Invictus DAO whales quickly vote to shutter the project in its first ever community vote, leaving most others with huge losses

Invictus price history since November 12, 2021, showing a brief spike in late November and then a precipitous drop and slow decreaseInvictus token price in USD (attribution)
The Sol Invictus project was an Olympus DAO-like project on the Solana blockchain, much like the Wonderland project that went up in flames recently. Promising absolutely massive returns, with numbers like 60,000% APY being tossed around, people bought in hoping to see their money skyrocket. The project also partnered with major names in the Solana ecosystem, earning legitimacy.

However, although the project enjoyed a spike in price in November, the token has bled value since then. On March 9, the project leaders began a conversation about team salaries, where they also floated the idea of redeeming the treasury and closing the project. On March 11 they began a vote, which lasted only three days, and allowed members of the DAO to vote on whether the project should close and distribute treasury funds to participants. Much like the Wonderland vote in late January, a relatively small number of whales with a large share of the votes (who bought in early and still stood to make money on the project) were able to pass the vote to close the project, despite a majority of voters selecting to keep the project going. Furthermore, because the Invictus tokens used for voting also themselves hold the value, some people were unable to vote in the poll because their tokens were locked up in lending platforms where they had used them as collateral. Many participants in the project who haven't been actively watching the governance page likely don't even know the vote happened.

Some members of the project wrote on Discord that they felt rugged, with one even speculating that the project had been so eager to implement voting so they could pass a "community" vote to close the project and make off with a profit without damaging their reputations or potentially facing lawsuits. Various members of the project Discord shared how much they had lost: one person said they were down $20,000, another was down $75,000, and a third person reported losing $400,000. One person asked "who else is in the 6 figure loss club" and received three agreement emoji reactions; another person said they'd lost a year's salary. Some people already opted to try to sell their tokens early, worrying that the project leaders might make off with the treasury and not allow people to redeem their $IN; others waited in hopes of the redemption price being higher than the current token price; and some even suggested buying more $IN in hopes that they could make a profit if the redemption price is higher than the current price.

Collector sues artist after spending over $500,000 on an image of Pepe the Frog that others got for free

A trading card style image with an illustration of Pepe the Frog leaning on the edge of a pond, with his buttocks partially exposed. The text area of the card contains Matt Furie's signature.FEELSGOODMAN Series 20, Card 50 (attribution)
Matt Furie is the original creator of the Pepe the Frog cartoon that was later co-opted as an alt-right hate symbol, and which has also been popular among crypto enthusiasts and other online communities. Furie, his company Chain/Saw, and his DAO PegzDAO held an auction on October 8, 2021, and seemed to promise that the NFT would be one-of-a-kind: "500 cards issued, 400 burned, 99 will remain in the PegzDAO, and ONE is being auctioned here". Halston Thayer ended up winning the auction by bidding 150 ETH, then worth $537,084. However, on October 24, 46 of the 99 NFTs that were held by PegzDAO were distributed for free. According to a lawsuit filed by Thayer on March 12, 2022, releasing the 46 additional NFTs "significantly devalu[ed] Plaintiff's Pepe NFT to less than $30,000". The lawsuit seeks reimbursement of Thayer's original purchase, as well as punitive damages. Best of luck to the lawyers trying to describe "Rare Pepes" to a judge, or keep a straight face when saying that yes, the plaintiff did pay more than half a million for a drawing of a rather callipygian cartoon frog.

After someone games the system to acquire a disproportionate amount of airdropped tokens valued at $123 million, Juno community begins a vote to take them away

A blockchain protocol called Juno launched in October 2021, airdropping their $JUNO tokens to members of the Cosmos ecosystem in proportion to how many $ATOM tokens they held. The protocol agreed via community vote that they would cap the amount given to a single individual at 50,000 $JUNO to "ensure fair distribution across the network". However, there is no restriction that one individual only have one crypto wallet, and so one single whale ended up receiving more than 3.1 million $JUNO across tens of wallets, which they later consolidated into one. Because of the enormous value centralized in one wallet — equivalent to around $123 million — if the whale sold off their $JUNO they could wipe out liquidity on decentralized exchanges and tank the price of the token. They could also perform a 51% attack on the network, as they already have half of quorum.

