Ruggers arrested, all apes on deck, and fun in the sun (Issue #15)
The way things are going, we're going to need a bigger newsletter.
This week we saw the first instance of criminal proceedings for rug pullers, got an object lesson in what a good investor presentation looks like from BAYC (see the Thread of the Week below for the details), and saw ever more signs that the NFT bull market is in full swing once more.
Right, let’s get straight into it!
On Thursday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed it was charging two people — Ethan Nguyen and Andre Llacuna — with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. As The Block reports, “[t]he two defendants potentially face decades in prison in connection with the charges.”
Their names might not mean much to you, but the cause of their troubles with the DOJ might: “Frosties.” That’s right, the pair are the alleged masterminds behind the rug pull that netted an estimated $1.1 million from unsuspecting investors who bought into the Frosties NFT project only to see the site vanish (along with their money) mere hours later.
Seeing the DOJ make a move like this is intriguing. On the one hand, it’s a stark warning to other would-be ruggers (or would-be Razzlekhans) that even if they think they’re anonymous, they best triple check, or else a knock at the door (or a battering ram through it) might follow.
On the other, it’s a reminder for even non-nefarious pseudonymous people (and the rest of us) that the U.S. administration is taking cryptocurrencies and related sectors like NFTs increasingly seriously… and becoming ever more adept at investigations, tracing transactions, and tracking down individuals of interest.
Whether you think that’s good news or bad probably depends on your line of work, how substantial your bags are, and what you think future regulations might look like. For small-time NFT investors, though, let’s hope it reduces their odds of getting rugged.
The Department of Justice’s press release about the charges.
Victims of the Frosties rug pull created their own NFT project to try and recoup some of their losses.
🎵 Music to our ears 👂
Sounds rare 😲
Art of the Matter 🎙
On Monday, March 28 we’re hosting the third installment of our weekly Twitter Spaces called “Art of the Matter” where we speak to notable artists in the NFT space.
This time around hosts Jessica Angel and Craig Wilson will be joined by two NFT heavy-hitters and bonafide OGs: Joe Looney and RareScrilla. They’ll be talking about RarePepes, the early days of NFTs, how the NFT space has changed, and so much more. You can set a reminder via the tweet below:
Definitely something(s) 🤔
California dreaming 🌴
On Tuesday (3/29) at 8 pm we’re having a party! Metaversal x Crypt TV present... Monster Fight Club. But you’re not really reading this, because we’re not really talking about it.
At 11 am on Wednesday (3/30) we’re co-hosting the NFT|LA Founders and Friends Brunch with CoinFund and Wincast. Who doesn’t like mid-morning mimosas and top-notch networking?
And, last but by no means least, on Thursday at 6 pm we’re hosting a painting party with the one and only FEWOCiOUS! It’s going to be messy. It’s going to be beautiful. If you’d like to attend, drop us an email.
Probably nothing 🤔
Max pain, big gains 💸
NFT pioneer XCOPY offered an open edition on Nifty Gateway on Thursday as part of his Max Pain and Friends drop. Despite only being available for 10 minutes, 7,394 editions of “Max Pain” were sold… with a sticker price of 1 ETH ($3,108), that’s a cool $22,980,552 in primary sales.
Various other pieces were available at other price points, via auctions or via a burning mechanism… and yes, they all sold like crazy, too. That’s the clout of a true OG for you. The floor on “Max Pain” is now $3,600. That’s not a massive climb, but $500 for a few minutes of work is nothing to sneeze at.
It’s called fashion, Sharon, look it up 👠
Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW), a four-day event being hosted in the Decentraland metaverse, got underway this week. The event includes runway shows, panel discussions, shopping, and afterparties… you know, just like an actual fashion week, except this time everything (apart from the attendees, hopefully) is virtual, and everyone gets a front row seat.
Participants include retailers like Selfridges and Forever 21, brands like Estée Lauder and Dolce&Gabbana, and web3 companies like Rarible and MetaLoop. With the event, Decentraland is staking a claim as a fashion-friendly platform, and given dressing avatars in its metaverse could be big business, it’s no wonder. We expect the event will become an annual one, and that this is just the beginning for fashion-focused metaverse happenings.
Enter the Mandelaverse 🪙
The late statesman Nelson Mandela remains a household name, and his brand remains a potent one. So it’s no wonder one of the (numerous) charitable foundations that bears his name is making a web3 play. The Mandela Education Programme has created what it’s called the “Mandelaverse,” and its first drop is coming in May.
That initial drop will consist of 100 digital coins, each of which will grant the holder access to a gala dinner in LA this summer, and one of which will also come with a trip for two to Johannesburg, South Africa. There are no details on pricing yet, but it’s going to be a Dutch auction and it’s set to be the first of multiple drops, so expect to hear much more about this in the months to come.
Bag boosters 💰
The week that was (March 18-25, 2022) 🗓
Apes continued to hold the top two spots this week, but Cryptopunks dropped two positions, knocked from last week’s third-place spot by Azuki and MURI by Haus. Azuki’s been on a tear in recent weeks, smashing through the psychologically important 10 ETH floor and continuing to climb, so much so that it’s now closing in on 20 ETH.
🚨 Get ready 🧩
To the moon 🌜
Diplo will be the latest star to drop a track on music NFT platform Royal.io. Tokens will start at $99 each and grant buyers a portion of the streaming revenue from a new single from the superstar DJ. The drop happens on Tuesday at 6 pm ET.
Actor Bill Murray is releasing a collection of 1,000 NFTs each chronicling a tale about his enigmatic life.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather unveiled the better-read-than-said “Mayweverse.”
And Madonna bought a Bored Ape (well, MoonPay bought one for her, which is increasingly the standard MO for celebrities looking to ape into Apes). She and simians of leisure share a manager (Guy Oseary) so it was really only a matter of time.
🪡 Thread of the week 🧵
Goats only 🐐
Whether you only buy NFT magazines and comics, or still like your reading matter printed on dead trees, you should be watching or listening to Goats and the Metaverse.
In each episode, collectibles OG and entrepreneur Stan “The Goat” Meytin and Metaversal co-founder and CEO Yossi Hasson talk about digital and IRL collectibles, NFTs, and the week’s news worth knowing. This week, they take a deep dive into Solana NFTs, look at the BAYC “leaked” pitch deck, offer their take on XCopy’s “Max Pain” drop, reveal one of their NFT flipping strategies, and unpack Time Magazine’s new NFT project. Check out the latest episode here:
Aside from providing invaluable insights into digital art and collectibles, Stan and Yossi are also putting together a collection of NFTs dubbed “The Goat Vault.” When the show hits 5,000 subscribers on YouTube, one of those lucky subscribers will win the contents of the vault which, at last count, was valued at over $83,000 (😱).
Until next time, see you in the Metaverse.