Ukraine invaded, Sotheby's punk'd, and the NFT ATM (Issue #11)
We can't believe we're only 56 days into 2022.
It’s strange to be dedicating time and energy to the world of NFTs with an unnecessary, unwarranted, and unwanted war unfolding in Europe. Ukrainians are being forced to shelter in bunkers because a conflict none of them wants has arrived on their doorstep, and thousands of Russians are protesting against the war in Moscow despite the significant risk to their own lives doing so entails. Nonetheless, when a global crisis unfolds, all corners of society get involved, and in this case, that includes those in web3.
Right, let’s get straight into it!
In the face of the inconceivable horrors taking place in Ukraine, everything else seems pretty trivial. But it’s also in times of crisis that communities pull together and show what they’re really made of, and capable of. Beyond the outpourings of support from web3 evangelists, there’ve been real and meaningful efforts and actions.
Platforms like fxhash and Versum are turning Tezos into aid money, the UkraineDAO (which counts Pussy Riot and PleasrDao among its founding members) is raising funds for Ukrainian civilian organizations, and over $400,000 in BTC was donated in 12 hours for “Come Back Alive,” an NGO that supports Ukraine’s armed forces. By this afternoon, that number had jumped to $4 million.
Meanwhile, the Russian-born co-creator and face of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, pulled no punches, tweeting the following in Russian:
“Very upset by Putin's decision to abandon the possibility of a peaceful solution to the dispute with Ukraine and go to war instead. This is a crime against the Ukrainian and Russian people. I want to wish everyone security, although I know that there will be no security. Glory to Ukraine.”
Buterin went on to add that, while Ethereum may not have political or national allegiances, the same doesn’t apply to him regardless of his heritage.
Of course, for every well-intentioned and legitimate effort to assist Ukrainians there are going to be shameless opportunists and heartless scams. Which makes the acronym DYOR even more appropriate than usual. If you’re going to support initiatives try to do due diligence on them. Be generous if you can be, but also be skeptical. A random TikTokke dropping their Venmo address may not be the best way you can turn your capital into meaningful assistance.
And if there are IRL protests or other activities you can take part in (and feel comfortable supporting), please do. Because at the end of the day real people in Ukraine are having their real lives ruined by real weapons from a real dictator. Changing that is going to take real action.
🗝 The key to happiness 😊
Probably nothing 🤔
NYC gets an NFT ATM 🏧
Solana-based NFT gallery and marketplace Neon has opened an “NFT ATM” in New York City. Fittingly, it’s in the Financial District at 29 John St. The ATM — which is really more of a vending machine — accepts debit and credit cards, along with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
The machine spits out a box with a QR code in it, that buyers then scan to redeem their purchase (limited to Party Pigeons and Colors, for now). We can’t imagine this becoming a preferred method for NFT acquisition, but it’s certainly a cute marketing gimmick to promote Neon, and one that’s going to see New Yorkers who otherwise might not dabble in NFTs doing so purely out of curiosity.
Spotify x web3 🎧
Streaming giant Spotify posted an ad for a senior backend engineer to explore web3, The Block reports. The company, which is the world’s largest audio streaming service is also looking for a senior manager, innovation and market intelligence with “expert familiarity with emerging trends, technologies, platforms and ecosystems, especially as it relates to the content, creator, media, web3, and emerging technology industries.”
As we’ve previously covered, YouTube has NFTs on its 2022 radar, Reddit is testing supporting NFTs for profile pictures (like Twitter does), and Warner Music is launching a “concert theme park” in Sandbox. In other words, this is not surprising in the least. Wen Apple Music?
Mintable to the rescue ⛑
Last weekend, some OpenSea users fell victim to a phishing attack, and the hacker managed to get away with $1.7 million in ETH and a selection of NFTs. But it wasn’t all bad news. Marketplace Mintable managed to reclaim and return some of the stolen NFTs to affected users, garnering enormous goodwill for its service in the process.
One of the biggest challenges facing the NFT sector is the danger of users getting scammed and the reputational damage every incident like this does to the sector as a whole. The better marketplaces can get at reducing opportunities for miscreants, the more people will feel safe participating.
