WeGro token plunges in value as its developer apparently drains 1,000 BNB ($378,000)

Widget on WeGro website, reading "WeGro is live WEGRO has launched Thursday 16th December at 5pm EST." and showing an embedded chart of the token price showing it dropping to near zero.Widget on the Wegro website (attribution)
WeGro, a project to allow "everyone to safely participate in the hemp and cannabis industry through the supply chain", saw its token tank in price as the deployer drained 1,000 BNB ($378,000) from the pool in what certainly looked like a rug pull.

"MetaSlave" project tries to sell NFTs of Black people

Meta Slave Twitter account, which features a collage of Black faces. The description reads, "In creating our project, we wanted to show that everyone is a slave to something. A slave to desires, work, money, etc."Meta Slave Twitter account (attribution)
A project called "Meta Slave" launched, offering NFTs made from photographs of Black people (all apparently algorithmically-generated). Backlash was swift and intense, and the project has tried several times to respond: first by claiming that they are trying to support Black Lives Matter and honor George Floyd (much like the "Floydies" project in December), then rebranding to "Meta Humans" and throwing a couple photos of white and Asian people into the collection. The project has, thankfully, not enjoyed much success. I, for one, think it's likely to be a troll project by 4channers, but who's to say.

Investors suffer enormous losses as "cascading liquidations" tank the Wonderland protocol token price below its supposed intrinsic value

Three-day price graph of the $TIME token, showing a precipitous drop and then volatile activity3-day value of $TIME in USD (attribution)
The broader decline in cryptocurrency prices triggered "cascading liquidations" in the Wonderland defi project, which is a fork of the "it might be a ponzi" OlympusDAO project. This dropped the value of the project's $TIME token nearly 50%, from around $780 to about $415 in the span of only two hours. This followed a decline of 91% over the past few months, as the token dropped from its November all-time-highs of around $14,000. According to CryptoBriefing, "Due to the disproportionately high leverage many TIME holders take on, the broader drop in crypto valuations has hit the Wonderland protocol harder than most."

The $TIME tokens are issued against a set of assets that supposedly give the token an intrinsic value, and if the price drops below the backing price, the protocol uses the assets in their treasury to buy back the token to bring it back up to its "fair value". In the day following the crash, the protocol's founders spent several million dollars in buy-backs, which briefly boosted the token back up to trading at around $600.

The project's team reportedly suffered major liquidation losses themselves, with the founder Daniele Sestagalli losing $15 million and the chief developer "0xSifu" losing $1.6 million. Sestagalli briefly caused panic in the community when he set his 300,000+ follower Twitter account to private after tweeting "Dude I just woke up losing 10 m dollars", but set the account back to public shortly after. He retweeted a thread stating that "the internal struggle for growth is cut short by the willingness of some entities to 'eat' all that they'r able to, instead of 'cultivating' and sharing what would be exponential profits in the future."

Promised NFT game "Blockverse" rug pulls 500 ETH ($1.2 million)

A Minecraft character with turquoise skin, four eyes, a hawaiian style shirt, and dark blue pantsBlockverse #8272 (attribution)
Blockverse, a project that promised to build a play-to-earn game on top of Minecraft, rug pulled two days after launch. The initial NFT collection sold out in only eight minutes, even though the project creators hadn't even begun to develop the game they were promising. When the creators rug pulled, they took the 500 ETH ($1.2 million) and deleted the project website and Discord server.

John Lennon's son is delighted to be able to "auction off" items from his private Beatles collection without actually, you know, selling anything

Photograph of John Lennon's yellow and white-fur-trimmed jacket from the Magical Mystery Tour filmJohn Lennon's Magical Mystery Tour jacket (attribution)
Julian Lennon maintains a private collection of Beatles memorabilia, including clothing worn by his late father John Lennon, and other items from other members of the band. He announced plans to sell each item as "an audio/visual collectible, with a personal narration from Julian", but the announcement notes that "the items themselves are not up for auction... Lennon will continue to own the only physical counterpart". Starting prices for each item range from $4,000 to $30,000.

Lennon said, "I've been collecting these personal items for about 30 years, and I was getting a bit fed up with them being locked away in a vault, where I've had to keep them because I didn't want them to get damaged... I actually felt very bad about keeping all that stuff locked away." Apparently photographing the items and displaying them digitally somehow was not possible until NFTs came along?