On March 10, a community proposal was submitted, proposing to take away the majority of the whale's tokens (worth around $121 million), and leave them with the 50,000 $JUNO (a little below $2 million) that was originally intended to be the maximum per person. The vote passed, in a major blow to an ecosystem where "your keys, your coins" is taken as gospel — that is, if you control the keys to a wallet, your assets supposedly can't be taken from you.

Nemus Earth plans to buy and protect land in the rainforest... with Ethereum NFTs and a Brazil nut plantation

An illustration of an eagle sitting on a branch, on a trading card styled background. The card reads "Harpy Eagle, Parcel #128, -66.87661, -7.83341"Nemus Earth NFT (attribution)
A project called Nemus Earth has emerged, offering to sell you an Ethereum NFT to become a "Guardian" of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. The project has lofty plans to create a "protective belt" in the Brazilian Amazon to try to protect it from deforestation. The project's whitepaper goes on to explain that "economic activity is required" on the land that they will purchase, and outlines a plan to employ the Indigenous people in the area to farm Brazil nuts on an abandoned plantation the project intends to "revitalize". The project describes a "co-op" for the local people that will "unlock generational wealth for these communities", though there appear to be no plans for these people to actually join the community of "Guardians" or have any say in the project's governance. Other economic activity planned by the project apparently involves "sustainable forestry", "empower[ing] local police authorities", something involving drones, and of course generating carbon offsets for other projects.

The whitepaper also addresses that the project will be built on the Ethereum blockchain. There is a section about "pros & cons of Ethereum", which has one section: gas fees. Apparently the project based on environmental conservation has decided to simply gloss over the enormous energy consumption, emissions, and electronic waste stemming from the Ethereum blockchain.

The project opened its second round of minting on March 3, and is offering its NFTs for mint prices between 0.06 ETH and 19.44 ETH ($150 to $50,000).

GenomesDAO wants you to give them your genetic data, which they acknowledge is "data that can be exploited in ways we cannot even imagine yet"

An illustration of a calico cat with green eyesWho's going to tell them cats don't have human eyebrows? (attribution)
GenomesDAO has created a platform which they promise will allow people who wish to sell their genetic data to have more control over it. They write that genetic data is "data that can be exploited in ways we cannot even imagine yet" and go into a list of these possible exploits — and this is apparently why you should definitely entrust it to a company building in a space known for its endless hacks. The company promises to help users earn money through selling access to their genome — though of course this isn't until step five in their roadmap. They're currently at step two or step three, depending on which version of your roadmap you look at; both steps seem focused on creating cat NFTs out of your genetic data for some reason.

Andrew Yang announces plans to fight poverty with a lobbying group that distributes voting power in proportion to how much you pay

Perennial political candidate Andrew Yang, perhaps in a desperate bid to stay relevant, announced his plans to create "Lobby3". Lobby3 is a DAO which he says will push for crypto-friendly regulation and "eradicate poverty". Like many DAOs, the voting power is allocated based on how many tokens a member owns, meaning that those who pay more have more votes. A single token, representing one vote, costs 0.07 ETH (about $200). The "Founder" tier of participation in the DAO, which appears to offer access to Yang more than anything particularly lobbying-related, costs 40 ETH (about $125,000).

Interestingly, one of the people credited as a "contributing artist" to Lobby3 is "Robness", who had the previous day minted an NFT of a photo of a journalist as a child in an attempt to harass her.

