Turned turtles.

el Prof

October 14, 2021

In a relatively light day of news in the crypto space, we still got to cover two very different political statements NFTs were used to make. So, if you hate oppression and believe in equal rights for low effort digital turtle drawings and an entire sexual orientation, keep reading. Here’s everything important on the Internet, in one email.

Chad & El Prof

Turned turtles.

Image: DAO Turtles

Fearing a rugpull, OpenSea jumped the gun and pulled the rug itself on DAO Turtles, a sold-out PFP collection of 10,000 pixel art terrapins. The company cited a violation of terms of service as impetus for the move, perhaps due to the DAO’s promise to pay a future percentage of profits to holders. But turtle owners suspect the motivations are more personal. Christ… I can’t believe these are real sentences I get paid to write.

@guy_texan tweeted a timeline of the story. Members of the DAO Turtles Discord had apparently been making memes about the project, which they’d already bought into, being a rugpull. (Because it’s dank? IDK. I’m sadly no longer a Kid These Days.) An employee of OpenSea who owned some of the collection’s NFTs dumped them. Then, soon after, the company announced a freeze on trading DAO Turtles, without explanation. I’m not one for snap judgements, but the whole thing does seem fishy.

We’ve mentioned these scams quite a bit the past week. So what is a rugpull? In short, crypto fraud. Anonymous developers generate hype and capital for a project then take the money and run — or, since virtual cardio has yet to take off, empty their account and log off. (Famous practitioners include BAYC ripoffs and Lil Uzi Vert.)

OpenSea is infamously ill-equipped to protect against scams, with the platform’s ample bugs at times facilitating them. And comments alleging ‘insider trading’ make sense when you consider the OS Head of Product was accused just last month of the same thing. SEC regulation is practically nonexistent in the NFT space, so employees buying drops before they’re even listed — and inevitably promoted out the ass by the company they work for — isn’t actually illegal. It wasn’t even until after the accusations went public that OpenSea instated a policy on this. All in all, a healthy reminder that this space is as dangerous to operate in as it is potentially profitable.

Anyway, DAO Turtles responded by dropping Jail Turtles, a collection of the same turtles now behind pixelated bars that ‘gives tribute to DAO Turtles being oppressed and highlights the issue of OpenSea being completely centralized.’ Civil disobedience has never been lower effort. I guess why bother? Slow and steady still wins the race.

Do be a pussy.

Image: Pussy Riot / OpenSea

I’ve had enough of negativity for one week, so instead of 3 Duds & A Stud, today it’s just the one best discovery — cute trippy 2. This adorable alien anarchist is from a series by the musical group Pussy Riot and went for 10eth last Friday. ($36k today.)

Their ACAB Collection — All Cops Are Bastards for you n00bs — is a series of cute hand-drawn animations plastered over the 333 pages of court filings from the ‘hooligan’ charges faced by the group for unlawfully playing their music in a church. (Or, rather, living while lesbian under Putin.)

With a name like Pussy Riot, it’s clear they intended shit to be stirred, but only because it needs to be. They’re a group of a dozen or so female musicians slash performance artists who for the better part of the last decade have been fighting for women’s and LGBTQ rights in Russia, which sounds like a recipe for Siberian exile to me, so I’m glad to know they’re alive and well and making bank off napkin doodles of knuckle dusters and fascist-eating, Batman-villain-colored Pomeranians.

I love the way the use cases for NFTs are expanding — I’ve seen them used as fundraising mechanisms for digital communities, startups, charities, and now political revolutions. Unfortunately, as much as I love to see it personally, this may very well be the nail in the coffin for the unregulated Wild Wild West 3.0.

I mean. Financial freedom to the commoners? When has that ever ended civilly?

Me walking into a new crypto community.

Image: Giphy

Do you love reading? NFTs? No? Well how about the Hunger Games?

We covered Mirror.xyz — the blockchain answer to Medium — briefly in our previous issue. But we forgot the best thing about it, which also happens to be the worst thing to happen to writers since fan fiction. Every week, Mirror holds the $WRITE RACE. Basically, you write a paragraph about how you plan to use the platform, then the existing users vote up their favorite ones. The top 10 use cases are given a $WRITE token to redeem for membership, a custom domain, and ‘future benefits’ — presumably a bow and arrow or some sweet poison mushrooms.

The rest are thrown back to the Muttations.

Look. I’m all for slaughter of children as long as it generates entertainment. And I’m all for competition among artists as long as it generates great art. (Without the best of both worlds, we’d never have gotten The Story of Adidon.) But so far, the gems coming out of the $WRITE RACE are not inspiring much confidence:

  • ‘We are making the best magazine ever.’ (Sure. Like Girls & Corpses doesn’t already exist.)

  • ‘Article on why hype is bad for consumer startups.’ (Ever heard of Muck Rack?)

  • ‘I want to write about NFT art from an art perspective, vs. a crypto perspective!’ (Yeah okay buddy. Join the club.)

  • ‘Yeah I want to use Mirror write something.’ (Nice! Honesty for once.)

  • ‘Please free me from this hell. My family misses me.’

Never mind. That last one’s actually pretty great. I take it all back. The future of writing is in safe hands.

Battle on the high seas.

Image: Coinbase

Another OpenSea alternative to add to Tuesday’s list is on the horizon — Coinbase announced its own NFT marketplace this week. Its reported focus will be on user experience while still supporting public smart contracts and decentralized hosting.

What a unique cutting edge idea no one else had first.

Either way, it may be too little too late, for all of the above — OpenSea boasts a 97% market share and moved well over twice the GMV of Etsy in the past three months. The article to first report those facts is worth a read as a counterpoint to ours. It is in essence a business plan, reverse-engineered, laying out the vulnerabilities, competitors, and history of OpenSea, positioning the dominant company in the space as a scrappy startup to watch. Only on Web 3.0 could both be true.


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