet MetaMask. The same day, Twitter announced it was rolling out its support for NFT profile pictures, an announcement that was dampened a bit by collection pages failing to load due to the outage. The widespread effects of the outage highlighted points by many web3 critics, that the ecosystem is hardly as decentralized in practice as it claims to be.