Players Only NFT project, founded by NBA players, rug pulls for $1.4 million

A 3D rendering of a football player running with a football, wearing a red uniform showing the number 13. He has a bald head and his tongue is sticking out.Player #4820 (attribution)
Crypto-sleuth zachxbt reported on June 8 that Players Only, and NFT project created by a group of NBA players including Michael Carter-Williams and Jerami Grant, appears to be a rug pull. The players used their star power to drum up interest in the project and its somewhat unsettling NFTs of various bobblehead-esque sports players. The project promised close involvement from the athletes who founded it, with a roadmap advertising autographed merchandise, real life and metaverse meetups with the players, and other giveaways.

Although the project team promised that "every single one of our holders will win something", the collectors were in for a lot of disappointment: players never showed up for events, and Zoom meetups were never scheduled despite repeated requests, and merchandise was never sent. One person who was promised a signed jersey instead received a t-shirt, apparently devoid of any signature.

In mid-May, two project creators announced they would be "stepping back on the project as [they] cannot seem to please the community". The announcement broadly blamed the project's failures on "lack of interest" in the project. They said they would no longer be providing physical items, and would focus on "athlete utility", though in the time since then the project has remained similarly stagnant.

Collectors minted Players Only NFTs in early December for 0.08 ETH each (~$144). One NFT from the project has been sold on the secondary market in the last month, for $0.001 ETH (less than $2).

Baby Elon coin rug pulls for $179,000

The Baby Elon project on BNBChain rug pulled on June 8, with the token price plummeting 98% as the team withdrew 623 BNB (~$179,000) from the project. They quickly moved the funds to the Tornado Cash cryptocurrency tumbler.

The Baby Elon token is of course not to be confused with Baby Musk, a different BNB Chain-based, baby Elon Musk-themed memecoin that rug pulled in February after a $2 million ICO.

ApolloX exchange exploited for $1.5 million

The ApolloX exchange suffered an exploit where an attacker was able to withdraw around 40 million $APX, which they were able to swap for around $1.5 million. This also caused the $APX price to drop by more than 50%.

The exchange has announced to repurchase $APX to boost the price, so far spending $600,000 to do so.

Osmosis chain halted after bug leads to $5 million loss

The Osmosis chain was halted on June 8 after users discovered a bug where people could deposit money into Osmosis pools and receive 3x the amount when they withdrew. The bug was first reported in a public Reddit post where a user posted, "Bug on Osmosis There is a serious problem with osmosis. If you add liquidity to a pool and then remove it, it grows by 50%! How can we fix this!?!? Pools empty by morning!"

Developers halted the chain before liquidity pools were fully drained, but estimated that about $5 million was lost. They wrote that they were working on recovery plan; perhaps they will also encourage their community to report bugs privately, rather than via public Reddit post.

GYM Network exploited for $2.1 million

Attackers stole around $2.1 million from the GYM Network defi project after exploiting a bug in a recently-deployed contract that failed to check the identity of the caller. The attackers quickly transferred the stolen funds to the Tornado Cash cryptocurrency tumbler to cover their tracks.

GYM Network promised to use the entire project treasury to bolster the price of their token, which tanked as a result of the massive sell-off. "We can't promise that it will bring the price back to 0.20$ but we will use it All to recover this attack," they wrote on Telegram.

Representative Madison Cawthorn belatedly reports up to $950,000 in crypto trades, long past the STOCK Act deadline

Official portrait of Madison CawthornMadison Cawthorn (attribution)
Representative Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is facing an ethics investigation pertaining to his involvement with the Let's Go Brandon coin, which includes allegations of insider trading as well as not disclosing his cryptocurrency trades as is required by the STOCK Act. After the investigation was announced in May, Cawthorn disclosed purchases of LGB and ETH, far past the 45-day deadline imposed by the Act.

On June 8, Cawthorn filed more reports of crypto trades he made in January to March, reflecting 24 purchases totaling between $290,000 to $950,000 in crypto projects including Kryll, Ethereum, Solana, Bitcoin, Let's Go Brandon, and Request.

Senators Lummis and Gillibrand work across the aisle to please cryptocurrency industry with their proposed legislation

Senators Lummis (R-WY) and Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the "Responsible Financial Innovation Act", the first major proposal for cryptocurrency regulation in the US. A press release from Lummis included statements of support from Kraken, Coinbase, FTX, crypto lobbyists, and various other major players in the cryptocurrency industry—unsurprising support for a bill that is incredibly friendly to the sector. Notably, the bill broadly avoids classifying cryptocurrencies as securities, which would be regulated by the SEC and provide some consumer protections. Instead, the Senators create a foggy definition for sufficiently "decentralized" cryptocurrencies that would treat them as commodities and place them under the purview of the CFTC—the much smaller and less aggressive regulator that has been the preference of most in the cryptocurrency industry.

Senator Lummis has long been a strong supporter of Bitcoin and crypto more generally, sporting a "laser eyes" profile picture on Twitter and speaking at Bitcoin Miami, where she was introduced as a "champion of Bitcoin".

People get an anticlimactic sneak peek at one of the first NFT games to be released on Epic Games store

A screenshot from a video game, showing a cowboy character holding a pistol in a grey roomGrit gameplay (attribution)
You might think that, since Epic Games has decided to distinguish itself from its major competitor Steam by welcoming blockchain games to its platform, they might try to make a splash with a few flashy titles to be the first listed on the platform. Alas, it is not to be, as the first known game that will be offered, Grit, has been described by Kotaku as "gimmicky" and "remarkably beige". The trailer mostly looks like a worse version of Red Dead Redemption, featuring horses that appear to hover through grassland. A gameplay teaser posted by an NFT games enthusiast to Twitter features him narrating that the game "is looking insane in the membrane", as he does nothing other than fire a gun into an empty room and spin.

500 attendees of the "Galaverse" event (a gathering put on by Grit's creators, Gala Games) were airdropped "epic" rarity horse NFTs, which those with keen eyes were quick to observe are simply a premade asset the developers purchased from the Unreal Engine Marketplace.

SEC reportedly reviewing whether Binance's BNB token broke securities laws

The same day that Reuters released an investigation implicating Binance in helping to launder billions of dollars of illicit funds, Bloomberg reported that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had opened an investigation into whether Binance had broken securities laws when they launched their BNB initial coin offering. Bloomberg based its reports on conversations with anonymous sources, as the SEC has not publicly disclosed the existence of such a probe into Binance.

Reuters reports that Binance facilitated $2.35 billion in illicit transfers from 2017–2021

A Reuters investigation alleged that Binance "served as a conduit for the laundering of at least $2.35 billion in illicit funds" between 2017 and 2021. Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Reuters tracked hundreds of millions in funds passing through a Russian darknet drugs market called Hydra thanks to Binance, and pointed to Binance as facilitating the laundering of money from German investment fraud schemes and North Korean cybercrime groups.

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