ArbixFinance appears to rug pull, making off with at least $10 million

Yield farming platform ArbixFinance was drained of at least $10 million, with some reporting amounts up to $32 million. Some optimistic users hoped it was a glitch, but the fact that the formerly-active @ArbixFinance Twitter account disappeared along with their website as the funds were being drained points to a rugpull. The platform had previously been audited and approved by CertiK in November, lending the project credibility in the eyes of prospective users.

Samsung announces its new smart TVs will include an NFT marketplace

If trying to type in the name of a movie on Netflix with a TV remote isn't painful enough for them, now people will be able to try using their TV to do due diligence into whether or not they're about to get scammed.

Crypto gambling service Polymarket shut down and fined $1.4 million by the U.S. CFTC

Polymarket bet: "Will Joe Biden be President of the USA on January 6, 2022? Volume: $119,389"Polymarket bet (attribution)
Although Polymarket was nominally "decentralized", it wasn't so decentralized that the CFTC couldn't fine its New York-based parent company for operating an unregistered market and order them to shut it down. Polymarket previously allowed people to bet cryptocurrency on the outcomes of various events including elections, COVID-19 case spikes, and sports games.

Matt Damon stars in a truly cringeworthy ad for Crypto.com

Matt Damon stands staring at a CGI wooden ship, with a Christopher Columbus-like figure in front of itIs that supposed to be Christopher Columbus? (attribution)
"Fortune favors the brave", said Matt Damon as he walked past images of mountain climbers, the Wright brothers, and astronauts. "History is filled with 'almosts'. With those who almost adventured, who almost achieved, but ultimately for them it proved to be too much. Then, there are others – the ones who embrace the moment and commit." Evidently the point of the ad was that the "brave" people who "commit" to pouring their money into crypto will make history, and granted that will likely be true, though it is also likely it will not be for the reason Mr. Damon would like you to believe.

Blockchain game CryptoBike apparently rugpulls only days after launch

A Vietnamese play-to-earn game called CryptoBike became popular shortly after its December 25 launch, soaring to around $41.6 million in daily trading volume. However, on January 1, the CryptoBike token CB suddenly plunged in value from $0.81 to $0.019 as 6 million CB were sold, apparently by the project's development team. The team also reportedly blocked people from commenting on the incident in the project's Telegram channel, and took down the project's website.

Some of Tinyman's liquidity pools are drained of around $3 million

Tinyman, a defi platform that bills itself as "decentralized, secure trading", had all liquidity drained from its goBTC and goETH pools after an attacker found a bug in their smart contracts. Liquidity throughout Tinyman dropped from about $43 million to around $20 million within hours of the attack, though the platform says they believe that most of this money was withdrawn by its rightful owners and not stolen. Tinyman asked users to remove liquidity from all pools while they work to patch their smart contracts, and announced they would reimburse affected users.

NFT collector loses $38,000 in what he believes is an OpenSea or Rarible glitch

A Bored Ape NFT on a grey-purple background. It has a black hat with a visor, and is wearing a deep v-neck collared shirt with an American flag print. It has bloodshot, half-closed eyes and is baring a mouth full of gold teeth.Bored Ape #2643 (attribution)
Carson Turner accused ACYCapital of "exploiting @BoredApeYC through a glitch in @rarible" after they bought his Bored Ape NFT that he had listed for sale (and which he has apparently dubbed "Joe RogApe", cringe). Evidently, if a person transfers an NFT that is listed for sale on OpenSea out of their wallet and back again, it appears not to be for sale despite still being available to buyers. Some people have mistakenly thought they could use this "hack" to delist NFTs if they change their mind about selling them, in order to avoid the gas fees associated with canceling a sale. This "glitch" resulted in Turner's Bored Ape #2643 being bought even though he thought it was no longer for sale, and he ended up spending 10 ETH (about $38,000) to get it back. Twitter user lexomis wrote, "On the human side this kinda is a bummer but it isn't a hack or theft or an exploit. It's being your own bank level stuff. To be your own bank requires you to understand a lot of these nuances...." It's hard for me to feel too bad for Turner, though, given he found himself with $1.1 million after "winning the NFT lottery" in August.