BuildFinance DAO project treasury drained after "hostile takeover"

A person managed to submit a proposal to the DAO that governs BuildFinance, a "decentralized venture builder", that would allow them to take over the project contract. The attacker succeeded in obtaining enough votes for the proposal to pass, primarily because they held an outsized number of governance tokens, and because they were able to disable community Discord features that would have alerted more of the community to the proposal. After the proposal passed and they were granted control over the project, they began minting and selling the project's native $BUILD token, draining the project treasury of about $470,000. According to BuildFinance, "As things stand, the attacker has full control of the governance contract, minting keys and treasury. The DAO no longer has control over any part of the key infrastructure." Some have questioned whether the incident can properly be described as an "attack" or "hostile takeover": everything worked exactly as it was supposed to in a "code is law" sort of way, even though it was against the intentions of the project founders and presumably most of its community.

Founder of an air taxi DAO writes of narrowly avoiding an elaborate scam attempt

thomasg.eth is the founder of Arrow, a DAO that is working to create "open-source VTOL [vertical take-off and landing] aircraft and air taxi protocol". In a long Twitter thread, he wrote about a pair of scammers, one of whom posed as a 3D artist from Ubisoft and one of whom impersonated a team member of an existing metaverse project called SpaceFalcon. After weeks of interaction, during which the supposed 3D artist supplied thomasg.eth with high-quality renderings and the supposed metaverse project team member invited him to tour the facilities of a different VTOL project, one of them invites him to test their NFT staking app. thomasg.eth was, fortunately, cautious about interacting with unfamiliar NFTs from his main wallets, at which point the scammers began to act a bit cagey. When thomasg.eth inspected the smart contracts, he realized they would enable the scammers to transfer any amount of aWETH (wETH on the Aave protocol) tokens from his wallet.

While many web3 scammers are fairly primitive in their tactics, these appeared to be running a sophisticated and highly-targeted scam. The pair worked to impersonate an existing web3 project, even buying a similar domain. They apparently hired a 3D artist to produce renderings to help ingratiate one of the scammers into the target's web3 project. And when thomasg.eth inspected the scammers' addresses, he found that they were working with at least 100 ETH in funding (currently equivalent to around $300,000). thomasg.eth is currently holding over $100 million in his wallet with the same name, so it's not hard to see why the scammers might have picked him as a target worth some extra effort.

mtgDAO gets a legal notice from Wizards of the Coast, writes that they are "unfairly discriminat[ing] against web3 tech and web3 communities"

The fledgling mtgDAO promised to deliver a "crypto NFT card economy" based around the Magic: The Gathering card game published by Wizards of the Coast. Needless to say, WotC sent them an email to inform them that their "intended use of Wizards' intellectual property, including its trademarks and copyrights, would be unlawful". This prompted mtgDAO to publish a 20-tweet-long thread about "why WotC is ngmi", where they accused WotC of "unfairly discriminat[ing] against web3 tech and web3 communities" by protecting their intellectual property. It's unclear where mtgDAO will go from here — they wrote in the thread that they hope to "help [WotC] see something like mtgDAO, and web3 in general, as an opportunity and not a threat", but I suspect they will not have much luck convincing WotC to let them infringe upon their intellectual property out of the goodness of their own hearts. On February 15 the project said what was already pretty clear: "I don't know shit about copyright law" and that "I'll tell you that mtgDAO NFTs being IP infringement is not intuitive to me."

ENS governance put to the test as a bigoted 2016 tweet from its director of operations resurfaces

Brantly Millegan is the director of operations for the Ethereum Name Service, which is basically a blockchain version of DNS, and is also how some people get their wallet to show up as customname.eth on various web3 projects. His Twitter biography describes him as a "Catholic, husband, father". Someone discovered a 2016 tweet of his, in which he expressed bigoted views about homosexuality and transgender people, and condemned abortion, contraception, masturbation, and pornography. Millegan dismissed the concerns about the tweet, writing, "hey looks like I've got my first mob. nice to see some ppl finally read the first word of my bio." He left the offensive tweet up, and later doubled down in a Twitter Spaces conversation.

On February 6, the ENS community stewards voted to remove Millegan from among them, and the following day the nonprofit behind ENS announced that they had terminated Millegan's contract as director of operations. As of February 7, Millegan still holds the largest share of voting power in the ENS DAO.

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