Former footballer Michael Owen claims his NFTs "will be the first ever that can't lose their initial value"

Portrait of Michael OwenMichael Owen (attribution)
In what almost guarantees some fun lawsuits down the line, former footballer Michael Owen tried to hit back at "the critics" by announcing that "[his] NFTs will be the first ever that can’t lose their initial value". Owen's business partner quickly turned up to do damage control, writing "we cannot guarantee or say that you cannot lose. There is always a chance".

It appeared that Owen might have meant that there would be a lower bound on resale price of the NFTs, which is neither a new concept in NFTs (see Kaiju Kongz or Rich Bulls Club), nor does it mean the NFTs "can't lose their initial value". It just means that when the NFTs do lose their initial value, collectors can't recoup even a portion of their investment.

G.O.A.T. token developer rug pulls for $260,000

The G.O.A.T. ("Greatest of all Tokens") project claimed to be "the new standard in cryptocurrency", with vague claims that it would "add value by addressing scalability and risk management utilizing a broad range of strategies". Unfortunately for buyers, one risk they didn't manage was that one of the project developers would suddenly sell off their holdings, making off with $260,000 while crashing the token price to nearly $0.

The remaining project developers have tried to remain positive and restore faith in the community, accusing the developer who sold of "gluttony" and "greed". The project also implemented a steep 50% tax on remaining holders to discourage them from trying to sell.

Founder of popular Azuki project admits to past rug pulls

A human figure with brown-purple skin and blond hair tied back in a bun, holding a sword over her shoulder. She has a tattoo on her neck and the side of her face, and is wearing a parka with a furred collar.Azuki #2821 (attribution)
In a blog post titled "A Builder's Journey", the founder of the popular Azuki NFT project admitted that he had also been behind the NFT projects CryptoPhunks (note the "h"), Tendies, and CryptoZunks. CryptoPhunks were simply mirrored versions of the early CryptoPunks project. In his telling, he decided to "decentralize the [CryptoPhunks] project by handing over the reins to our community". Many, if not most, others consider CryptoPhunks to be a rug pull—abandoned by its founder in a betrayal of the community. The same is true for the other two projects that Zagabond admitted he ran.

This news came as a shock to many lovers of Azuki NFTs, pricey NFTs which regularly trade for 20–30 ETH (~$45,000–$70,000). Azuki is not without its own controversies, recently facing accusations of insider trading.

TerraUSD (UST) stablecoin dramatically loses its peg

A chart showing the price of TerraUSD in USD from May 4 to May 11. The value hovered very close to $1 until May 9, when it plunged to $0.70 before returning to around $0.90, then plunging as low as $0.30 on May 11TerraUSD ($UST) to USD from May 4–May 11 (attribution)
It's been a rough few days for TerraUSD, one of several popular stablecoins pegged to the US dollar. Unlike many stablecoins like Tether or USDC, Terra is an algorithmic stablecoin, meaning that instead of (ostensibly) being backed 1-1 by various assets, they are based around an algorithm that uses various market incentives to maintain a set price. UST is the largest algorithmic stablecoin on the market at the moment, followed by projects like Fei and FRAX.

The incentives that should keep TerraUSD trading at $1 have been put to the test lately, with a combination of spiraling cryptocurrency prices across the board and some apparent large sell-offs by those holding UST. The coin dipped down to $0.992 on May 7 before some large buys returned it close to its peg. It dipped again by a smaller amount the following day, reaching a low of around $0.994. These values may seem like small changes on the micro scale, but when major stablecoins diverge from their peg by even fractions of a cent they have major effects throughout the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

On May 9, UST saw its most extreme de-peg, plunging to $0.95, then again to $0.84 later that day, despite Luna Foundation Guard liquidating $1.3 billion in Bitcoin reserves to try to restore the peg.

Do Kwon, cofounder of Terraform Labs, initially seemed to be doing his best to portray confidence on Twitter by tweeting things that give the exact opposite impression. "If yall girls are gonna fud, try to do it during my waking hours pls," he wrote on May 7. "You could listen to [crypto Twitter] influensooors about UST depegging for the 69th time. Or you could remember they're all now poor, and go for a run instead", he tweeted, somewhat blithely acknowledging UST's repeated history of losing its peg. His tweets seemed to take a more serious turn beginning the evening of May 8, as the situation grew more dire.

