NFTs showcased another week of ‘high highs’ and ‘low lows’ this week, with the U.S. Justice Department clearly paying attention, and some high-flying NFT series sales. All-in-all, it was a week of activity a bit on the quieter side – but there was still plenty to note in the NFT space from this past week.
Let’s review these stories and more from the past seven days of NFT activity.
This Week’s Non-Fungible Token News
XCOPY NFTs Generate Nearly $25M In Sales In Short Time
Pseudonymous NFT artist XCOPY has splashed onto the scene in a major way this week, tearing up the headlines with a new NFT collection that sold over $20M worth of NFTs in less than ten minutes. XCOPY unleashed open edition mints as well as dedicated auctions, all on NFT platform Nifty Gateway. Six limited edition pieces, along with open edition ‘MAX PAIN’ were the featured drops. The ‘MAX PAIN’ piece now has over 5,000 unique owners.
XCOPY’s most recent splashing release prior to this weeks was December 2021’s “Right Click And Save As Person” piece, which yielded north of $7M.
A First: U.S. Justice Department Drops The Hammer On Two NFT Scammers
Easily the leading the controversial dialogue in the NFT space this week was the U.S. Department of Justice charging two 20-year-old individuals, Andre Llacuna and Ethan Nguyen, in a seemingly first-of-its-kind scenario. Llacuna and Nguyen have been charged with counts of wire fraud and money laundering, each charge holding a max sentence of 20 years, surrounding an NFT rug pull of a ‘Frosties’ collection earlier this year.
It’s the first time here at Bitcoinist we’ve seen NFT scammers face federal charges at this level. Llacuna and Nguyen gained north of $1M from the project, and were already cooking up another that was on it’s way to being released – ‘Embers’ – which reportedly included a $50,000 charitable donation and “community controlled wallet” in it’s roadmap.
Dialogue around this sequence of events has been interesting; on one hand, most everyone can agree that scammers in the NFT space cannot be tolerated, and run too rampant in today’s world. However, many that are ingrained in NFTs remain core to what got them there – and this idea that relying on a federal government body to serve justice in this space in a way is contradictory. Regardless of how you feel about the matter, we do live in a society – and judicial implications of one’s actions are certainly bound to happen.
WeChat ‘Drops’ NFTs – But Not In A Good Way
Chinese messaging behemoth WeChat is a force to be reckoned with in Asia, serving as a major means of communication for individuals from casual conversation to business correspondence, and everything in-between.
Chinese authorities have doubled down from past efforts to hinder crypto mining in the country, and now have removed NFT projects from the platform. As our team covered earlier this week, while mainland China has exhibited a total prohibition on cryptocurrencies, the Beijing government has not banned NFTs specifically.
ApeCoin, the new Bored Ape Yacht Club token, has been a major topic of discussion in recent weeks. This week, however, several Ape owners have been falling victim to a fake phishing site that has left their Ape in the dust - promising an animated version of their NFT, and instead leaving them high and dry. | Source: APE-USD on TradingView.com
Cool Cats Sign An Agency Deal
Cool Cats have become a staple in NFTs, and while certainly not as recognizable as Bored Apes or CryptoPunks, for anyone paying close attention to NFTs, they’ve likely heard or seen Cool Cats at some point.
If you somehow hadn’t heard of them yet, a new agency deal will be looking to change that. Cool Cats have signed an agency representation deal with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of a handful big ‘three letter’ agencies in Hollywood that have historically dominated the scene.
We’ve already seen projects like Meebits and CryptoPunks sign representation deals – what will come of it is yet to be scene. Can Cool Cats IP be integrated into film, TV, etc. without it feeling forced?
Fake Animation Phishing Site Costs Several Users Their Bored Apes
A number of different Bored Ape and Mutant Ape owners have fallen victim to the latest phishing site that claims to offer an airdrop of animated Apes. As crypto-sleuth @zachxbt states best below, regardless of whether your wallet has NFTs comprised of small unknown collections or some of the most notable, “stop connecting your wallet & approving transactions on sketchy sites.”