The World Wildlife Fund announces their upcoming NFT project... for nature!

The UK branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced their upcoming "Tokens For Nature" NFT project, which is meant to support endangered species. The WWF was quick to tout that its project would be eco-friendly because it uses the Polygon blockchain, though commenters were skeptical. One commenter wrote, "This is like if David Attenborough did a piece to camera about his environmental activism while politely snapping swans' necks throughout." Other commenters expressed that it was irresponsible of the WWF to engage with NFTs at all, given the overall environmental damage of the concept, and because it brings more people into a space full of predatory projects. The WWF ended up shuttering the project on February 4, after all the negative feedback.

This was not the WWF's first foray into NFTs — the German arm of the WWF released a "Non-Fungible Animals" NFT project in November 2021, which has enjoyed less than $10,000 in trading volume. It also did't appear to be the only project the WWF UK had planned — their NFT website advertised upcoming collaborations with CyberKongz (built on the Ethereum blockchain) and World of Women (also built on the Ethereum blockchain).

Realux, a project promising to "democratize" and "resolve the wealth gap" in real estate, rug pulls $23,000 only hours after launch

Value of RLX token over time, showing a steady climb and then a sudden crash as liquidity was removed$RLX value over time (attribution)
On January 31, a cryptocurrency project called Realux launched after fanfare from viral tweets and influencer YouTube videos. The project promised to make "real estate open to everyone, at a very low cost in a very easy way" and "resolve, once and for all, the wealth gap by removing all barriers, costs, middlemen, social background, and other limitations". The token enjoyed a fairly steady climb in value over the four or so hours it was active, increasing in value 400% from about $0.00065 to a peak of around $0.0027. The price suddenly crashed to around $0.0003 when the developer sold off 70 million of the RLX tokens, earning a profit of around $23,000. The project also deleted their website, Twitter account, and Telegram channel.

After backlash, Troy Baker announces he will no longer be partnering with the "voice NFT" project Voiceverse

Voice actor Troy Baker faced some backlash in mid-January when he announced that he would be partnering with "voice NFT" project Voiceverse. His antagonistic tweet, that "You can hate. Or you can create." didn't go over so well at the time, and things worsened when it was discovered that Voiceverse had stolen work from another project and used it without credit. On January 31 he apologized again for the antagonistic tweet, and wrote that "After careful consideration, I've decided to not continue the partnership with VoiceVerseNFT". Voiceverse wrote in their own statement that the company had "mutually decided to end [their] partnership with Troy Baker".

All "iloveponzi"'s apes gone! Veteran hacker makes $700,000 stealing and flipping big name NFTs

A brown ape with Xs over its eyes and rainbow-colored teeth, wearing an orange slouchy beanie and a purple and orange fur coat.Bored Ape #7985 (attribution)
NFT collecter "iloveponzi", aka Larry Lawliet, apparently authorized what he thought was a legitimate application to access his NFT wallet. Unfortunately for him, he had actually authorized another person to transfer all his NFTs: one Bored Ape, five Mutant Apes, and one Doodle. The hack, which affected iloveponzi and several others, was made possible after the Discord for the "Moshi Mochi" NFT project was compromised, and the attacker sent out an "official announcement" for a final round of NFT minting that actually enabled them to steal NFTs. The attacker then flipped the NFTs for a total profit of a little less than $700,000. Iloveponzi said they believed that the attacker could've sold the NFTs for millions (though they admittedly have a vested interest in the NFTs sounding valuable). Iloveponzi also said they believe the hacker just sold quickly and cheaply to try to beat OpenSea freezing the NFTs, which OpenSea did later do. The hacker appears to be an old hand at shady NFT dealings — although they netted "only" $700,000 from this scam, the wallet used has moved around 600 ETH in total (worth around $1.5 million) through the cryptocurrency tumbler Tornado Cash. Slightly over a month earlier, iloveponzi reported that another of their Bored Apes had been stolen, "because of some coincidences and my carelessness".

Tax season begins to hit crypto Reddit hard

With so many newcomers to cryptocurrencies this year, and the often complex tax situations cryptocurrency trading can create (assuming it's reported at all), some traders are beginning to receive unpleasant surprises in the mail. One Redditor has posted in horror after receiving a letter showing they owe upwards of $100,000 to the IRS.

Questions like "How can crypto be a viable currency if every transaction is taxed?" are beginning to pop up as well, and more than a few commenters have described their plans to not report any of their crypto activity — certainly a wise thing to be discussing on a public Internet forum.

Streamer Ice Poseidon admits to scamming his followers out of $500,000 with his "Cxcoin" made for streamers

Paul Denino, also known as "Ice Poseidon", is a livestreamer, Internet personality, and cryptocurrency enthusiast. In July 2021 he launched Cxcoin, a forked project he said was intended specifically to allow streamers and other content creators to earn money. Denino had said in an earlier video that "the reason why I'm not going to start a cryptocoin is because someone is gonna get fucked, because dude if I see a million dollars, I'm selling, I don't give a fuck. I'm not going to be like 'I'll hold for you guys', bro I see a million dollars in my portfolio, I'm out". He later claimed that he was just joking, though unfortunately this turned out to be exactly what he did (though with somewhat less than a million). Although Denino claimed he was "locked in" for five months, he started draining hundreds of thousands of dollars from the project only two weeks in, which served to tank the token price for remaining holders.