"Now go back to flip more burgers you lazy fvçk!" Nayib Bukele continues horrify those who come across his tweets and realize he's not just a Bitcoin bro but the president of an entire country

Tweet from Nayib Bukele: "Most people go in when the price is up, but the safest and most profitable moment to buy is when the price is down. It’s not rocket science (Man shrugging emoji) So invest a piece of your McDonald’s paycheck in Bitcoin. Now go back to flip more burgers you lazy fvçk!"Tweet by Nayib Bukele (attribution)
El Salvadoran president Nayib Bukele gives us Americans a painful reminder of having a president who truly cannot be trusted with the reins of a country, much less a Twitter account. On January 24, with Bitcoin prices tanking, Bukele tweeted, "Most people go in when the price is up, but the safest and most profitable moment to buy is when the price is down. It's not rocket science. So invest a piece of your McDonald's paycheck in Bitcoin. Now go back to flip more burgers you lazy fvçk!"

Naturally, he failed to mention the nearly 1,000 Bitcoin that he had purchased with taxpayer money since September 2021 at times that Bitcoin was above $50,000.

OpenSea users lose a collective $1.8 million to an issue allowing people to buy NFTs at low prices from old OpenSea listings the sellers thought they'd deleted

Bored Ape illustration: light brown ape with a laurel crown, coins over its eyes, and an army jacket on a light blue background.Bored Ape #9991 (attribution)
A horrified (former) owner of a Bored Ape tweeted that his NFT had just unexpectedly sold for a measly 0.77 ETH (about $1,700) and that "I cant financially afford that loss". The purchaser netted a handsome profit by quickly reselling the NFT for 84.2 ETH ($190,000). It appears that the buyer took advantage of the fact that they could still purchase NFTs that had previously been listed for sale at a lower price, even once the owner thought they had removed the listing. In about 90 minutes, the person was able to exploit the issue by buying and selling several different NFTs for a total profit of about $880,000.

A software engineer investigating the incident attributed it to OpenSea's choice to do many of their operations off-chain to save on the expensive gas fees required for any Ethereum blockchain transaction, saying this introduced a disparity where updates were not reflected on-chain. Another person investigating the apparent issue reported that this looked to be the same "glitch" as earlier this month, where users tried to avoid paying the gas fees to delist their NFT sales by swapping them out of their wallet and back again, not realizing the listing would still be active when the NFT was returned.

OpenSea added an "Inactive listings" page to allow people to view listings that are still associated with NFTs that have been transfered out of the wallet, though the feature doesn't seem to have been widely publicized and it's not clear when it was released. They also later reimbursed users who suffered losses from this exploit, to the tune of about $1.8 million.

Co-founder of the team behind CryptoPunks v2 sells all 40 of his v1 Cryptopunks shortly before the team announces they view them as worthless

A pixel art character with pale skin and black hair on a purple backgroundV1 Punk #7276 (attribution)
The enormously popular Cryptopunks project, created by the LarvaLabs group, is actually on its second version. A bug in the original smart contract allowed users to retrieve their money after buying the original NFT, allowing people to "steal" the v1 NFTs, and so the project largely faded into obscurity in favor of the patched version 2. However, recently the NFT marketplace LooksRare allowed a project where people "wrap" their original punks and can trade them properly without encountering the bug. This apparently didn't go over so well with LarvaLabs: on January 31, the project tweeted, "PSA: 'V1 Punks' are not official Cryptopunks. We don't like them, and we've got 1,000 of them... so draw your own conclusions." However, @NFTethics noticed that one of the LarvaLabs founders sold all 40 V1 punks that he owned between January 23 and 25. Trading them shortly before the project released the tweet declaring they viewed them as worthless sure looks a lot like insider trading. The trades earned the founder a handsome total of 260 ETH (about $625,000). Fortunately for buyers of the wrapped V1 punks, LarvaLabs' announcement doesn't appear to have impacted trading price very much.

A surgeon tries to sell an NFT of an x-ray of a terror attack victim without the victim's consent

French surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean minted an NFT of an x-ray image of a bullet embedded in the fractured forearm of a person who was shot in the November 2015 Paris Bataclan attack. The NFT, which was listed on OpenSea for a starting price of around $2,800, was created without the consent of the victim. The doctor quickly took down the listing after it was noticed by media, and the head of Paris's public hospital system announced that the doctor would be facing criminal and professional complaints.