🤔 Someone had to do it 🤯
To the moon 🌜
Though Tubby Cats collection of 20,000 PFPs sold out in short order this week (and for a time topped OpenSea by volume), the biggest buzz of the week came from Invisible Friends, which achieved outsized sales for some of its rarer pieces and which, at the time of writing, had a floor price of just under 9 ETH (~$23,500) despite being pre-reveal.
Meanwhile, CatBlox announced a partnership with Puma, which in turn changed its Twitter name to “Puma.eth” this week. NFT Worlds briefly had a floor price greater than Mutant Ape Yacht Club. And e-commerce company Rakuten launched its very own NFT marketplace. Finally, fresh on the heels of ETHDenver, Colorado’s governor announced plans to accept crypto for tax payments.
💸 Diversify that portfolio 📊
Bag boosters 💰
The week that was (Feb 18 - 25, 2022) 🗓
The last seven days saw Bored Ape Yacht club drop to the bottom of the top five projects by volume on OpenSea, with the top spot owned by 3Landers (with an incredible 18,055 ETH volume), followed by Tubby Cats, Invisible Friends, and mfers (which we dived into last week).
😷 Not the airdrop anyone wants 🤧
Punk’d by 104 Punks 🤡
A lot of 104 CryptoPunks was put up for auction at Sotheby’s, only to have the owner (Twitter user 0x650d) announce a change of heart and pull the listing at the 11th hour with the message: “nvm, decided to hodl.” The owner went on to troll Sotheby’s a few days later:
Some lauded the move as great publicity for CryptoPunks and a punk move to “rug” an institution that embodies the conventional art world many in NFTs hope to render obsolete. Others argued the move was a calculated one designed to avoid embarrassment for both parties due to a lack of interest. And still others argued the whole thing merely gave NFT more ammunition with which to attack NFT enthusiasts.
A howling shame 🐺
Howlerz, an mfer-like project in wolves’ clothing, had a much-anticipated mint today which promptly sold out all 5,000 PFPs in seconds. The official Twitter account had spent recent days promising a “stealth launch,” warning users not to let FOMO tempt them into minting from fake contracts, and encouraging would-be buyers to wait for the official signal.
When the signal did come — along with a link to the official Etherscan contract, which appears to have leaked beforehand — it was already too late for most. All 5,000 pieces were snapped up in seconds. Buyers were meant to be limited to three mints each, but Etherscan showed at least one wallet minted over 900. Twitter users expressed their outrage in no uncertain terms, but will Howlerz get punished on the secondary market? Not if the floor keeps rising.
Goats only 🐐
Whether you’ve been rugged so many times you’ve taken to wearing a helmet or you’re far too savvy for that (well look at you), 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 the duo consider the $1.7 million OpenSea phishing attack, share which projects they’re buying this week, some pro-tips on community building, and — most recently — examine the great crypto downturn of this week. 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 $58,000.
Looking for New Horizons 🔭
This week Boston’s first NFT exhibition, “New Horizons” opened at the Pellas Gallery on Newbury Street, sponsored by Metaversal. Opening night on Thursday had a line down the block and was by far the largest event the gallery has ever seen. The pieces are being showcased on hardware provided by Atomic Form, and as we were there for the launch, we can confirm they look incredible.
Almost all of the works have been sold, but we’re giving you the chance to win a white list spot where you could purchase one of the 10 incredible pieces on show. To stand a chance to make the list, all you need to do is follow @HelloMetaversal on Twitter and join the Metaversal Discord. It’s that easy. Head over here for the full Ts&Cs.
Money <> mouth 💸
Each week we’ll offer you a look at an NFT project we’ve invested in and the motivation behind it. This week we’re zooming in on Nigerian artist Osinachi’s piece “Your Turn.”
We’re huge Osinachi fans, not only because of his inventive use of color and texture, or his subtle use of animation, but because in every work he creates there’s a message. In this case, the message is simple but evocative: “This piece uses a chess puzzle as a metaphor for how decision/indecision within the constraint of time can make or mar us in life.” We’ve all been there.
🐲 Expectation vs. reality 🪱
Until next time, see you in the Metaverse.