Digiconomist reports that Bitcoin consumed about as much energy in 2021 as the whole country of Argentina

Digiconomist released numbers for 2021, showing that during 2021, Bitcoin consumed 134 TWh in total—comparable to the energy consumption of Argentina. The report also claims that Bitcoin was responsible for 0.54% of global electricity consumption, and consumed about 89% more energy in 2021 than in the previous year.

Tether, the stablecoin that claims to be fully backed by actual currency, adds $1 billion to their supply

Shortly after midnight on January 1, Tether added another $1 billion to its total supply. Although Tether claims that all of its supply is fully backed by actual currency, many (including legislators) have cast doubt on the veracity of this claim. Large additions to their supply such as this one, which have become quite a regular occurrence for Tether, raise further eyebrows, with commenters online speaking of them "printing" money. Some speculated that this recent move was an attempt to pump the value of Bitcoin, which had declined over the month of December—starting the month at about $57,000 and ending it about $10,000 lower.

Square Enix CEO acknowledges he will be disappointing gamers who "play to have fun" with his announcement that they are getting into web3

A video game character reaches one hand up in the air while speaking. Caption says, "Barret: You gonna stand there and pretend you can't hear the planet crying out in pain?"Final Fantasy screenshot (attribution)
In the announcement, Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda apparently wrote with a straight face: "I realize that some people who 'play to have fun' and who currently form the majority of players have voiced their reservations toward these new trends". He also spoke positively of the metaverse and in the announcement. Square Enix is the maker of popular game franchises including Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts.

$YEAR creator rings in the New Year by rugpulling about $225,000

A screenshot of the EtherWrapped "year in review" pageAn EtherWrapped "year in review" page (attribution)
A token called $YEAR invited people to connect their crypto wallets and see a "year in review"-style summary of their 2021 crypto and NFT transactions, with an airdropped token reward based on their activity level. Some community members audited the contract to look for signs of a scam, but missed a few lines of code that enabled the creator to prevent people from selling the token. With people only able to buy the token (on secondary exchanges) but not sell, the price rose, encouraging others to buy in. Only 30 minutes after locking people out of selling, the creator drained the liquidity pool of 59.7 ETH (about $225,000), dropping the coin's value to 0.

NFT collector scammed out of $2.2 million in a phishing attack

A Bored Ape NFT: a teal background, with an ape wearing an astronaut suit and a crash helmet with an American flag print. It's biting its lower lip.BAYC #9410, one of the stolen NFTs (attribution)
Todd Kramer, an NFT collector who had acquired Bored Ape and other pricey NFTs, clicked on a phishing contract that appeared to be a legitimate NFT trader link. Sixteen NFTs from three collections were taken, including eight Bored Ape NFTs. In total, the loss totalled around 593 ETH (equivalent to about $2.2 million). After asking for help on Twitter, OpenSea froze the stolen assets, preventing them from being traded on their platform. Some commenters noted that the redress (asset freezing and flagging of suspicious accounts) was only possible because OpenSea is a centralized platform with a large amount of power in the NFT arena, which some see as antithetical to the supposed ideals of web3. This also raises the question of whether BAYC themselves have a way to determine "legitimate ownership" of their NFTs, which in addition to being expensive status symbols also grant their owners exclusive perks including merchandising rights and access to events.

Blatant copy of Solana's popular "Baby Ape Social Club" rakes in more than $50,000 before being taken down by OpenSea

A screenshot of an OpenSea profile called "Lil Baby Ape Social Club"Clone project on OpenSea (attribution)
A clone of Solana's popular "Baby Ape Social Club" project popped up on OpenSea, using the Polygon blockchain. The project enjoyed 14.3 ETH in trading volume (about $52,000) before OpenSea finally took them down.

"1st LGBTQ+ Cryptocurrency" brings pinkwashing to crypto

Founders say they aim to help the LGBTQ+ community with a Spanish cryptocurrency project, "Maricoin". The team plans for the currency to be used for payment in a network of businesses have signed an "equality manifesto" promising to be queer-friendly. Critics of the project feel it's little more than pinkwashing, and many have criticized the name, which is based on a Spanish slur.