A conservationist and wildlife photographer decides the way to battle people "exploiting nature for personal gain" is by minting NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain

A photograph of a gorilla"Congo" NFT from the collection (attribution)
Conservationist and wildlife photographer George Benjamin tweeted about his new project, "The NFT Conservation Fund". "Over the last decade I've seen first-hand the devastation that our Earth is currently enduring, oftentimes feeling completely helpless," he writes. The project involves minting NFTs of his wildlife photography on the notoriously high-emissions Ethereum blockchain, and then contributing a measly 15% of profits to... get more wildlife photographers to do the same. Good news, though — the paper on which the limited-edition prints will be printed is "Forest Stewardship Council-approved"!

NFT creators announce an NFT collection to "honor" Kurt Cobain

A black and white photo of Cobain singing and playing guitar, with another guitarist next to himOne of the NFTs (attribution)
An NFT group announced that they'd be releasing NFTs created from photographs of a 1991 Nirvana show they performed shortly before Nevermind rose to popularity. The NFTs go on sale on what would have been Kurt Cobain's birthday if he was still alive. The creators say they seek to "honor" Cobain by releasing these NFTs, which makes you wonder if they've ever heard Cobain speak before.

Investors on Solana-based defi platforms experience mass liquidations caused by yet another outage

Tweet from aeyakovenko: "lol" with a screenshot of a spike in network trafficAnatoly Yakovenko's tweet during the outage (attribution)
Solana was so overloaded with bot transactions that users couldn't transact. As the cryptocurrency market in general continued to tank, users rushed to top up the collateral they had provided to keep their loans from being liquidated and found they couldn't get the transfers to go through. One user reported spending eight hours trying unsuccessfully to add collateral, before eventually getting liquidated and losing 500 SOL (about $47,500). It took Solana 24 hours to even identify the cause of the issue, and another 24 before they were able to resolve it. Traders watching their loans get liquidated were not impressed when Solana Labs co-founder tweeted "lol", with a screenshot of a Solana node showing high amounts of duplicate packets.

Scammers set up a new server at the URL previously used by Ozzy Osbourne's NFT project, stealing thousands

A brown pixel art bat with a toothy smile and a halo, on a teal backgroundCryptoBat #1783 (attribution)
Ozzy Osbourne's NFT project, CryptoBatz, changed to a slightly different Discord URL ("cryptobatz" rather than "cryptobatznft") some time after the new year. However, they forgot to take down at least one tweet mentioning the previous URL, and scammers were able to set up a new server at that location. Users were instructed to "verify", which redirected them to a phishing site where the contents of their wallets were stolen.

McDonald's steals an artist's work to present to Twitter as a proposed NFT profile picture

Screenshot of a tweet by Sarah Burssty, which has a pixel art version of the Twitter logo and says "you've come to the right place, one ponzi scheme coming up"The original tweet (attribution)
Shortly after rolling out their hexagonal NFT profile pictures, @twitter posted "gm, looking for an nft pfp". The next day, McDonald's German language communications account, @McDonaldsDENews, replied "Say no more!" with attached pixel art of the Twitter bird logo holding a McDonald's bag in its beak. After further investigation, the art was found to be nearly identical to an image from a tweet by @SarahBurssty, which ironically was created to criticize Twitter's support of NFTs.

MetaMask founder acknowledges they've failed to remedy an IP address leak vulnerability that's been "widely known for a long time"

Security researchers publicly disclosed a critical privacy vulnerability with the popular cryptocurrency wallet Metamask, where a malicious attacker can easily create an NFT and airdrop it to a victim to obtain their IP address (and thus potentially their location). Metamask founder Dan Finlay acknowledged that "this issue has been widely known for a long time", and that the researchers were "right to call us out for not addressing it sooner. Starting work on it now. Thanks for the kick in the pants, and sorry we needed it."

