I vant to suck your Bitcoin


February 17, 2022

As a counterculture publication, we’re partial to the underdoges. So we’re dedicating today to the usurpers: the NFT platform that outperformed OpenSea’s monthly volume, the PFP collection that beat out the Bored Apes, and the sovereign states cosigning crypto, for better/worse. Here’s everything it takes to be important on the Internet these days.

Chad & El Prof


$40,976.00 | -7.15%

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$94.38 | -8.19%

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$0.00002882 | -6.36%

$3.70 | -9.35%

(Price changes reflect past 24 hours as of 2.17.22 @ 4:20 PM EST.)

  • Apparently ‘inflation proof’ — as Bitcoin was designed to be — just means so volatile it’s hard to peg to anything. Despite a brief resurgence, BTC is back down by $5k from last Thursday in the wake of inflation, supply chains, Russia re: Ukraine, or maybe just being in vogue Internet gold valued arbitrarily. 

I vant to suck your Bitcoin

Image: somewhere in the Balkans

Last week, life took a further turn toward live action MMORPG, as I learned ‘vampire attacks’ are now a real thing. The former WoD player in me got a little less excited when I discovered they’re not exactly what they sound like, but still. As business strategy goes, it beats most of the buzzwords they throw around on Succession.

Basically, vampire attacks are a web3 phenomenon, in which companies undercut competitors by offering crypto incentives explicitly designed to lure over their target’s users. For example, LooksRare, an NFT marketplace in the vein of OpenSea, tripled the latter’s monthly volume in January by airdropping its ICO, $LOOKS tokens, to major NFT artists, in exchange for listing on the new platform. Then, once a strong floor value had been established, LooksRare offered free tokens to all users as a reward for selling on the platform.

According to a Coinbase analysis, this strategy created a company that can double OpenSea’s daily volume, all the while attracting a mere fraction of their users. But what this really means is that most of said ‘volume’ is probably the same collectors with significant crypto capital at their command gaming the system. If they trade their own NFTs back and forth between their own wallets, they can indefinitely generate free $LOOKS tokens. Granted, the ETH spent on gas fees would cancel out the immediate gains. But they may be betting on a higher return on investment from the newer token, which would make sense, considering it sat comfortably last Friday at over 500% APR.

Its perch is looking a little less comfortable, though, as of a few days ago, when the anonymous team behind LooksRare cashed out $30m in unattributed $LOOKS, leading to a 20% drop in the token’s value and some good old rugpull panic. (The ‘bank run’ of 2022.) My day one H0Rs would’ve known better than to trust a bitch called ‘anonymous team’, but free money always beats out logic, especially on web3. 

If, however, you do undervalue rational thinking, and missed the week-long $LOOKS gold rush, you’re in luck. Yet another vampire with an OpenSea bloodlust emerged on Wednesday. x2y2, an NFT marketplace, is airdropping its ICO, $X2Y2, to OpenSea users in exchange for listing on the new platform. A little redundant? Sure. But folklore is, by definition, derivative. Meet one bogeyman and you’ve seen them all.

And, indeed, the x2y2 airdrop is currently on pause, after recipients observed a clause in the contract leaving their NFTs vulnerable to theft. The team ‘provided proof’ of ‘revoking its ability to drain user wallets’, which sounds to me like Nosferatu pinky swearing he kicked the old bloodsucking habit for good, but it hasn’t kept amateur investors from pouring money into the new token in the hopes of another 500% pump.

The risk tolerant among you might be willing to wade into the red sea to ride the inevitable wave tomorrow when the airdrop unfreezes. But to paraphrase another paranormal enthusiast, reader beware… we warned you not to play with pointy sticks. 

I need this on a t-shirt

Image: cultr_h0r meme gods

Sorry for including that walking body horror trigger warning in a column called ‘Art’. Sometimes it’s worth going to extremes to make a point. Like why the Azuki NFTs, in a mere month, beat out Bored Ape Yacht Club in trading volume with an ahegao-inducing $300m and landed as spot as the 8th bestselling collection of all time. Forbes recently ran a piece attempting to answer that question, but the only explanation they could muster was… they’re cooler? I guess?

At the risk of dumbing art down into a completely subjective binary, I’ve gotta say, it’s true. I mean, sure, all Azuki has done is swap BAYC’s ‘furry fetish snuff porn’ vibe for a ‘softcore hentai thirst trap’ aesthetic. But, like, if both are just arbitrary status symbols anyway, wouldn’t you rather show a screenshot of a sexy bamboo-cheefing punk samurai than some Cronenberg concept art scraped off the cutting room floor when your parents ask why you just spent $40k on a JPG?

Besides, art collecting and appreciation is a completely subjective binary. Either you like something or you don’t. If you like it, you’ll buy it — figuratively, as a concept you can get behind, or literally, as a jumble of code allowing it to show up in a gallery on your phone. Or, if you don’t, you won’t. The Metaverse is 1s and 0s all the way down.

Sure, NFTs are all about ownership and access and libertarian utopias et al — although, for what it’s worth, Azuki’s community building ambitions are tame in comparison to most of these PFP projects. According to their roadmap, they’re in the brand building business. So, basically, they set out to build something cool people would buy. (Or buy into.) And, whether or not you personally do, objectively, they did. In the algotrash-dominated world of art3, it’s nice to know aesthetics still count for something.

But, while we’re on the topic of cool shit and subjectivity, I’ll just leave this here:

Be a sn0b.™

The good fiat

Image: @TheDAOMaker

Now for some geopolitics. Let’s all exhale from upward dog into child’s pose.

  • After legalizing cryptocurrency last year, Ukraine has received an influx of Bitcoin donations in the wake of the looming threat of Russian invasion. Much of it has been deployed on military fortifications, raising some red flags on the ease with which war can now be crowdfunded. However, the ability to bypass financial blockades with a confiscation-proof currency provokes optimism for those who’d prefer not to see another Great Purge.
  • Coinbase is allowing Mexican immigrants to send remittances across the border without a fee. The waive is only temporary, as they pilot the service, but fees are expected to remain far lower than normal cash out or transfer fees when they start up in April. This is a significant step toward realizing blockchain technology’s potential from a major player in the space and I have nothing snarky to say about it. 
  • The Republic of the Marshall Islands recently became the first sovereign state to recognize DAOs as legal entities, for which I have plenty of snark saved. (Like how a country considered a lucrative offshore tax haven is a perfect fit for providing legal protection to the latest rebrand of Ponzi schemes, or how passing a law granting DAOs the same privileges as LLCs might imply the alignment of incentives between liability-shirking corporations and these so-called paragons of decentralized autonomy.) But I’m not a snarky person. So I’ll leave it be.

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