"No network can withstand the electricity consumption that is recorded there", says energy company chairman of the effects of cryptocurrency mining in Georgia

A man in blue snow gear stands next to a blue helicopter in a snowy regionEnergo-Pro Georgia workers arrive by helicopter to fix damaged electrical equipemnt (attribution)
Board chairman of Energo-Pro Georgia, an energy company serving the Svaneti region of Georgia, wrote, "This can no longer continue. No network can withstand the electricity consumption that is recorded there." He called out the illegal cryptocurrency mining happening in the region, which has damaged the infrastructure so badly that he predicted it would take four to five years to fix. Miners have been taking advantage of free electricity provided to residents of the region, but the chairman wrote that the company was "approaching the decision" to begin billing residents for electricity to try to thwart the miners. In 2019, the company had been forced to go door-to-door with police to shut down mining operations, and in the process removed about $1.6 million worth of mining equipment.

Traders duped out of $1.8 million in a fake MetaMask governance token scheme

A listing for MASK on DEXTools, showing a blue checkmark by the nameSpoofed verification badge on DEXTools (attribution)
Scammers took advantage of rumors that MetaMask, a popular Ethereum wallet, would be airdropping governance tokens. The scammers created a fake MetaMask token, $MASK, and managed to inject code into the popular DEXTools trading app to show the token as verified. The token reached over $9 million in traded volume before scammers pulled the liquidity, making off with about $1.8 million worth of Ethereum.

Rapper Waka Flocka Flame has an OpenSea account hacked to the tune of $19,000

A still frame from a video, of a finger pointing to an NFT on a computer screen.Waka Flocka pointing out one of the fake NFTs (attribution)
Waka Flocka Flame posted to Twitter: "@opensea One of me wallets was hacked wtf man". In a video, he showed NFTs in his OpenSea wallet, saying "This is fake, this is fake, this is fake, this is fake. They popped up in my wallet, I clicked on it to delete it, immediately they stole 19 grand. Happily I just started this wallet, they already stole 19,000 out of it. I need fucking help immediately."

MetaSwap Gas project rugpulls about $600,000

1,100 BNB, or around $600,000, were transferred out of the MetaSwap token MGAS, dropping the price of the token nearly 50%. The funds went to a Tornado Cash account, a popular cryptocurrency tumbler. After the transfer, MetaSwap Gas social media accounts were deactivated.

MetaDAO project rugpulls for more than $3.2 million

A project that promised to be "the DAO of DAOs" managed to accumulate and then make off with 800 ETH, which was worth around $3.2 million at the time of the scam. The project creators took the invested tokens and quickly tumbled them using Tornado Cash.

Another NFT project sells NFTs depicting real people without their consent

A CipherPunk trading card, illustrated with the face of Marc AndreessenNFT depicting Marc Andreessen (attribution)

The "Cipher Punks" NFT project tried to sell NFTs with illustrations of various cypherpunks, or at least the ones that were listed on Wikipedia. The project said that it intended to "[honor] everyone involved in the CypherPunk movement. They are our heroes, and we need to recognize them". Apparently honoring them did not also involve asking for their consent to be used in the project, as Jillian York tweeted on December 26, "I don’t approve of this whatsoever and would like it removed."

ItsBlockchain, the group behind the project, subsequently announced that they would scrap the project and apologized. This apology rang a little hollow, to me, after they retweeted a tweet saying "never meet your heroes" in reference to the individuals asking that the project stop using their likeness without their consent, for their own profit.

JungleFreaks and Sandbox NFTs are stolen from a collector

A shiny chrome robot, with a captain's hat, Bitcoin symbols for eyes, smoking a cigarette on a blue-green background.Jungle Freak #6028 (attribution)
bergpay.eth checked his MetaMask wallet on the day after Christmas only to discover that all his NFTs had been stolen, including five from the popular "Jungle Freaks" collection and 2 from "Sandbox". Jungle Freaks average about 0.9 ETH ($3,700) each; Sandbox NFTs average around 2.75 ETH ($11,300) each.