Twitter launches special hexagonal NFT profile pictures, so now you don't even have to check a username for ".eth" to know who to avoid

Screenshot of a popup announcing Twitter's NFT support, and showing off the hexagonal profile picturesScreenshot of the Twitter NFT announcement (attribution)
Although NFTs-as-profile-pictures on Twitter is nothing new, Twitter launched a new feature in which users can connect their crypto wallets to verify that an NFT belongs to them. Such verified NFTs will display with a hexagon shape, rather than the standard circle, presumably to differentiate these users from the right-clickers.

OpenSea outage dampens Twitter feature launch, highlights centralization among popular web3 services

Popular NFT marketplace OpenSea suffered an outage that had ripple effects throughout several major services using their APIs, including the browser extension crypto wallet MetaMask. The same day, Twitter announced it was rolling out its support for NFT profile pictures, an announcement that was dampened a bit by collection pages failing to load due to the outage. The widespread effects of the outage highlighted points by many web3 critics, that the ecosystem is hardly as decentralized in practice as it claims to be.

Kingfund Finance rug pulls for $141,000

Kingfund Finance suddenly drained more than 300 WBNB (about $141,000) from their project. This happened a few days after users began to report being blocked by the project's Twitter account and kicked from its Telegram channel for reporting issues with unavailable funds, apparently an attempt to buy time as they prepared for their exit. Around the time of the rug pull, they took their Twitter and website offline.

Cryptocurrency exchange Multichain publicly announces a vulnerability, and is quickly hacked by attackers using it

Multichain publicly announced a vulnerability that was affecting their tokens, without first notifying users to ask them to remove vulnerable funds. Several hackers quickly exploited the vulnerability, stealing around $3 million from the platform. Security researchers described the saga as "the worst way to treat a vulnerability".

Mastercard spins a partnership with Coinbase as addressing "accessibility" and "inclusivity"

Apparently the real issue with crypto grifts all along has been that it's just too dang hard to put your money into them. Mastercard has shown up to fix that, announcing a new partnership with Coinbase to allow Mastercard holders to buy NFTs on Coinbase's upcoming NFT platform with credit. With just a jaw-dropping attempt at spin, Mastercard wrote in their announcement tweet, "We're working to make NFTs more accessible because we believe tech should be inclusive."

Once popular play-to-earn game BNB Heroes rug pulls after a period of inactivity from the team

Chart showing the value of the BNB Heroes token suddenly droppingBNBHeroToken value (attribution)
The BNB Heroes play-to-earn game apparently rug pulled after a period of inactivity from the development team. The developer drained almost $200,000 from the token pool, plummeting the token value by 65%.

Creator of "MetaBirkins" NFTs writes that he "won't be intimidated" by a trademark lawsuit from Hermès

A rendering of a fuzzy Birkin-styled bag with rainbow-colored abstract flowers on a black background. The bag is sitting on a white museum pedestal.MetaBirkin (attribution)
Mason Rothschild, the creator of "MetaBirkins" NFTs, was the target of a trademark lawsuit by Birkin bag-maker Hermès. The lawsuit came after he ignored a cease and desist from the company over his his 3D renderings depicting and named after the distinctive bags. In a public statement replying to the lawsuit, Rothschild wrote that "I am not creating or selling fake Birkin bags. I've made art works that depict imaginary, fur-covered Birkin bags... I have the right also to use the term 'MetaBirkins' to describe truthfully what that art depicts, and to comment artistically on those bags and on the Birkin brand." So far, the NFT collection has enjoyed about $1.2 million in trading.

I, for one, am very curious to see how the litigation plays out. In the meantime, the Rarible landing page for the connection displays an error message stating, "This user or item has been temporarily blocked from public access".

At least $34 million is stolen from users of Crypto.com

Popular cryptocurrency wallet provider and trading platform Crypto.com briefly suspended trading after acknowledging there had been "unauthorized activity" in user accounts. The platform restored trading later that day after pushing an update to require their users to re-authenticate their sessions and reset two-factor authentication.

Although some users reported funds missing from their wallets, including one investor who reported that $16.3 million missing, Crypto.com announced that "All funds are safe". Over the next few days this was revealed to be untrue; as of January 20, the total estimated funds stolen from the platform had reached $30 million. Large amounts of stolen funds were quickly laundered through Tornado Cash, a popular crypto mixer.

