Creators of the play-to-earn game "Mercenary" rug pull for more than $760,000

Mercenary was a short-lived play-to-earn game that promised "innovative tokenomics, to ensure the stability and longevity of the game's economy". The project had invested heavily in advertising on Twitter and in cryptocurrency outlets like BSC News to attract new players. It launched only a week before the developers rug-pulled on January 27, draining more than $760,000 and deleting the project's website and social media.

New Zealand auction house Webb's invites buyers of historic glass negative and associated NFT to "make it permanently digital" by smashing the plate after they buy it

Black and white photograph of artist Charles Goldie standing at an easel"Charles Frederick Goldie at His Easel" (attribution)
New Zealand auction house Webb's is selling the original glass plate negatives of two photographs taken of artist Charles Goldie sometime between 1910 and 1920. The sale also includes an NFT of a print of the photo (although the listing seems more excited about the NFT than the negative: "The purchaser of the NFT will also receive a framed contact print of the image and the original glass plate negative in a custom-built pine box"). In a bizarre move, Webb's decided to sell the glass plate along with a small brass hammer. Head of art at Webbs, Charles Ninow, said, "Perhaps you might want to make it permanently digital. Smash it? Smash it."

Sports fans face losses as IQONIQ platform liquidates and token value plummets

"Fan engagement blockchain platform" IQONIQ went into liquidation late January 2022, taking down its token sale platform and crashing the value of the fan-owned coin by over 90%. The platform had major sponsorship deals with multiple Formula 1 teams, European soccer clubs, and the Spanish La Liga league, which it owes €820,000 ($914,500). The collapse of such a major and highly-visible platform led the Football Supporters' Association to call for more regulations on cryptocurrency platforms.

"Let's Go Brandon" coin suddenly drops 50% in value

Chart showing the sudden drop in price$LGB price drop (attribution)
The "Let's Go Brandon" $LGB coin tied to NASCAR driver Brandon Brown, and created as an apparent way to support "the American dream" and stick it to Joe Biden (somehow), suddenly dropped 50% in value. This appeared to be the death knell of a coin that had been dropping precipitously since the early January announcement by NASCAR that they would be rescinding their approval for LGBcoin to sponsor Brown.

WeGro token plunges in value as its developer apparently drains 1,000 BNB ($378,000)

Widget on WeGro website, reading "WeGro is live WEGRO has launched Thursday 16th December at 5pm EST." and showing an embedded chart of the token price showing it dropping to near zero.Widget on the Wegro website (attribution)
WeGro, a project to allow "everyone to safely participate in the hemp and cannabis industry through the supply chain", saw its token tank in price as the deployer drained 1,000 BNB ($378,000) from the pool in what certainly looked like a rug pull.

"MetaSlave" project tries to sell NFTs of Black people

Meta Slave Twitter account, which features a collage of Black faces. The description reads, "In creating our project, we wanted to show that everyone is a slave to something. A slave to desires, work, money, etc."Meta Slave Twitter account (attribution)
A project called "Meta Slave" launched, offering NFTs made from photographs of Black people (all apparently algorithmically-generated). Backlash was swift and intense, and the project has tried several times to respond: first by claiming that they are trying to support Black Lives Matter and honor George Floyd (much like the "Floydies" project in December), then rebranding to "Meta Humans" and throwing a couple photos of white and Asian people into the collection. The project has, thankfully, not enjoyed much success. I, for one, think it's likely to be a troll project by 4channers, but who's to say.

Investors suffer enormous losses as "cascading liquidations" tank the Wonderland protocol token price below its supposed intrinsic value

Three-day price graph of the $TIME token, showing a precipitous drop and then volatile activity3-day value of $TIME in USD (attribution)
The broader decline in cryptocurrency prices triggered "cascading liquidations" in the Wonderland defi project, which is a fork of the "it might be a ponzi" OlympusDAO project. This dropped the value of the project's $TIME token nearly 50%, from around $780 to about $415 in the span of only two hours. This followed a decline of 91% over the past few months, as the token dropped from its November all-time-highs of around $14,000. According to CryptoBriefing, "Due to the disproportionately high leverage many TIME holders take on, the broader drop in crypto valuations has hit the Wonderland protocol harder than most."

The $TIME tokens are issued against a set of assets that supposedly give the token an intrinsic value, and if the price drops below the backing price, the protocol uses the assets in their treasury to buy back the token to bring it back up to its "fair value". In the day following the crash, the protocol's founders spent several million dollars in buy-backs, which briefly boosted the token back up to trading at around $600.

The project's team reportedly suffered major liquidation losses themselves, with the founder Daniele Sestagalli losing $15 million and the chief developer "0xSifu" losing $1.6 million. Sestagalli briefly caused panic in the community when he set his 300,000+ follower Twitter account to private after tweeting "Dude I just woke up losing 10 m dollars", but set the account back to public shortly after. He retweeted a thread stating that "the internal struggle for growth is cut short by the willingness of some entities to 'eat' all that they'r able to, instead of 'cultivating' and sharing what would be exponential profits in the future."

Promised NFT game "Blockverse" rug pulls 500 ETH ($1.2 million)

A Minecraft character with turquoise skin, four eyes, a hawaiian style shirt, and dark blue pantsBlockverse #8272 (attribution)
Blockverse, a project that promised to build a play-to-earn game on top of Minecraft, rug pulled two days after launch. The initial NFT collection sold out in only eight minutes, even though the project creators hadn't even begun to develop the game they were promising. When the creators rug pulled, they took the 500 ETH ($1.2 million) and deleted the project website and Discord server.

John Lennon's son is delighted to be able to "auction off" items from his private Beatles collection without actually, you know, selling anything

Photograph of John Lennon's yellow and white-fur-trimmed jacket from the Magical Mystery Tour filmJohn Lennon's Magical Mystery Tour jacket (attribution)
Julian Lennon maintains a private collection of Beatles memorabilia, including clothing worn by his late father John Lennon, and other items from other members of the band. He announced plans to sell each item as "an audio/visual collectible, with a personal narration from Julian", but the announcement notes that "the items themselves are not up for auction... Lennon will continue to own the only physical counterpart". Starting prices for each item range from $4,000 to $30,000.

Lennon said, "I've been collecting these personal items for about 30 years, and I was getting a bit fed up with them being locked away in a vault, where I’ve had to keep them because I didn’t want them to get damaged... I actually felt very bad about keeping all that stuff locked away." Apparently photographing the items and displaying them digitally somehow was not possible until NFTs came along?

"Now go back to flip more burgers you lazy fvçk!" Nayib Bukele continues horrify those who come across his tweets and realize he's not just a Bitcoin bro but the president of an entire country

Tweet from Nayib Bukele: "Most people go in when the price is up, but the safest and most profitable moment to buy is when the price is down. It’s not rocket science (Man shrugging emoji) So invest a piece of your McDonald’s paycheck in Bitcoin. Now go back to flip more burgers you lazy fvçk!"Tweet by Nayib Bukele (attribution)
El Salvadoran president Nayib Bukele gives us Americans a painful reminder of having a president who truly cannot be trusted with the reins of a country, much less a Twitter account. On January 24, with Bitcoin prices tanking, Bukele tweeted, "Most people go in when the price is up, but the safest and most profitable moment to buy is when the price is down. It’s not rocket science. So invest a piece of your McDonald’s paycheck in Bitcoin. Now go back to flip more burgers you lazy fvçk!"

Naturally, he failed to mention the nearly 1,000 Bitcoin that he had purchased with taxpayer money since September 2021 at times that Bitcoin was above $50,000.

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