The 15 Weirdest Crypto Stories of 2022
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The 15 Weirdest Crypto Stories of 2022

Created 1yr ago, last updated 1yr ago

If you haven't had to go back and read, view or watch something over again not once but several times this year while staring in disbelief, you haven't been paying attention.

The 15 Weirdest Crypto Stories of 2022

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It's a fairly safe bet that crypto will have more than a little weirdness going on at any one time, and this year was no exception.

What were the 50 biggest crypto stories of 2022? You decide!

From Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg's 90s-quality metaverse selfie that arguably knocked tens of billions off its stock price — to Donald Trump's six-pack packing NFT collection and the Chief Twit's sink — it's been a year with plenty of open-mouthed stare-worthy events.

Without further ado, here are 15 of our favorites:

15. Miami Nightclubs Miss the Crypto Bros

Because nothing says "solid business plan" like the willingness to rent out a nightclub for $500,000, you'll be shocked to hear that Miami club owners told the Financial Times miss the glory days of 2021 crypto "entrepreneurs" who'd order "12 or 24 bottles of the most expensive champagne and just showering themselves without even drinking," just to "show that they didn't have any limits."

14. Trust Me, I'm An Actor

In the "some people need to calm the heck down" category, there were some ruffled feathers over a — very successful — Investomania ad campaign by the Securities and Exchange Commission that took aim at meme stocks and crypto. Which were focused, notably, on the importance of doing your own research, which is second only to "Not your keys, not you coins" in the pantheon of things crypto community members like to tell people new to the industry.

For example, @unusual_whales said on Twitter:

"It seems to trivialize millions of retail investors, seemingly diminishes one of the most important market movements of 2021, and appears to poke fun at millions of average people joining the market. Ouch."

One game show-themed version has a contestant choosing among categories that include stock tips from your uncle, FOMO, crypto to the moon, and guaranteed returns. She chooses "celebrity endorsements" which brings up a celebrity who says: "You should buy crypto. Trust me. I'm an actor."

13. Vitalik the Alien Crackhead

No one has ever accused Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin of looking entirely normal. So maybe it wasn't entirely out of the blue when, in January, he turned to Twitter for examples of "the craziest and most unhinged criticisms" of him that the crypto community had seen. His examples to kick it off: He "looks like a Bond villain" and "an alien crackhead," was told "the most positive part of Vitalik going to jail is he will finally get three square meals a day."

Another posted an old Buterin website bio claiming that his belief in the need for decentralized systems came from his days playing World of Warcraft after Blizzard nerfed his "beloved warlock's Siphon Life spell." He added:

"I cried myself to sleep, and on that day I realized what horrors centralized services can bring."

12. Tornado Dusting

When the U.S. Treasury Department has been forced to publicly announce it won't press charges against a bunch of celebrities, you know you've done your trolling right. That announcement, in mid-September, came about a month after a user of the Tornado Cash mixing service decided to protest the U.S. decision to impose sanctions on the DeFi project aimed at making it impossible to trace cryptocurrencies. Which North Korean hackers had been doing in their quest to fund nuclear weapons programs on the backs of crypto investors.
The trolling was accomplished by using Tornado Cash to send small sums — 0.1 ETH — to a group of crypto celebrities with known addresses like Logan Paul, Beeple, Randi Zuckerberg and Jimmy Fallon. By dusting the celebrities it drew attention to the sanctions, which were the first ever of computer code rather than a person or business, which has led to a legal challenge.

Seeing as it's not possible to block a cryptocurrency transaction — and Americans are required to block transactions from sanctioned sources — the "dusting" attack left the recipients in violation of the law. The Treasury said, yes, the celebrities would have comply by filing reports, but that it would "not prioritize enforcement" of delays in that reporting by the dusted individuals.

11. "Are You Guys Into Crypto????"

Kim Kardashian learned the hard way in October that saying "This is not financial advice" before "But sharing what my friends just told me about the Ethereum Max Token" doesn't actually cut it when it comes to endorsing securities.

Nor does slapping #ad at the end of a list of seven project-specific hashtags after telling her followers that "a few minutes ago, the E-Max developers burned 400 trillion EMAX, literally 50% of their admin wallet giving back to the entire E-Max Community."

Securities endorsers must specify how much they've been paid, among other things.

10. Let's Go Brandon Coin

Crash and burn doesn't really do the Let's Go Brandon Coin (LETSGO) justice. In NASCAR terms, it's more, smash into a wall, go airborne, flip three times and collapse in a flaming heap that takes another car out with it. Now essentially dead and valueless.