Mysterious NFT project NotASecretNFT gets people to authorize a shady contract after leaving clear clues to their intentions

An Opensea landing page for the NFT project, showing a collection of black and white imagesNotASecret's Opensea page (attribution)
Enthusiasts rushed to buy NFTs from a project called NotASecretNFT after seeing NFT mega-whale Pranksy buy in, even though the OpenSea description was simply, "1000 secrets, endless lies... Farming $LIES starts 24 hours from mint." After funds were drained from the project, Pranksy tweeted, "Ok you may have seen me buy some NotASecretNFT's from opensea - it looks like this was a rug pull / scam, please do not buy anymore based on my purchases and revert any permissions you may have given". A note in the project's smart contract read, "Hello world, Nothing was intended to be obscured from you, you simply did not follow the clues." In a tweet thread, one buyer explained how he didn't research the project himself, but bought in after seeing an alert that Pranksy had bought NFTs. He ended the thread by writing, "Never buy into hypes and always #DYOR [do your own research]. Lesson learned once more!"

CryptoBurgers play-to-earn game is hacked shortly after launch

The value of the $BURG token associated with the CryptoBurgers game suddenly plummeted after being hacked shortly after launching earlier that day. The game allowed users to earn cryptocurrency by flipping burgers... yes, really. A bug in the smart contract allowed an attacker to use flash loan attacks to drain $BURG, netting them around $770,000 as of that evening. The CryptoBurgers team announced they would be contacting Binance to try to recover funds, and the team would be creating a new smart contract and token. Hope the next one goes better!

SpiceDAO wins a $3 million auction to buy an extremely rare storyboard book of Dune, only to learn that owning a book doesn't confer them copyright

Photograph of the Dune storyboard bookDune storyboard (attribution)
Somehow, SpiceDAO managed to raise €2.66 million (about $3 million) to buy the storyboard for Alejandro Jodorowsky's never-made Dune adaptation. In a celebratory tweet the group wrote, "We won the auction for €2.66M. Now our mission is to: 1. Make the book public (to the extent permitted by law) 2. Produce an original animated limited series inspired by the book and sell it to a streaming service 3. Support derivative projects from the community". They were quickly informed that buying the physical book did not somehow confer to them copyright or licensing rights (much like how buying an NFT does not automatically confer you the rights to the underlying artwork!). You'd think they might have checked that first.

Developer apparently rug pulls two NFT projects at once

A pixel art face wearing a red, white, and black cap, and smoking a pipeMadHasher #0051 (attribution)
Shortly after it was discovered that the images used for the NFT project "InvertedCulture" were nothing more than unauthorized flipped copies from a different NFT project, DNA Cultura, the creator deleted the project's Twitter account and transferred funds out of the project. Simultaneously, another project called "MadHashers" also deleted their Twitter account and drained funds. It didn't take long for people to realize that the money from both projects was going to the same account, suggesting that that the same person was behind both scams.

Chinese police arrest eight people over a $7.8 million rug pull

Eight people were arrested in China after being connected to a rug pull. One investor lost ¥590,000 ($90,000) he had poured into the token in June, when project owners took the website offline and pulled all of the money out. A total of ¥50 million (a bit below $7.9 million) was lost to the scam.

An attacker pulls about 350 ETH from Float Protocol's Rari Capital pool

Lack of liquidity in the Uniswap V3 FLOAT/USDC oracle allowed an attacker to manipulate the prices within the pool, then deposit it at a much higher rate. The hacker pulled about 350 ETH (equivalent to $1.1 million) out of the pool, though according to PeckShield they later returned around $250,000 for some reason.

Voice actor Troy Baker announces his involvement in "voice NFT" project Voiceverse with an antagonistic tweet, shortly before it's revealed that the project stole work

Troy Baker, the voice actor behind video game characters in The Last of Us, Far Cry, and various Batman games, announced he would be partnering with "voice NFT" company Voiceverse. Voiceverse is pretty vague as to what it's actually offering, but it has something to do "provid[ing] you an ownership to a unique voice in the Metaverse". Baker's announcement tweet ended, "You can hate. Or you can create. What'll it be?", which didn't seem to help with the already-negative reaction to the idea. Things were further soured when it was revealed that Voiceverse had stolen work without crediting it from a computer-generated voice project called 15.ai. Voiceverse subsequently apologized for the theft, and Baker acknowledged that his initial tweet "might have been a bit antagonistic".

