NFT trading fantasy league emerges to provide traders with the "sweet adrenaline" of flipping NFTs that they're missing in the bear market

"Most of us are too poor to be spending the [ether] we have left on huge sweeps, but we still want that sweet adrenaline rush of flipping JPEGs" said Brian Krogsgard, co-founder of the Flip NFT platform, in a statement you would think might have raised a red flag or two in his own mind. Evidently NFT traders are now being pitched NFT trading fantasy leagues, where they will be able to paper trade NFTs without risking their real-life fake money. Unfortunately for the traders, the app uses actual NFT price data, so the huge NFT project bull runs that some traders experienced during the NFT mania of 2021 will likely not emerge here, either.

Elon Musk's texts reveal his ideas for a blockchain-based Twitter

Texts exposed in the discovery process during the Elon Musk v. Twitter lawsuit have exposed not just a number of high-profile people embarrassingly simping for Musk, but also Musk's ideas about Twitter-but-on-the-blockchain.

In a text sent to his brother, Musk wrote, "I have an idea for a blockchain social media system that does both payments and short text messages/links like twitter. You have to pay a tiny amount to register your message on the chain, which will cut out the vast majority of spam and bots. There is no throat to choke, so free speech is guaranteed." In another message, to the president of his Boring Company, Musk narrowed in on an amount: 0.1 Doge per tweet or retweet. At today's prices, at 0.1 Doge per tweet, 1¢ would buy you about 160 tweets.

Musk's idea that there is some magical amount of money that ordinary people are willing to pay to send out a tweet or a retweet, but that spammers are not willing to pay to spam, seems preposterous. And given that "free speech is guaranteed" and blockchains are immutable, he would really need to hope that he finds this amount, because otherwise there's going to be a lot of spam permanently stored on Web3 Twitter.

As with many of Musk's ideas, the idea for a blockchain-based "free speech" social network is not new. On one of the more popular such services, BitClout, the home page shows posts such as "are there actually real ppl here, or only 'marketing' and ai-generated art?" It costs $0.01 to create a profile or to begin a tutorial on how to use the site. Out of the list of ten top-ranked creators on the site, the top two (Elon Musk and Naval Ravikant) haven't even signed up yet, and another five haven't posted in months.

Musk appeared to later toss out his blockchain social network idea, though not for spam reasons: "Blockchain twitter isn't possible, as the bandwidth and latency requirements cannot be supported by a peer to peer network, unless those 'peers' are absolutely gigantic, thus defeating the purpose of a decentralised network".

Someone claims to have burned a Frida Kahlo drawing to "transition it into the Metaverse" as NFTs

a ghostly figure with enormous eyes intertwined with a giant fish, a broom, duck, bird, and other creatures against a green backdrop, with the phrase “Here are the sinister ghosts” scrawled across it.Fantasmones Siniestros (Sinister Ghosts) (attribution)
A businessman has published a video in which he burns a drawing that he claims is an original Frida Kahlo drawing worth more than $10 million—though its value and its authenticity have both been questioned. The entrepreneur created 10,000 NFTs from the drawing, which he's selling for 3 ETH (~$4,000) (reduced from the original 3.5 ETH/$4,700) for a hoped total of $40 million. He claims that in burning the artwork, he has "transitioned [it] into the Metaverse".

So far, the stunt has resulted in two NFTs being minted by outside parties, for total proceeds of 7 ETH (~$9,400) – not quite the millions the drawing allegedly cost the NFT project creator. Meanwhile, Mexican authorities have said they are investigating whether the businessman committed a crime in intentionally damaging an artistic monument.

Starbucks wants you to have an "immersive coffee experience" with their web3 rewards program

A glitchy photograph of a coffee farm, with the text "Starbucks Odyssey" atop it in white capitalsStarbucks Odyssey promotional image (attribution)
When Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz first announced at an employee town hall in April that the company was looking to get into NFTs, I assumed he was just hoping for a headline to distract from all the union busting they'd been doing. After all, they already have a rewards program that by all appearances seems to be quite successful.

Despite that, Starbucks has apparently decided that what its rewards program really needs are "digital collectible stamps", a euphemism for NFTs that somehow makes them sound even less appealing.

These NFTs promise to provide their holders with "immersive coffee experiences", which sounds an awful lot like what cost McDonald's a few million in the mid-nineties.

Unfortunately for Starbucks, between the time they came up with the idea, announced it at their town hall, and are now inviting people to sign up to the waitlist, the NFT craze has died down considerably. Even at the peak of NFT mania, though, I'm not sure if people would have been lining up to buy "digital collectible stamps" that allow them to "claim an ownership stake in their loyalty to Starbucks" (what??)

Crypto reacts to Queen Elizabeth's death

A pixel art illustration of Queen Elizabeth in skeletal form, inside a gilded frameQueenE 74 (attribution)
The news of Queen Elizabeth II's death resulted in the creation of at least 40 memecoins, multiple Queen Elizabeth-themed NFT collections, and special edition NFTs in various existing NFT projects.

Is there a way to include in one's will that you don't wish to be turned into an NFT or commemorated with a "Queen Inu" token when you die? Asking for a friend.