A MAGA-themed memecoin, LETSGO was named for the moment when NBC's Kelli Stavast reportedly misunderstood a crowd — very clearly — chanting "F*** Joe Biden" as "Let's Go Brandon" while interviewing driver Brandon Brown after a victory. Picked up by Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron Desantis and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as a vaguely subtle way to flip off the president, it turned into a meme before a cryptocurrency.

The coin rose when Brown announced it would be a sponsor logo on his car, then dropped a few days later when NASCAR said no. But it got extra attention when the dumpster fire that is one-term North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn was fined $15,000 by the Congress for promoting the cryptocurrency after having invested in it.

9. Seth Green's Bored Ape

You'd have thought Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFTs had pretty much gotten as much hype as they were going to, but then in May it came out that comedian and actor Seth Green was planning to use BAYC #8398 — Fred — as the star of an otherwise live-action TV show.

It is set in and named for New York City's White Horse Tavern — a West Village watering hole famous as a literary watering hole for the likes of James Baldwin, Anais Nin, Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Bob Dylan, and Jim Morrison. And Dylan Thomas, who — the story goes — drank 18 shots, fell unconscious on the sidewalk, and died a few days later in the hospital.

At any rate, Green was phished into connecting his digital wallet to a scam website. Six-figure loss aside, speculation started growing that the IP rights that came with the Ape were loose enough that Green might not have all the rights needed for the show. And while a number of lawyers were derisive of the idea that someone had IP rights to stolen property, Green ended up buying his own property back from @DarkWing84 — who claimed to have bought it not knowing it was stolen — for an eye-watering 165 ETH.

8. It Took You How Long?

It isn't so much that exchange accidentally sent $10.5 million to a customer requesting a $100 refund. Yeah, it's bad, and no doubt someone's head rolled, but mistakes happen — even an employee entering the bank account number in the payment field on the form. It's more the not noticing for seven months part.

By that time, Thevamanogari Manivel had bought herself a mansion, given lavish gifts and — more problematically — sent a large chunk to her sister in Malaysia. Who was not replying to the exchange's Australian solicitors. Manivel was ordered to repay the money she'd spent, with interest.

7. It Took You *How* Long?

When North Korean hackers drained $625 million worth of ETH and USDC from Axie Infinity's Ronin Network bridge, it was the largest-ever crypto hack measured by the value of the stolen tokens at the time. Which does kind of make you think that someone would have noticed it before six days had elapsed. And a whole lot of it had vanished into the Tornado Cash mixer by then. Which led to the mixing service being placed under U.S. sanctions and the DeFi project's developer arrested in the Netherlands.

6. Mike Novogratz's LUNAcy

On Jan. 5, Galaxy Digital crypto investment firm CEO Mike Novogratz showed off his new LUNA tattoo, celebrating his investment in — and faith in — the UST algorithmic stablecoin, which maintained its dollar peg via an incentivized arbitrage algorithm using partner token LUNA.

On May 19, one week after the two-token ecosystem failed in a $48 billion collapse, Novogratz wrote in a shareholder letter that the ink on his left shoulder "will be a constant reminder that venture investing requires humility." And the ability to withstand a $300 million write-off.

5. Everything SBF Has Said Publicly Since Nov. 2

There's way, way too much weirdness to cover here in the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried's crypto empire since it was discovered that his FTX exchange was allegedly illegally funneling billions of dollars of its customers' funds to his Alameda Research trading company, which lost it. He gave a series of high-profile interviews which came down to claiming he was oblivious and incompetent, not crooked.

Among the gems:

He didn't notice the giant bad bets being made by Alameda's traders because:

  1. He was distracted by fame
  2. He was too busy with FTX to pay any attention to Alameda
  3. He completely ignored risk management
  4. The FTX dashboards he was looking at "substantially under-display the size" of Alameda's bets which is why he "was incorrect on Alameda balances on FTX by a fairly large number, an embarrassingly large one…. It was because of a, like, very poorly labeled accounting thing."
He is not a crook like Bernie Madoff, because there was no real, underlying business to the Madoff Ponzi scheme, but FTX was real.
"F*** regulators, they make everything worse. They don't protect customers at all."
He went from a net worth of $15.6 billion to about $100,000 in the space of a couple of weeks.

Bankman-Fried has been extradited to the U.S. Alameda CEO (and occasional girlfriend) Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang have cut a deal to testify against him, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said on Dec. 21.

Which brings us back to a question George Stephanopoulos asked Bankman-Fried on Good Morning America. Speaking of Ellison, he said:

"If she's in court and you're in court and she's under oath and you're under oath, and you're asked 'Did you know that these funds were being funneled to Alameda,' what is your answer?"

After a long pause, Bankman-Fried answered:

"I did not know that there was any improper use of customer funds."

We'll see what Ellison has to say soon enough.