A DAO forms with the goal of "liberating" Blockbuster, hoping to raise $5 million from NFTs

Tweet from BlockbusterDAO (@BlockbusterDAO): "Our mission is to liberate Blockbuster and form a DAO to collectively govern the brand as we turn Blockbuster into the first-ever DeFilm streaming platform and a mainstay of both the Web3 brands and products, but a powerhouse in the future of the film industry. Read the 🧵👇"BlockbusterDAO's announcement tweet (attribution)
A group called "BlockbusterDAO" emerged, with the stated goal of "liberat[ing] Blockbuster and form[ing] a DAO to collectively govern the brand as we turn Blockbuster into the first-ever DeFilm streaming platform". Ideas for the DAO's plans after buying the corporation included creating original films and also getting into crypto gaming, for some reason. Some outlets noted that it's unlikely Dish, the current owner of Blockbuster, would sell the corporation for any amount (and particularly for an amount $315 million less than what it bought them for ten years ago), but I suspect that minor detail is unlikely to slow the group down much.

Elon Musk tweeting a photograph of his dog in a Santa suit somehow pumps a memecoin

A tweet from Elon Musk reading "Floki Santa" and containing a photo: A shiba inu wearing a Santa suit stands in front of a fireplace. The text "Merry Christmas" has been superimposed atop it.Floki Santa tweet (attribution)
On Christmas, Elon Musk tweeted a very cute photograph of his pet dog, Floki, wearing a Santa suit with the caption "Floki Santa". Creators of a memecoin called "Santa Floki" ($HOHOHO, of course) capitalized on this with a claim that he'd been tweeting about their coin, and the token surged by 18,840% in about 48 hours (from $0.000000012935 to a whopping $0.00000245). The value quickly fell back below this new high, and settled back to around the pre-tweet price not long after.

An attempted governance attack aims to defraud 25 million MIR (about $64.2 million) from Terra's Mirror protocol

A slew of polls, titled "Alert: Poll 211 is SCAM -- sending 25,000,000 MIR to itself", "Freeze the community pool in case of scam", "Vote NO on fraudulent pools #185, ..., #208", "VOTE NO ON POLL 185 IT IS A SCAM", "Reduce mDOT to .01 and redistribute to newly voted mAssets", "poll 205 is right ! vote yes !"Polls on the Mirror governance page (attribution)
A scammer created a public poll on Mirror's official website, proposing to "Freeze the community pool in case of scam". However, if the poll passed, it would send 25 MIR to the poll creator. Because of the design of the poll system, Mirror can't remove the poll, and so has attempted to inform its community of the potential scam by creating a different poll, as well as tweeting about it. The governance platform shows a slew of polls, including, "Alert: Poll 211 is SCAM -- sending 25,000,000 MIR to itself", "Vote NO on fraudulent pools #185, ..., #208", "VOTE NO ON POLL 185 IT IS A SCAM", and "poll 205 is right ! vote yes !"

Steve Bannon touts a "Fuck Joe Biden" coin that looks designed to scam investors

An illustration of an eagle wearing American flag print sunglasses that say "FJB" on each lensFJB coin illustration (attribution)
Around the holidays, Steve Bannon started touting a "Fuck Joe Biden" ($FJB) coin (formerly known as the "Let's Go Brandon" coin, and not to be confused with the other Let's Go Brandon coin) on his podcast. He and his partners have touted investing in the currency as a way to somehow "let your feelings, your primal disapproval, your primal disgust with Biden be heard" (and certainly not just a way to pad Bannon's own pockets). Reviewers inspecting the coin's contracts observed some unusual features, including provisions that allow the currency's operators to manually lock an individual's token balance so they can't sell (how decentralized!), though this of course does not apply to the operators themselves. One reviewer observed how this could easily be exploited for rug pull purposes, if the operators locked token holders from selling as they sold off their own coins, allowing them to get out before others started selling off too.

NFT collector scammed out of Bored Ape NFT: "This was my kids college. My mortgage."