Company begins selling Celsius-themed Monopoly game... three months after Celsius suspends withdrawals

A Monopoly game themed after the company Celsius, with a large Celsius logo in the middleCelsiusopoly (attribution)
After what USA Strong Head of Sales & Partnerships described as "months and months" of work, apparently the company had decided they had sunk too much effort into the Celsius-themed game of Monopoly to scrap the project, and opted to push ahead. What could be more fun to any of the large group of users who have significant funds locked up in the platform than gathering around the table to play "Celsiusopoly", which they can buy for $99 (if they have that kind of money to spare). The center of the board is adorned with the Celsius logo and the slogan "Do Good. Then do well", and there is a "HODL Mode activated" square that might have been a lot funnier before the company involuntarily activated "HODL mode" for all its users.

If you were wondering who might decide to sell such a product, well, USA Strong's founder and CEO is none other than Krissy Mashinsky, wife of Celsius founder Alex Mashinsky.

Both the announcement tweet and the game product page were taken down shortly after the announcement, likely due to the less-than-enthused response from Celsius users.

David Bowie NFTs anger fans

A screenshot of a tweet by the official David Bowie account, which reads "Out of respect for the people of the UK and Queen Elizabeth II, we will be postponing the 'Bowie on the Blockchain' sale. We will update soon." Another user has screenshotted the tweet and crossed out "the people of the UK and Queen Elizabeth II" and replaced it with "David Bowie", making it read "Out of respect for David Bowie, we will be postponing the 'Bowie on the Blockchain' sale."Tweet by Jonathan Dean (attribution)
The latest entry in "group launches NFTs, fans hate it" comes from the David Bowie estate, who decided that "Bowie on the Blockchain" would be a cool idea to raise money for charity.

A tweet from OpenSea announcing the project received some positive replies, and a lot of other NFT projects trying to promote Bowie-themed NFTs they'd included in their collections. However, the tweet from David Bowie Twitter account seemed to be received almost universally negatively, with many commenters writing that they wished the estate would just raise money for charity without getting into NFTs, and others writing that they didn't think Bowie would have supported NFTs.

On September 10, the account announced that "Out of respect for the people of the UK and Queen Elizabeth II, we will be postponing the 'Bowie on the Blockchain' sale. We will update soon."

Bank run leaves BendDAO with 5 ETH and a bunch of NFTs they can't sell

Honestly, who can blame BendDAO for failing to consider that the hype bubble around Bored Apes and other NFT projects might not last forever! "We underestimated how illiquid NFTs could be in a bear market when setting the initial parameters", the project wrote in a governance proposal.

BendDAO allows people to take out loans with their NFTs as collateral. However, if the floor price of those NFTs drops too far and the borrower doesn't pay back some of the loan to adjust its risk rating, other people can bid on the NFT.

The problem with this whole plan was revealed when lenders' confidence was shaken when it was reported that $5.3 million in Bored Apes were at risk of liquidation. Panicked users withdrew their assets from the platform, resulting in a bank run that drained the reserves to a low of 5 ETH (~$8,200). BendDAO had other assets, of course: the NFTs below the liquidation threshold. However, a lack of interested buyers willing to pay the minimum prices (95% of the collection floor price) left the project in a tough spot.

Since the extremely close brush with a liquidity crisis, the project has begun to consider a proposal that would reduce the threshold at which NFTs can be liquidated, reduce auction and liquidation protection periods, remove the 95% floor price bid requirement, and increase interest rates.

Sub-primate lending: $5.3 million in Bored Apes used as loan collateral are at risk of being liquidated

Chart showing the floor price of the Bored Ape collection over the last 30 days. On July 20 the floor price was 92.7 ETH; it is now at 69.4 ETH.Bored Ape Yacht Club floor price over the last 30 days (attribution)
When people started sinking hundreds of thousands of dollars into Bored Ape NFTs, it wasn't long before people came up with the genius idea of using those NFTs as collateral for loans. BendDAO is one such platform offering the service, allowing people to post their Ape as collateral in exchange for a crypto loan equal to 30–40% of the Bored Apes collection's floor price. At one point, one borrower had 10,000 ETH (~$17.5 million) in loans from BendDAO against his 60-ape-strong collection (though he since repaid the loans).

However, NFTs in general haven't been doing so hot lately, and the Bored Apes haven't been immune from the slump. As the Bored Apes collection floor price has decreased, more than 15% of the apes used as collateral for BendDAO loans are in the "danger zone"—close to being auctioned off. These 45 apes are valued at roughly $5.3 million. Liquidation could lead to cascading liquidations, as the auctions could themselves cause the floor price to decrease.

As Bennett Tomlin put it, "I hate that y’all somehow created a risk for cascading liquidations of JPEG backed loans".

After choosing to keep the crypto, divorcee wants a do-over

A letter-writer seeking advice from the Financial Times wrote, "I got divorced last year and as part of the financial agreement, my ex-wife and I agreed that I would keep my cryptocurrency assets while she got the lion’s share of my pension and other investments, and we split the family home. When we negotiated last autumn, the crypto market was riding high and I was convinced it would go higher still, but following the recent crash my digital assets have more than halved in value. I’m now considerably worse off than my ex and worried about my financial future. She says I only have myself to blame and won’t discuss the matter further. Can I go to court to renegotiate our financial order?"

As expected, the lawyer consulted by the FT informed them that their chances of a do-over were pretty slim, and suggested that individuals negotiating a split with a partner don't take on all the high-risk assets like this person did.

As of August 20, Bitcoin was trading at around $21,200—70% lower than at its all-time-high of $69,000 in November 2021. Other major cryptocurrencies are faring similarly poorly, with ETH down 67% to $1,630 from its all-time-high of $4,890.

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