Kosovo issues an emergency ban on cryptocurrency mining in efforts to ease electricity shortages

Energy shortages and rolling blackouts plagued Kosovo towards the end of 2021, leading the Kosovan government to issue a 60-day state of emergency to address the crisis. The emergency authorization promised to identify and shut down any cryptocurrency mining. Kosovo has attracted cryptocurrency miners because it has some of the cheapest electricity prices in Europe, largely due to government subsidies and the availability of lignite (the lowest grade of coal, which is extremely harmful to the environment). Much of the mining takes place in the northern portions of the country, which do not recognize the Kosovan government and so have not paid for electricity at all in more than 20 years.

ElectionDayMad1 apologizes for shilling an NFT project (that later rug pulled) without adequately disclosing he was being paid

A pixel art person with yellow hair smokes a vapeExpansionPhunks #15091 (attribution)
NFT collector and influencer Franklin/@ElectionDayMad1 posted a tweet thread about how he had hyped a project that later rugpulled. He was paid about 18 ETH (about $63,000) to promote the "Expansion Phunks", but did very little to acknowledge that he was being paid to promote the project. He also wrote, "I didn’t do any research of Fly nor try to dox the anon team+devs and for that I’m very sorry and regret not researching." Elsewhere in the thread he mentions that "I’d say 99% of projects that I promote fail", a statement which might prompt some self-reflection if he was as ashamed of fleecing his followers as he claims to be.

Solana experiences outage or "congestion", depending on who you believe

An illustration of a yellow chick with a large brown afro, bruised eyes, and black dress shoesSolChick #535 (attribution)
Journalist Colin Wu reported that the Solana blockchain had an approximately four-hour-long outage due to a DDoS attack, while many others noticed enormous slowdowns. Solana later claimed there had been no DDoS and no outage, and that there was just "some congestion", a claim several crypto outlets reported at apparent face value. The "congestion" was reported to have been from the launch of the highly-hyped SolChicks NFT project, although you have to wonder how a blockchain that claims to be able to handle 50,000 transactions per second (though averaging around 1,700 in reality) could be affected so majorly by a single project. This was the third apparent network issue suffered by the Solana blockchain over the past few months.

After being hospitalized for digestion issues after selling farts in a jar (really), a former 90 Day Fiancé star turns to NFTs

An illustration of a green jar with a top hat and flowers inside on an orange background.Fart jar NFT (attribution)
Stephanie Matto, who starred on season 6 of the reality show 90 Day Fiancé, has turned to some weird moneymaking schemes following her TV career. For a time, she claims she was making more than $50,000 a week selling "farts in a jar" for $1,000 each—until she was hospitalized for a health scare after a particularly fiber-heavy meal. She now is trying to sell her farts as "digital artworks on the blockchain" for a bit under $200 each, sans any physical component. At least you got a jar for your money before.

The Sunflower Farmers blockchain game DDoSes the Polygon blockchain for several days

A pixel art game screenshot where a character is watering sunflowersSunflower Farmers (attribution)
Sunflower Farm, a play-to-earn farming game on the Polygon network, contributed to massive slowdowns and a spike in gas fees on the Polygon blockchain. Heavy bot usage and a game design where practically every action (including saving the game, using a tool, harvesting something) required a blockchain transaction flooded the Polygon blockchain with more traffic than it could handle, and spiked gas fees for a given transaction from around 30 gwei up to more than 1000. This event casts some doubt on Polygon's claims it can handle up to 65,000 transactions per second—in reality it averages about 85 transactions per second and so presumably should have had a lot of wiggle room for even a pretty major increase in transactions.

ArbixFinance appears to rug pull, making off with at least $10 million

Yield farming platform ArbixFinance was drained of at least $10 million, with some reporting amounts up to $32 million. Some optimistic users hoped it was a glitch, but the fact that the formerly-active @ArbixFinance Twitter account disappeared along with their website as the funds were being drained points to a rugpull. The platform had previously been audited and approved by CertiK in November, lending the project credibility in the eyes of prospective users.

Samsung announces its new smart TVs will include an NFT marketplace

If trying to type in the name of a movie on Netflix with a TV remote isn't painful enough for them, now people will be able to try using their TV to do due diligence into whether or not they're about to get scammed.

Crypto gambling service Polymarket shut down and fined $1.4 million by the U.S. CFTC

Polymarket bet: "Will Joe Biden be President of the USA on January 6, 2022? Volume: $119,389"Polymarket bet (attribution)
Although Polymarket was nominally "decentralized", it wasn't so decentralized that the CFTC couldn't fine its New York-based parent company for operating an unregistered market and order them to shut it down. Polymarket previously allowed people to bet cryptocurrency on the outcomes of various events including elections, COVID-19 case spikes, and sports games.

Matt Damon stars in a truly cringeworthy ad for Crypto.com

Matt Damon stands staring at a CGI wooden ship, with a Christopher Columbus-like figure in front of itIs that supposed to be Christopher Columbus? (attribution)
"Fortune favors the brave", said Matt Damon as he walked past images of mountain climbers, the Wright brothers, and astronauts. "History is filled with 'almosts'. With those who almost adventured, who almost achieved, but ultimately for them it proved to be too much. Then, there are others – the ones who embrace the moment and commit." Evidently the point of the ad was that the "brave" people who "commit" to pouring their money into crypto will make history, and granted that will likely be true, though it is also likely it will not be for the reason Mr. Damon would like you to believe.

Blockchain game CryptoBike apparently rugpulls only days after launch

A Vietnamese play-to-earn game called CryptoBike became popular shortly after its December 25 launch, soaring to around $41.6 million in daily trading volume. However, on January 1, the CryptoBike token CB suddenly plunged in value from $0.81 to $0.019 as 6 million CB were sold, apparently by the project's development team. The team also reportedly blocked people from commenting on the incident in the project's Telegram channel, and took down the project's website.

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