A Bored Ape on a yellow-orange background wearing a captain's hat and sunglasses, with a neutral expression.Bored Ape #8038 (attribution)
An NFT collector lost his Bored Ape NFT to a scammer impersonating the well-known NFT collector Jeffrey Hwang, aka "Machi Big Brother". The real Hwang did eventually buy the NFT off the scammer for 77 ETH (about $290,000) and agreed to sell it back to its original owner for that price. Although the original owner tweeted on December 30 that they were "trying to launch a project that will help me raise funds to buy back my ape that was stolen", the following day they seemed disillusioned with the whole space. They wrote, "Been trying to put on a good face since I lost my ape but I gotta be honest. This was my kids college. My mortgage. Just absolute shit that some of you out there think it’s okay that I got ripped off. Fuck you if you think theft is okay because I wasn't 'smart' enough. I got news for you tool boxes. This space is going to zero and regulators are coming hard because the lay person isn’t coming with the attitude of a lot of you. No one is coming to a space where they aren’t sure there investments are safe. Good luck in the meta".

Open source contributors and advocates are surprised to find photographs of themselves being sold as NFTs

A black-and-white promo card for the project, with text that reads 'White label; 120+ unique portraits; first NFT offering!; limited edition; collect them all!; $99 each (initial price)' The image features three NFTs, of Kelsey Hightower, Yan Zhu, and Bill Joy."Faces of Open Source" promotional image (attribution)
Some prominent open source advocates and contributors were surprised to find that their likenesses were turned into NFTs by an artist who photographed them in 2018. Kris Nóva tweeted, "What would you do if you woke up and found out somebody made an NFT of you? Because that just happened to me and a lot of other open source contributors and thought leaders." She later wrote that the photographer "ended up reaching out, his heart is totally in the right place." However, it still seems pretty gross to me that the NFT creator didn't check with the subjects before using their likenesses in the NFT project, and that he prominently featured Kelsey Hightower, an outspoken critic of web3 who I suspect would not approve of his image being used in such a way, in the branding for the project.

Funko Pop launches Bob Ross NFTs in apparent disregard of Ross's wishes

A digital rendering of a Bob Ross Funko Pop, sitting in a paint canBob Ross NFT (attribution)
Because apparently the vinyl figurines known as Funko Pops aren't a sufficiently useless collectible, Funko decided to get in on the NFT craze by releasing a Bob Ross "Digital Pop". Ross made major changes to his will just before his death to try to prevent people from merchandising his legacy, and many fans were outraged by the NFT project, which they believe is exactly the sort of thing he was trying to prevent from happening.

Visor Finance is hacked for about $8.2 million

A reentrancy exploit in the Ethereum-based Visor Finance DeFi protocol allowed hackers to pull 8.8 million VISR tokens out of the network, equivalent to about $8.2 million. The VISR token went from trading at around $0.93 to around $0.04, losing more than 95% of its value. The Visor team subsequently announced that they would perform a token migration to compensate affected users. Visor has suffered other hacks since its launch earlier in 2021, despite having undergone several audits.

Another Discord scam earns its perpetrators about $150,000

Another Discord scam netted its perpetrators around 800 SOL, or about $150,000, from 373 individuals. The scammer posted a fake minting link in the official Discord of Fractal, the upcoming NFT and blockchain gaming marketplace co-founded by Twitch co-founder Justin Kan. Fractal said it would be compensating all who fell for the scam. The scam was apparently made possible by a compromise of the "Grape Protocol" Discord tools, a hack that was also used to target members of the Monkey Kingdom NFT collection Discord that same day.

Traders hoping to get in on the "Monkey Kingdom" NFT collection are duped by a scam link in the project's official Discord

A pixel-art monkey on a light yellow background. It is wearing a red turtleneck sweater and Santa hatOne of the Monkey Kingdom NFTs (attribution)
An NFT trader hoping to get in on the "Monkey Kingdom" NFT collection was duped by a scam link in the project's official Discord channel, and sent 650 SOL (about $116,000) to a scammer. "It is important money to my family: my wife, my son", the victim wrote on Twitter. Another person replied to the tweet to say they too had been duped by the Discord scammer, to the tune of about 19.5 SOL (about $3,500). In total, the phishing link netted the attacker about $1.3 million. The scam was apparently made possible by a compromise of the "Grape Protocol" Discord tools, a hack that was also used to target users of the Fractal project's Discord that same day.