On January 31, 2022, a YouTuber named Coffeezilla released a video in which he confronted Denino about his actions and urged him to return the money to his fans who'd bought in on the project. Denino replied, "I could give the money back, it is within my power, but I am going to look out for myself and not do that." According to Coffeezilla, Denino took a total of $200,000 from the token's presale, $250,000 that was earmarked for marketing, and $300,000 from the liquidity pool. In the end, Denino pocketed around $300,000 and his developers took around $200,000. After realizing that Coffeezilla would be releasing the interview, Denino promised to "use the buyback function to put 155k into the liquidity" — which turned out to mean 155,000 BNB rather than dollars, roughly equivalent to around $40,000.

Someone starts selling colors on the blockchain, because why the hell not I guess

Color swatch of a light cream color, with hex code #F1EECE (spelling "fleece")I wonder if this color is taken (attribution)
As the NFT gold rush continues and people attempt to slap price tags on everything in sight, Omar Farooq detailed his plans to sell colors on the blockchain. He said he will then build a platform where the "owner" of a color gets a cut of platform fees for any NFT using the color (or one close to it). He's offering 10,000 colors for sale at starting prices of $350 a pop, and then building an NFT platform where portions of the platform fees for any NFT sold will go to the "owners" of the closest colors in proportion to how much of the color is used in the image. Why artists would actually choose to buy or sell their artwork on the color-based platform is unclear — novelty value maybe? Its promised platform fee of 2.5% is the same as its popular competitors OpenSea and Rarible.

Qubit continues to try to tempt the attackers who stole $80 million to return it, with increasingly-desperate messages

After a bug in their code allowed an attacker to make off with $80 million, Qubit immediately began trying to contact the exploiter and convince them to return the money. First they wrote that they were "prepared to offer the maximum bounty", which was $250,000, or 0.3% of the amount the attacker had just stolen. The exploiter presumably felt that $80 million was truly the maximum bounty, and didn't take them up on the offer. The next day, Qubit wrote a message asking the exploiter to "negotiate directly with us... if the maximum bounty offer is not what you are looking for". The day after that, Qubit bumped the reward to $1 million (a whole 1.25% of the $80M!) and begged the exploiters to "please consider the big amount of people, families, stories involved in this". On January 30, Qubit announced they would be offering "the highest bounty in history", $2 million (2.5% of $80M), continuing to underscore that they wouldn't seek prosecution if the attacker returned the funds. A number of hours later, Qubit apparently decided to change tactics, writing that they were "developing a website that users can easily search their losses related to the exploit... users can connect their wallets to get documents to report to the police".

Wonderland protocol founder writes that the "Wonderland experiment is coming to an end", despite vote ongoing and majority of participants voting to continue

Charts showing "yes and yes - value of votes" and "yes and no - number of individual votes", showing large amounts of value supporting "yes" whereas total number of votes supporting "no"Comparison of vote value supporting each proposal, vs. individual number of votes (attribution)
The Wonderland protocol had a rough week, first experiencing massive losses in "cascading liquidations" and then the unmasking of the previously pseudonymous lead developer as Michael Patryn, a shady operator with a long history of financial crimes. The project team decided to hold a vote on whether the project should wind down: "giving every wMEMO holder back the funds from the treasury that they are entitled to and declar[ing] the OHM Fork experiment closed". The project leaders wrote that they "strongly believe that this would be the cleanest way of moving forward". The vote began on January 29 and was slated to end on January 31.

By raw numbers it appeared most investors opposed the idea, as many will receive miniscule amounts compared to their initial investments. However, the larger holders (most of whom bought in at low prices) stand to make money from the liquidation and some have supported winding down. Because the DAO voting operates in a plutocratic model, where people can vote based on how many tokens they hold, at one point votes from a relatively small number of whales were trending the vote towards supporting winding down even though 90% of individuals wanted the project to continue. The votes to continue had begun to beat out the votes to wind down when Daniele Sestagalli announced on Twitter on January 30, before the vote's scheduled end, that the "Wonderland experiment is coming to an end."

Ultimately, Sestagalli ended up respecting the wishes of the community, who decided to continue the project despite having lost 90% of their money, presumably in hopes of regaining some of the losses.

Justin Bieber "buys" a Bored Ape for $1.3 million in a deal that is shady in one of two possible ways

A sad bored ape in a black t-shirt on a blue backgroundBAYC #3001 (attribution)
The media went a bit nuts when Justin Bieber reportedly bought a Bored Ape (for several times what it was "worth", for some reason). This served to generate hype for several NFT projects, including Bored Apes, that Bieber has reportedly bought. However, some investigation by @interlunations and Dirty Bubble Media showed that something shady is going on, and neither possibility looks great for Bieber. Either Bieber does own the wallet that spent millions on the Bored Ape NFT and hundreds of others, in which case he was paid more than $2 million by the inBetweeners project — this would mean that inBetweeners lied about not paying influencers to promote their projects, and it would mean that Bieber never disclosed the financial relationship (in violation of FTC rules). If Bieber doesn't own the wallet, then Bieber has lied about owning the Bored Ape he supposedly "bought", as have the projects (though possibly unknowingly) who are generating hype by telling everyone Bieber owns one of their NFTs. The full investigation by Dirty Bubble Media is worth a read.

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