The SEC alleged that Craig Sproule, founder of companies CrowdMachine and Metavine, ran a fraudulent and unregistered ICO when he launched "Crowd Machine Compute Tokens" (CMCTs). Although he claimed that the money raised from the token sale would be used on technical development of the "Crowd Computer", a "global decentralized" peer-to-peer network, he made no effort to create this technology. Instead, he secretly sent more than $5.8 million of the more than $33 million raised in the ICO to South African gold mining companies.
Someone on the Mozilla Foundation's social team inexplicably thought that tweeting "Dabble in @dogecoin? HODLing some #Bitcoin & #Ethereum? We're using @BitPay to accept donations in #cryptocurrency" would go over well with their supporters. Unsurprisingly it did not, and it also earned them scathing replies from the founder of Mozilla and the designer of the Gecko browser engine (upon which Firefox is built). Mozilla tweeted on January 6 that they were "listening, and taking action", and that they would review "if and how our current policy on crypto donations fits with our climate goals", pausing cryptocurrency donations in the meantime.
Fuel shortages and spiking electricity costs in Kazakhstan have contributed to protests and a governmental crisis in the country. The electricity issue is partially thanks to cryptocurrency mining to begin with, with about 8% of electricity generation in the country going towards crypto mining (as of last year — it's likely to be higher now). During the crisis, the Kazakh president ordered the nation's largest telecom provider to shut down Internet service in the country to try to quash communications among his opponents. On doing so, the total amount of Bitcoin mining taking place in the country was revealed: at least 12% of Bitcoin's computational power disappeared, though the numbers could swell closer to 18%. This has extremely concerning implications as far as Bitcoin's environmental impact (which we already knew was bad): Kazakhstan's electricity generation relies heavily on "hard" coal being burned in old and inefficient power plants, producing comparably enormous amounts of CO₂.
Pudgy Penguins, a popular NFT project that somehow warranted a full-length New York Times article by Kevin Roose, apparently is trying something pretty shady. This was revealed by NFT whale 9x9x9, who has invested around 600 ETH (over $2 million) in the project and who said they tried to buy shares in the company a few months ago but ultimately rejected the deal Pudgy Penguins offered. 9x9x9 says the project's founders contacted them on January 4, offering to sell the company, at which point 9x9x9 discovered that they had split the company and were trying to walk away with the full profits and sell the shell of the company with 0 ETH in its wallet to 9x9x9 for 888 ETH.
Artist Aja Trier was shocked to discover that her artwork depicting dogs painted in the style of Van Gogh's Starry Night has been stolen and turned into an NFT collection with 86,000 items. Although NFT theft is sadly nothing new, this was perhaps the largest-scale theft to date. @NFTtheft, a popular Twitter account that draws attention to art theft in NFTs, wrote, "This is absolutely shocking. We've never seen anything at this scale before."
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.
NFT collector and influencer Franklin 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.
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.
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.
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.