Either a rug pull or a hack drains at least $1.8 million from Bent Finance

Bent Finance informed its users of a "possible exploit", but soon after issued a statement that the exploit had originated from the Bent Finance project's own deployer. Because of this, some speculated that it may have been a rug pull. Bent said in a statement, "There are multiple members on this team and we will make this right. We recommend you withdraw all funds until it is clear." The platform hasn't revealed how much money was lost, though a crypto fraud investigator wrote that 440 ETH (equivalent to about $1.8 million) appeared to have been funneled out of the platform. The attack was discovered on December 20, but appeared to have been ongoing since at least December 12, and possibly longer.

Dozens of users report money disappearing from their El Salvadoran Chivo Wallet accounts

Tweet by @designnvt: "@chivowallet Van hacer algo o no ya es demasiado que clase de suporte tienen, son $16000 que ha sacado su sistema sin autorización, ya es demasiado tendré que llamar a una radio o televisión para que lo publiquen si no dan una respuesta." There is a screenshot of about a dozen transactions, each around $800One of the tweets reporting apparent theft (attribution)
A Twitter thread showed dozens of people reporting amounts from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars disappearing from their Chivo Wallets, the Bitcoin wallet backed by El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele. El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as legal tender in September of this year, where it is used alongside the U.S. dollar.

Grim Finance is exploited for $30 million

Grim Finance, the "compounding yield optimizer" DeFi platform, was hacked. According to them, attackers exploited a bug in the platform to perform a reentrancy attack that netted them $30 million. Grim, indeed. A cryptocurrency watchdog group, RugDoc, opined that the exploit was possible because of very basic mistakes in implementation, and wrote, "Hopefully all projects can draw lessons from this incident that there is much knowledge most experienced solidity devs have at hand. If you haven't acquired this yet, don't build multi-million dollar projects. Don't get audits from companies which everyone knows are useless." This was apparently a dig at Solidity Finance, who had performed an audit several months prior to the hack and found that "ReentrancyGuard is used in relevant locations to preent[sic] reentrancy attacks."

Adidas learns the hard way that limiting the number of NFTs one person can buy is hard

Adidas NFT, a monkey wearing a tracksuitAdidas NFT (attribution)
Anticipating that buyers would try to hoard items from a big-name NFT drop, Adidas decided to try to limit their NFT drop to two per buyer. They apparently didn't realize that there is no guarantee that one address = one individual, and a crafty blockchain engineer created a smart contract that generated additional smart contracts, each with their own address. These contracts snapped up NFTs, then transferred them to the engineer's primary wallet and self-destructed. The engineer was able to snag 330 NFTs.

Prominent comics artist says continuous theft of his work for use as NFTs may force him to close his DeviantArt gallery

Screenshot of DeviantArt Protect, software which detects similar artwork being used off-site. In the screenshot, artwork depicting a minotaur has been directly copied with no apparent modifications and posted on an NFT marketplace.DeviantArt Protect software detecting stolen artwork (attribution)
Comics artist Liam Sharp wrote on Twitter that he would likely need to close his DeviantArt gallery, which he has maintained for fourteen years, because his artwork keeps being minted as NFTs without his permission. He wrote, "I can't - and shouldn't have to - report each one and make a case, which is consistently ignored. Sad and frustrating."

Multiple artists report OpenSea automatically closing their support tickets reporting stolen artwork; OpenSea removes ability to report

Artists going through the greuling process of reporting individual NFTs created without permission from their work reported tickets being automatically rejected. Artists were also required to provide personal information to OpenSea, who in some cases forwarded the personal information to the scammer behind the theft, opening the artist up to doxing and other harassment. Eventually, OpenSea disabled their contact form that had previously allowed artists to report stolen work.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 receives so much fan pushback on planned NFTs that the studio scraps the idea within a day

A gas-masked character from the STALKER 2 gameS.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 artwork (attribution)
Pushback from fans led S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 creators to quickly reverse their decision to add NFTs to the game. The studio announced their NFT plans on December 15, which involved collectible cards, in-game items, having one's name added to walls or other scenery in the game, and even the possibility to have an NPC added to the game that resembled the NFT buyer. In subsequent updates the studio stressed that the NFTs would not be mandatory for gameplay, and later downplayed them further by saying that the NPCs they would add to the game "aren't even involved in the story". Fans were incensed, and the next day the studio scrapped "anything NFT-related" that was planned for the game.

