It seems perhaps even Sotheby's prestige is not sufficient to overcome the NFT downturn.
Latest Sotheby's NFT sale is decidedly tepid
Collector accidentally burns their $123,000 CryptoPunk
However, some confusing instructions resulted in the owner sending the punk to the burn address, effectively destroying the NFT. "I was trying to wrap it and don't know what I was doing... Thought I was following the directions exactly..." they later wrote. They also later shared that they had borrowed money in order to purchase the CryptoPunk.
Thwarted hacker asks security firm to reimburse gas fees
On March 17, blockchain security company BlockSec observed an attacker trying to exploit a vulnerability in the NFT lending project Paraspace. Although they had successfully identified a vulnerability that could have allowed them to steal 2,900 ETH (a bit over $5 million), their attempt to execute the hack failed because they didn't correctly estimate what it would cost them in gas fees.
After observing the attempt, BlockSec executed a whitehat rescue, where they successfully executed the same attack to remove the funds from Paraspace and secure them until they could return them to the project team.
Incredibly, the exploiter sent an on-chain message to BlockSec: "hey man, I am the one who made the contract you just copied, I couldn't make it work for a stupid gas estimation error. since I lost a lot of money trying to make it work, it would be cool to get at least some of them back... best of luck". Altogether, the would-be attacker spent around 0.7 ETH (~$1,200) on gas fees while trying to pull off the hack.
Meta pulls the plug on NFTs
Mark Zuckerberg had once talked about eventually using NFTs for Meta's metaverse projects, suggesting that eventually "the clothing that your avatar is wearing in the metaverse, you know, [could] be basically minted as an NFT and you can take it between your different places". It sounds like that plan may no longer be on the table now.
Turkish electric vehicle company Togg announces presale via NFT, then scraps the plan after customers have already bought in
However, shortly after the NFT sales began, the platform crashed. Then, very soon after the sale began and Togg began addressing the issues with the platform, a series of earthquakes devastated portions of Turkey. As a result, Togg announced they would be postponing the sale until a later announcement.
On March 8, Togg announced that they had canceled their plans to conduct the pre-order process by NFT drawing, and that any NFT holders would not be prioritized in the pre-order.
This infuriated some customers who had purchased AVAX solely intending to use it to obtain a pre-order slot — particularly because AVAX is now priced below $15, meaning those who've been holding AVAX since purchasing it have lost 25%.
- "Togg to sell pre-order rights with NFTs", Hurriyet Daily News
- Tweet by Togg
Developers accuse Binance of stealing their hackathon idea after Binance launches similar AI NFT product
Shortly after its launch, a group of developers accused Binance of stealing an idea they had presented at a December 2022 BNB Chain hackathon. Those developers had been awarded first place and $5,000 for "Chatcasso", a nearly identical tool.
Binance has refuted the allegations of theft, with a spokesperson acknowledging the "similarities" but claiming that "Bicasso was designed and developed independently more than two weeks before the BNB hackathon".
"It's disheartening to see a company that claims to support innovation and development steal from the very people who are working hard to build the ecosystem. Who would feel safe entering a hackathon? I don't." wrote one of the developers from the team. The developer also stated that they had not signed any contracts that would have assigned the rights to their work to the company, as is the case in some hackathons.
hideyoapes suffers $200,000 wallet drain
The thief sold all the NFTs and then transferred the proceeds from the sales to their own wallet. Altogether they made off with 127.3 wETH (~$208,000).
On Twitter, hideyoapes explained that they had downloaded and installed the MetaMask wallet extension from MetaMask's official website. "I didn’t think anything of it because it was the legit site and verified chrome app. While I was sleeping all my assets were sold," they wrote. At this point, it's not clear how exactly the hack was perpetrated.
Metroverse blockchain game implodes
Ultimately, the project delivered a game that was a far cry from Sim City, and which only a small subset of players designated as "leaders" could even play. As interest in NFTs and crypto prices began to fall, the community became increasingly dissatisfied with the project creators, who they felt had delivered a subpar game, engaged in an additional cashgrab mint, and took actions like performing a reverse-split of the token which they believed harmed secondary market prices.
Tensions emerged between the project team and the community, with the project team dismissing all criticism as "FUD" and accusing their community members of "sabotage", and community members accusing the project team of rug-pulling and failing to listen to feedback. The team shut down the project Discord, claiming that the community was only making it harder for them to do what they had promised to do, and saying that the attacks were damaging to their mental health. The team promised to complete the last item on the roadmap, but stated that they would not be continuing to develop the project or add additional roadmap items due to the current NFT markets and the "non-stop attacks from the community".
Very shortly after closing the Discord, the project team changed their mind and announced that they would be closing the project entirely. They announced that the upcoming battle would be the last available to play, but that they would be airdropping tokens to players as promised in the last item on the roadmap, and open-sourcing the code. Multiple project team members deleted their social media, and project AMAs were wiped from the Metroverse YouTube channel.
These gestures were far from enough to satisfy an angry community, some of whom threatened to dox the anonymous team behind the game or take legal action against the founders. The team themselves fired back with legal threats, contacting community members to tell them that they believed their conversations on a separate Discord server involved illegal activities that are "not only morally reprehensible but may also constitute serious criminal offenses".
Some community members claimed to have spent tens of thousands of dollars on the project. "I spen[t] like 25 eth at 3k" wrote one. "I spen[t] 250k" shared another.
- Community notice from Metroverse
- Metroverse Fireside/AMA - Jan. 2023, YouTube
- Tweet by Metroverse
WazirX closes NFT marketplace after processing $112 in trades over a month
Many users of WazirX were angry, accusing the company of "abandoning the community".
Friendsies NFT project rug pulls
After partnering with the renowned auction house Christies to sell nine early-access mint passes, the NFTs were launched in April 2022. Each one started minting at 3.33 ETH in a Dutch auction, which at the time was around $12,000. Now, the NFTs have been selling for around 0.01 ETH (~$17).
The project's social media accounts went dormant late in 2022. On February 21, 2023, the project announced that "As the project founders, we have decided that it would be best to put a pause on Friendsies and all future digital goods for the time being... However the volatility and challenges of the market have made it very difficult to move this project forward in a way we can be proud of. For now, we have decided that it's best to allow the space to further mature." Some who asked questions like "So no AI friendsies as promised in your roadmap? What's going on?" found themselves blocked, and shortly afterwards the project deleted its Twitter account.
After being called out by crypto sleuth zachxbt for rug-pulling, the Twitter account returned to insist that they were not rug-pulling, and that "we were overwhelmed with hate and threats". Some Friendsies holders also blamed crypto influencers who had promoted the project near the beginning.