4. The Chief Twit

At $44 billion, Elon Musk paid way too much for Twitter. So much so that the board, which had been talking about a poison pill to stop him, ended up suing to force him to complete the deal. Which, after waging a months-long public battle on Twitter claiming that the service was overrun with spam bots and fake accounts, he completed.

Having just spent months trashing the brand, he promptly fired half the staff and demanded the rest sign a pledge to "be extremely hardcore. This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade." Which sent hundreds more out the door with the promised severance.

He also made a big point of calling himself a "free speech absolutist" who is offering to replatform banned accounts — among them President Trump, who seems happy on his own Truth Social — and Kanye West, who was promptly re-banned for posting a swastika.

While this has alarmed civil rights organizations and regulators, it apparently did not apply to people making obvious parody accounts claiming to be Musk or a number of journalists who wrote about the banning of an account that tracks his private plane in real time — which caused outrage in some circles, notably EU politicians.
When the replatforming and the slashing of moderation staff led major global brands like Volkswagen, General Mills, and Apple to pause ads (although he later said Apple restarted them,) Musk lashed out — accusing them of kowtowing to activists and a "woke" liberal agenda, as well as threatening retaliation in the form of a "name and shame." Which is not a great way to get people to do business with you.
Beyond that, the Wall Street Journal on Nov. 29 said that his Twitter focus and right-leaning political statements lately have hurt the Tesla brand, noting that a survey found "self-identifying Democrats in particular have soured on the car maker" — which is a problem for an electric car company whose product resonates most strongly with generally left-leaning environmentally oriented buyers. Owners, however, remain loyal. As have his Dogecoin legions, who faithfully continue to push the memecoin up as the question of what Musk-owned Twitter means to crypto becomes more urgent.

3. Donald Trump's NFT Collection

The much-teased MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT turned out to be the launch of a $4.5 million collection of NFT trading cards featuring the once and would-be future President of the United States. Hawking the 45,000 trading cards featuring the 76-year-old as a laser-eyed superhero, Western marshal, astronaut and other heroic personas for $99 apiece, Trump opened a promotional video by saying:
"Hello everyone, this is Donald Trump. Hopefully your favorite President of all time. Better than Lincoln, better than Washington, with an important announcement to make. I'm doing my first official Donald Trump NFT collection right here and right now."

They sold out quickly.

But he was not the first of his family to launch an NFT. Melania launched the POTUS TRUMP NFT collection in February to celebrate her husband's presidency. She was only asking $50 apiece for those 10,000.

2. Razzlekhan

Laughter isn't generally the emotion connected with $4.5 billion crypto heists, but that's what came with the Department of Justice's Feb. 8 announcement that it had arrested a Manhattan couple for the theft of 119,754 BTC from the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange in 2016.
Specifically, after crypto got ahold of Razzlekhan, the YouTube rapper alter ego of Heather Morgan, who along with husband Ilya "Dutch" Lichtenstein, was arrested for "an alleged conspiracy to launder cryptocurrency that was stolen during the 2016 hack," the DoJ said. Prosecutors said they recovered $3.6 billion — at the BTC's value at the time of the announcement.
Morgan, we noted at the time, "went by the name Razzlekhan and rapped original songs called Versace Bedouin and called herself the "Crocodile of Wall Street."
He's in jail awaiting trial, she's out on bail with an ankle monitor.

But the really funny part? They couple were busted after blockchain tracking allegedly connected a $500 gift card purchased with some of the ill-gotten gains to an account connected to them. What store was the card that (allegedly) brought down a pair of billionaires?


1. The $44 Billion Selfie

It's hard to argue that the funny-weirdest thing that happened in 2022 was anything other than Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg's selfie. No, not the alien group selfie meme, the one set in the metaverse. The one of which PC Gamer — and metaverses are often considered games — said it "is not just bad: it is exquisitely bad. It is ironic clipart bad. It is stock-cratering, anyone-other-than-a-billionaire-CEO-would-immediately-be-fired-for-this bad."
The selfie, which quickly migrated onto Twitter, showed a Zuckerberg avatar from Meta's Horizon Worlds metaverse in front of the Eiffel Tower and Barcelona's Sagrada Familia basilica. Immediately and widely mocked even outside the tech/crypto/gaming worlds, it had "soulless" eyes and graphics CoinMarketCap (and everyone else old enough to have been gaming that long ago) described as 20 years out of date. Others argued 25. By the following week, Meta's market cap was down $44 billion.
Mind you, META stock lost $610 billion so far this year, so it's not the only problem. But the massive losses at its Reality Labs division — on track to lose $12 billion this year — have shareholders calling, loudly, for Zuckerberg to pull back on the metaverse spending. The cryptoverse would prefer that he give their avatars legs.
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