NFT collector who owns the NFT associated with the Bored Ape artwork used in this site header would like me to stop using "their" ape

Screenshot of a Twitter conversation: "Hello Molly Hope you are doing fine I believe you are using my ape on your website without my permission. Can you please prove you own this ape as I believe there is only one looking like this and it is mine"Screenshot of the messages (attribution)
The apparent owner of Bored Ape #5262, of which this site header is a derivative work, contacted me on Twitter to say "I believe you are using my ape on your website without my permission. Can you please prove you own this ape as I believe there is only one looking like this and it is mine" in an event that truly transcended parody. While this would be hilarious even if it was a prank, the Twitter account who DMed me does appear to belong to the person holding the NFT on OpenSea.

Melania Trump announces an NFT collection which will begin with a painting of her "cobalt blue eyes"

A watercolor painting of Melania Trump's eyes and eyebrows"Melania's Vision" NFT (attribution)
Lest it be mistaken for a grift, the press release was quick to say that Mrs. Trump had promised to donate a portion of the proceeds to children leaving foster care. The NFT platform is "powered by Parler", a far-right social network. Trump intends to release multiple NFTs, and the first will have a starting price of 1 SOL (approximately $150). Solana Labs was quick to clarify that the "project is not part of any Solana-led initiative".

Tweet from a crypto miner answers the question of where all the GPUs went

A tweet from Jaxson Davidson: "Here's is look inside building 1/4 of my mining farm. Almost all 3070s in this building. My new building will be all 170hx cards. Hoping to have it finished by EOY. #ETH #RVN #Mining" It includes an embedded video of racks upon racks of GPUs.The now-deleted tweet showing racks upon racks of GPUs (attribution)
Crypto miner Jaxson Davidson posted a video showing one of four buildings in his crypto mining farm, showing racks of thousands of GPUs—GPUs that gamers and other consumer buyers are finding painfully expensive, if available for sale at all. He said the GPUs were bought "under the table", for an average price of $1,200 per unit, and is using the farm to mine Ethereum and Ravencoin. Davidson deleted his Twitter account following some pretty fierce backlash from gamers feeling the GPU shortage, as well as crypto skeptics who were shocked at the display of energy expenditure.

Another typing error proves costly to an NFT collector

A cartoon character in all pastels. Background is orange, the character has green hair, blue skin, and a white sweater and hoop earringDoodle #1961 (attribution)
A misplaced decimal point caused an NFT trader to sell their "beloved" Doodle NFT for 0.37 ETH (about $1,500) instead of their intended 3.7 ETH (about $15,000). The trader tried begging on Twitter to buy back the NFT, then to get back "maybe the ETH i lost.. minus all royalties and such..". Two days later they posted, "well, i don't think i'll ever get back what i lost.. had to take a break yesterday to not go crazy over this. 3.7 ETH is a lot of money to lose for me." This happened two days after a different trader made a similar, $300,000 mistake.

Laurent Correia rug pulls $960,000 with his abandoned "Billionaire Dogs" NFT project

Laurent Correia, a French influencer and the creator of "Billionaire Tips" sports betting app, launched an NFT project called "Billionaire Dogs" in December. Promising perks including large cash giveaways and rare NFTs that would also grant luxury cars to their owners, the project launched on December 12. Buyers were invited to purchase NFTs for 0.1 ETH (~$400) in the presale, or 0.2 ETH (~$800) in the public sale.

The project had an underwhelming reception, and the team quickly decided to reduce the supply of available NFTs from 6,500 to 2,000. Two days after launch, the funds were transferred out of the project wallet and to various addresses, including $400,000 which went to Correia. The project also deleted their website, Discord, and Twitter account that week.