Attacker steals $3 million from Fortress Protocol

An attacker was able to steal 1,048 ETH (~$2.65 million) and 400,000 DAI from the Fortress Protocol borrowing and lending platform in what appears to have been an oracle manipulation attack. The attacker quickly moved their ~$3 million in stolen funds to the Tornado Cash cryptocurrency tumbler to obscure their tracks.

The exploit caused the $FTS token to drop 42%. The creators of Fortress urged people not to supply any assets to the pool as the attack was ongoing, and tweeted "we need the support of all of our partners and key organizations in the community to assist and try to freeze and bring back the funds!"

Cashera makes off with $90,000

Cashera was a project claiming to provide a "banking revolution" with its CSR crypto token. The project did many things to try to appear legitimate, including linking to government records showing a company with their name is registered in the UK and undergoing a smart contract audit by AuditRateTech. Their website boasted "partners" including VISA, PayPal, Netflix, and Spotify.

Despite all this, the project deployer suddenly minted 23 million CSR tokens, which they swapped for almost $90,000 in other assets, crashing the token value in the process by about 70%. The development team also took the project website offline.

Hunter defi project rug pulls for $1.2 million

Under the pretense of a contract upgrade, the Hunter defi project team drained the liquidity from the project, swapping the tokens for assets worth around $1.2 million. The team also took down the project website and closed the Discord server.

The rug pull was first noticed by CertiK, a blockchain security firm that had also audited the project. "We pointed out these major centralization issues in their audit," CertiK wrote on Twitter.

Fury of the Fur rug pulls for $300,000

A 3D model somewhat resembling a bear. Its surface appears to be diamond-embossed black leather, and it has a blue mohawk and is holding a black metal scepter.FuryTed #2597 (attribution)
The Fury of the Fur NFT project was a collection of 3D models that sort of resembled bears. The project advertised that the models were "metaverse and game-ready", and the roadmap promised a merchandise store, animated series, "sandbox hideout", and card game.

However, the NFT launch went poorly—fewer than 2,800 NFTs were minted out of the total supply of 9,671 NFTs. The project tried to relaunch but failed to drum up much more interest, so the creators apparently decided to call it quits—while keeping the money, of course. The project founder left a long message to the community, in which they said that they would be shutting the project and spoke at length about how difficult it had been for them.

Coinbase's new NFT marketplace hasn't had more than 200 transactions in a day since its public launch

Coinbase is a big name in the crypto exchange world, enjoying the highest trading volume in the United States. The company decided to enter the NFT trading space, first releasing an NFT marketplace to a small group of beta users, then opening it to the public on April 20.

Although the company claimed to have 3 million users on its waitlist, the public marketplace release has gone shockingly poorly given Coinbase's existing reputation. The platform has yet to see more than 200 transactions in a given day (compared to OpenSea, which regularly sees more than 100,000 transactions a day, or its smaller competitor LooksRare which sees more than 1,000 daily). Furthermore, the platform has only broken $50,000 in volume traded on five of the days it's been publicly available, with some days seeing only a few thousand dollars traded. OpenSea has been doing over $150 million in daily volume in that same time frame, and LooksRare around $100 million (though it should be noted that the prevalence of wash trading, particularly on LooksRare, makes these numbers hard to evaluate).

U.S. Treasury sanctions cryptocurrency tumbler Blender, the first sanction of its kind

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that they had sanctioned the North Korean cryptocurrency tumbler Blender.io. This was the first U.S. government sanction levied against a cryptocurrency tumbling service. Blender was used to launder more than $20.5 million of the $620 million stolen in March from the blockchain used by the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity. The U.S. government has alleged that the North Korean state-sponsored cybercrime group Lazarus was behind the hack.

The U.S. began sanctioning various wallet addresses belonging to the hackers in mid-April, though have faced obstacles given that it is trivial for the hackers to create new wallets. The use of cryptocurrency tumblers (also called "mixers") has also stymied the government's attempts to limit the DPRK's access to the ill-gotten funds. Blender is not the primary tumbler that Lazarus has been using—that would be Tornado Cash, which they have used to tumble more than $213 million from the hack. Tornado has taken perfunctory steps to comply with sanctions, but nothing that would meaningfully impact Lazarus' ability to use the service.

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