Token drop for the aptly named WTF token devolves into chaos

fees.wtf, a platform allowing people to see how much money a given cryptocurrency wallet has spent in gas fees, decided it was time to release their own token, and promised to follow it up with NFTs. They tempted people with an initial airdrop, where people recruited their friends in exchange for more "WTF" tokens. However, with a small initial liquidity pool and trading bots quickly entering the fray, enormous volatility led to absolute chaos. Some traders who were unfamiliar with setting up tolerances for slippage found their orders executed for substantially less than expected, with one user trading 42 ETH ($135,000) for what ended up being less than 1¢ of WTF. Edward Ongweso Jr wrote for Vice, "Like so many other crypto projects, it was so poorly planned, capitalized, and executed, that it's almost indistinguishable from a scam."

Global Game Jam plugs their blockchain company sponsor, then tries to scrub mention of it after backlash

Tweet by GlobalGameJam (@globalgamejam): "#GGJ22 primary headline sponsor @TheSandboxGame is a decentralized, community-driven gaming ecosystem where creators can share and monetise voxel assets and gaming experiences on the Ethereum blockchain. Learn more at sandbox.game/en/ and give them a follow! #gamedev"The original tweet (attribution)
Global Game Jam, an annual event where people collaborate to make video games, proudly plugged The Sandbox as their "primary headline sponsor" on Twitter. The Sandbox is a platform for selling game assets on the Ethereum blockchain. After swift backlash, GGJ deleted the tweet and deleted references to blockchains from The Sandbox's description in their sponsor list. Needless to say this didn't go unnoticed, appearing to many as an attempt to deceive their community. GGJ eventually apologized for this action, and dropped The Sandbox as a sponsor.

NFT developers rugpull for a third time, this time with "Big Daddy Ape Club"

A bored-looking ape with protruding fangs, horns, and red spiked wingsBig Daddy Ape Club NFT (attribution)
The creators of "Big Daddy Ape Club" rug pulled shortly after mint, deleting their social media and website and making off with around $1.2 million. The project's creators were reportedly the same as those who'd pulled off the $2 million "Baller Ape Club" rug pull in October 2021, and a $150,000 one before that.

The Associated Press announces its bizarre plans for an NFT marketplace

I can safely describe most NFT marketplaces as bizarre, but the AP is really trying to top the bunch. The marketplace will provide a place for trading the NFTs they plan to create out of their journalistic photography. However, people won't be able to move the NFTs they purchase to other marketplaces (so much for decentralized). Dwayne Desaulniers, AP's Director of Blockchain & Data Licensing, attempted to shed some light on their plans via Twitter, only making things worse. "Buying an AP photo registered on the blockchain provides you with a personal license to display, print, resell the image if you wish. But is also helps reduce the economic damage from digital theft, preserves the value of a photograph and will help us fight deep fakes", he said, though basically none of these claims stand up to scrutiny, or particularly require a blockchain.

Members of a DAO hoping to build an Ethereum city in Wyoming are scammed out of around $100,000

Crypto investors who bought 40 acres of land in Wyoming in hopes of "building a city on the Ethereum blockchain" lost more than $92,000 to a Discord hack. Some clever social engineering and questionable security measures on Discord's part allowed scammers to gain control of a CityDAO Discord moderator's account, then send out fake announcements about a fake "land drop". The scammer received over 29.67 ETH (about $92,000).

Sports NFT platform Lympo loses $18.7 million to a breach

Animoca Brands' subsidiary Lympo, an NFT platform specifically for sports, experienced a breach of several hot wallets. This allowed an attacker to pull 165.2 LMT tokens from the platform, equivalent to about $18.7 million. The tokens were quickly exchanged for Ether on Uniswap and Sushiswap. The hack caused the value of LMT to drop by 92%, to $0.0093.

Celebrity-promoted Rich Dwarves Tribe NFT project rug pulls for around $3 million

A 3D rendering of a dwarf figure with brown hair and a beard, wearing a gold chain and a shirt with gold shells printed on it. There is some sort of gold weapon slung on his back.Rich Dwarf #3453 (attribution)
The Rich Dwarves Tribe was an NFT project announced in December 2021, which minted in January 2022. The project had been heavily promoted by musicians including NeYo, Jason Derulo, BowWow, and Fred Durst. It promised a metaverse "tavern", giveaways, a crypto project incubator, and NFTs that would "mine coins for you". However, shortly after the project minted out, its creators disappeared with the funds and abandoned the project.