Correia, for his part, has continued to post on his "Laurent BILLIONAIRE" Instagram account, where he shows off his private jet and tropical vacations with no mention of the Billionaire Dogs Club. His "NFT" Instagram story shows his pricey NFT purchases beginning on January 14.

A hacker racks up a $45,000 AWS bill for their victim, only to generate $800 worth of Monero

A tweet from Jonny Platt (@jonnyplatt): "Excited to announce I just received my Christmas present from @awscloud! Horrified to see it's $45,000 in charges due to some scammer hacking my account + mining Crypto for the last few weeks Had no sleep last night. It's now 23 hrs since my support ticket & no reply."Tweet by the owner of the hacked AWS account (attribution)
A hacker gained access to someone's Amazon Web Services account and used it to spin up servers to run Monero miners, ultimately netting 6 Monero (XMR) worth a total of about $800 over the couple of weeks they were running. All this work, however, cost the hacked individual about $45,000 in AWS fees, providing a particularly salient example of why people don't typically use AWS to mine crypto. Fortunately, Amazon waived the bill for the owner of the compromised account.

Bug in major cryptocurrency trackers shows wildly inaccurate data

A graph of Bitcoin price showing an enormous, brief spikeBitcoin price on CoinMarketCap (attribution)
Some people were briefly elated or devastated when they looked at Coinbase or CoinMarketCap, both major cryptocurrency trackers. A glitch caused some cryptocurrency investments to appear to have surged in value by millions or billions of percentage points; others saw their investments appear to tank to nearly nothing. Some DeFi projects relying on data from Coinbase halted trading, and erroneous data from the glitch persisted into the following day. CoinMarketCap made light of the glitch on Twitter, writing, "How did it feel to be a trillionaire for a couple hours? 😂" Hopefully no one quit their job based on their mistaken windfall! At least one person speculated that bots relying on APIs from these services may have traded on the "market movement", and one project relying on their data reported losing around €300,000 (about $340,000) due to the relative value of their assets being inaccurate.

Fans are outraged when the Twitter account of now-deceased Stan Lee shills an NFT

An illustration of Stan Lee wearing a blue superhero costume and sunglassesOne of the NFTs (attribution)
Stan Lee fans were outraged when the Twitter account belonging to Lee, who died in 2018, posted a message to promote an upcoming NFT based on one of his characters. Fans fairly universally felt this was disrespectful to Lee's legacy and contrary to the values he'd held through his career.

Artist Loish searches her name on OpenSea and finds 132 NFTs created from her artwork without permission

Digital artist Loish discovered more than one hundred instances where people had created NFTs from her art without her permission, and had to spend hours reporting each individual NFT as copyright violations. She wrote on Twitter, "NFTs are supposedly about authenticity but these platforms (that's you, @opensea) do less than the bare minimum when it comes to making sure that the images are being uploaded by their ORIGINAL CREATORS."

A collection of NFTs seeks to profit off the murder of George Floyd, with no apparent connection to or approval from his family

Someone released a collection of poorly-made pixel art NFTs depicting the late George Floyd, whose murder by a police officer in May 2020 set off protests around the world. There was no apparent link to his family or any social justice charity; this was just a scam to make money off of the memory of a murder victim. One entry in the collection depicted Floyd as a police officer; another styled him as a Despicable Me minion. "To the people who think I’m super-racist, I would say I'm just an opportunist", said the creator.

Vulcan Forged users lose a collective $135 million in hack

Stolen private keys from the blockchain gaming platform Vulcan Forged enabled attackers to siphon funds out of just shy of 100 user wallets. Rather than users managing their own private keys, this is done by the platform, suggesting the issue was not user error. The project says it plans to reimburse users.

The Seattle Kraken NHL team, whose home stadium is named the Climate Pledge Arena, raise eyebrows with an NFT release

The Seattle Kraken announced that they would be releasing a set of NFTs. Although several sports groups have released NFTs, people were particularly surprised to see it coming from a team that is known for its environmental advocacy. Though the NFT release will be on a proof-of-stake blockchain that claims to be net-zero emissions (Avalanche), many were up in arms about the team engaging in something that they see as antithetical to environmentalism.