Developers of the Frosties NFT project make off with about $1.1 million

A green, vaguely human-shaped blob with a strawberry on its head and hearts for eyes, holds a flag that says "Frosties"Frostie #7105 (attribution)
An hour after releasing their ice cream-themed NFTs, developers of the Frosties NFT project closed their social media accounts and disappeared with $1.1 million, plunging the token value to nearly zero.

Doodled Dragons takes at least $30,000 after tweeting "our charity will instead now be... my bank account"

A pink dragon blowing smoke out its nostrils, wearing a blue hoodie.Doodled Dragon #322 (attribution)
A SolSea-verified NFT project on the Solana blockchain, Doodled Dragons, touted that they would distribute all profits "straight to charities protecting animals on the brink of extinction". They announced on Twitter that they would be donating $30,000, "our first donation", to the World Wildlife Fund. Two hours later, they tweeted, "actually. fuck that. our charity will instead now be... my bank account. cya nerds." They deleted the Twitter account shortly after.

$6.8 million emptied from crypto exchange LCX

The Liechtenstein-based cryptocurrency exchange LCX suffered a $6.8 million loss when one of its hot wallets was compromised. Assets including ETH, USDC, EURe, and LCX were moved to an Ethereum wallet belonging to the attacker, then quickly tumbled using the Tornado Cash mixing service.

Gary V announces his new "NFT restaurant" where you'll still have to pay regular money for your meals

An illustration of a flyfish on a pastel backgroundFlyfish Club Member NFT (attribution)
Gary Vaynerchuk announced plans for his New York City "NFT restaurant", Flyfish Club. The cheapest NFT, giving access to only parts of the restaurant, was listed at 2.5 ETH (at the time around $8,000); a full-access membership was listed at 4.25 ETH (around $14,400). However, the NFT only grants access to the restaurant. Patrons will still pay for their food and drink — and in real money, not crypto.

Class action lawsuit names Kim Kardashian and other celebrities who hyped Ethereum Max

Instagram story post from Kim Kardashian, which reads "Are you guys into crypto???? This is not financial advice but sharing what my friends just told me about the Ethereum Max token! A few minutes ago Ethereum Max burned 400 trillion tokens—literally 50% of their admin wallet giving back to the entire E-Max community. SWIPE UP"Kim Kardashian's Instagram post (attribution)
An investor filed a class action lawsuit against Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather, and Paul Pierce, all of whom promoted the EthereumMax currency (not to be confused with the completely unrelated Ethereum project). The lawsuit also names the creators of the coin, who are still unknown, but who the filer hopes to unmask through legal discovery. The filer alleges that the group of defendants were hyping a "pump-and-dump scam" that caused him to suffer investment losses.

Users of Hong Kong crypto exchange Coinsuper reportedly haven't been able to withdraw funds for several months

Users reported not being able to withdraw currency from their accounts with Coinsuper, a Hong Kong-based crypto exchange. Although trading has remained active on the platform to date, some users have said they have spent months trying to withdraw their funds, to no avail. A group have filed a complaint to the police. Communication from Coinsuper has been practically nonexistent, both to users and to their investors.

SEC sues CrowdMachine founder, alleges illegal ICO and operation that secretly diverted funds to gold mining companies

The SEC alleged that Craig Sproule, founder of companies CrowdMachine and Metavine, ran a fraudulent and unregistered ICO when he launched "Crowd Machine Compute Tokens" (CMCTs). Although he claimed that the money raised from the token sale would be used on technical development of the "Crowd Computer", a "global decentralized" peer-to-peer network, he made no effort to create this technology. Instead, he secretly sent more than $5.8 million of the more than $33 million raised in the ICO to South African gold mining companies.

Mozilla pauses cryptocurrency donations after backlash

Tweet by Mozilla: "Dabble in 
@dogecoin
? HODLing some #Bitcoin & #Ethereum?

We’re using 
@BitPay
 to accept donations in #cryptocurrency 

https://bitpay.com/100257/donate?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_content=1640967540"Original Mozilla tweet (attribution)
Someone on the Mozilla Foundation's social team inexplicably thought that tweeting "Dabble in @dogecoin? HODLing some #Bitcoin & #Ethereum? We're using @BitPay to accept donations in #cryptocurrency" would go over well with their supporters. Unsurprisingly it did not, and it also earned them scathing replies from the founder of Mozilla and the designer of the Gecko browser engine (upon which Firefox is built). Mozilla tweeted on January 6 that they were "listening, and taking action", and that they would review "if and how our current policy on crypto donations fits with our climate goals", pausing cryptocurrency donations in the meantime.

Internet shutdown in Kazakhstan reveals that 12–18% of all Bitcoin mining is done there, which has alarming energy implications

Fuel shortages and spiking electricity costs in Kazakhstan have contributed to protests and a governmental crisis in the country. The electricity issue is partially thanks to cryptocurrency mining to begin with, with about 8% of electricity generation in the country going towards crypto mining (as of last year — it's likely to be higher now). During the crisis, the Kazakh president ordered the nation's largest telecom provider to shut down Internet service in the country to try to quash communications among his opponents. On doing so, the total amount of Bitcoin mining taking place in the country was revealed: at least 12% of Bitcoin's computational power disappeared, though the numbers could swell closer to 18%. This has extremely concerning implications as far as Bitcoin's environmental impact (which we already knew was bad): Kazakhstan's electricity generation relies heavily on "hard" coal being burned in old and inefficient power plants, producing comparably enormous amounts of CO₂.

Pudgy Penguins NFT project founders apparently try to make off with all the money they've raised

An illustration of a smiling penguin wearing a pink scarf with a blue dead fish on its head.Pudgy Penguin #6827 (attribution)
Pudgy Penguins, a popular NFT project that somehow warranted a full-length New York Times article by Kevin Roose, apparently is trying something pretty shady. This was revealed by NFT whale 9x9x9, who has invested around 600 ETH (over $2 million) in the project and who said they tried to buy shares in the company a few months ago but ultimately rejected the deal Pudgy Penguins offered. 9x9x9 says the project's founders contacted them on January 4, offering to sell the company, at which point 9x9x9 discovered that they had split the company and were trying to walk away with the full profits and sell the shell of the company with 0 ETH in its wallet to 9x9x9 for 888 ETH.

Artist discovers her work has been stolen and published as 86,000 NFTs

Tweet by Aja Trier: "86 thousand times people have stolen my art and listed them on opensea and they even had the gall to make a collection like a giant middle finger to my IP rights. Wtf?"Tweet by Aja Trier (attribution)
Artist Aja Trier was shocked to discover that her artwork depicting dogs painted in the style of Van Gogh's Starry Night has been stolen and turned into an NFT collection with 86,000 items. Although NFT theft is sadly nothing new, this was perhaps the largest-scale theft to date. @NFTtheft, a popular Twitter account that draws attention to art theft in NFTs, wrote, "This is absolutely shocking. We've never seen anything at this scale before."

Kosovo issues an emergency ban on cryptocurrency mining in efforts to ease electricity shortages

Energy shortages and rolling blackouts plagued Kosovo towards the end of 2021, leading the Kosovan government to issue a 60-day state of emergency to address the crisis. The emergency authorization promised to identify and shut down any cryptocurrency mining. Kosovo has attracted cryptocurrency miners because it has some of the cheapest electricity prices in Europe, largely due to government subsidies and the availability of lignite (the lowest grade of coal, which is extremely harmful to the environment). Much of the mining takes place in the northern portions of the country, which do not recognize the Kosovan government and so have not paid for electricity at all in more than 20 years.

ElectionDayMad1 apologizes for shilling an NFT project (that later rug pulled) without adequately disclosing he was being paid

A pixel art person with yellow hair smokes a vapeExpansionPhunks #15091 (attribution)
NFT collector and influencer Franklin/@ElectionDayMad1 posted a tweet thread about how he had hyped a project that later rugpulled. He was paid about 18 ETH (about $63,000) to promote the "Expansion Phunks", but did very little to acknowledge that he was being paid to promote the project. He also wrote, "I didn't do any research of Fly nor try to dox the anon team+devs and for that I'm very sorry and regret not researching." Elsewhere in the thread he mentions that "I'd say 99% of projects that I promote fail", a statement which might prompt some self-reflection if he was as ashamed of fleecing his followers as he claims to be.