Non-Fungible Thursdays: What Happened in NFTs This Week? [Mar. 31, 2022]
NFTs

Non-Fungible Thursdays: What Happened in NFTs This Week? [Mar. 31, 2022]

6 months ago

CoinMarketCap and Nansen look at some of the most exciting events in the NFT space — from Cool Cats signing a deal with a Hollywood agency, to Madonna entering the metaverse with a Bored Ape.

Non-Fungible Thursdays: What Happened in NFTs This Week? [Mar. 31, 2022]

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Ukraine’s NFT museum showcasing events from its ongoing war with Russia has gone live. And of course, the Queen of Pop, Madonna has finally grabbed her own Bored Ape for over $500k.

Here’s a rundown of some of the top stories in the non-fungible token (NFT) scenes over the past week.

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NFTs Largely Trading Sideways Over the Past 7 Days

First, a look at the overall NFT market. Using Nansen’s NFT-500 index as the gauge for the NFT market, we see that the overall NFT market looks to be moving sideways after having a strong move up the previous week.

However, there’s always a bull market somewhere and certain collections have made strong moves the past week. Azuki’s floor is up 26% the last 7 days, and an impressive 58% the past month. Nansen’s NFT index and various NFT dashboards are available for free if you sign up for a Nansen Lite account.

ICYMI, Nansen is giving away “WAGMI” caps to a couple of lucky winners. All you have to do is follow the instructions in their tweet here.

Hackers Siphon $625M From Ronin, the Blockchain Behind Popular NFT Game Axie Infinity

On March 23, hackers broke into Ronin, the blockchain behind the extremely popular play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, and stole roughly $625 million worth of cryptocurrencies. But surprisingly, the security breach was not noticed until Tuesday, according to an explanation posted online by the Ronin Network.
The attackers made away with 1763,600 ETH (around $600 million) and 25.5 million in USDC stablecoin. Upon discovery, Ronin and Axie Infinity operator Sky Mavis moved to freeze transactions on the Ronin bridge, which facilitates deposits and withdrawals from the company’s blockchain.
As for the hackers, data on Etherscan shows that the funds have not been moved since it was stolen. Attempts are, however, being made to move tiny amounts in several transactions. Taking a look at Nansen’s wallet profiler, we can see that the hackers have set up multiple wallets and have sent a portion of the amount hacked to various other wallets.
One wallet belonging to the hacker has sent 1.22K ETH over to FTX.

Investigations reveal that the hackers were able to hijack five out of nine validator nodes on the network. This allowed them to withdraw large amounts of funds unnoticed. Ronin explained:

“Sky Mavis’ Ronin chain currently consists of 9 validator nodes. In order to recognize a Deposit event or a Withdrawal event, five out of the nine validator signatures are needed. The attacker managed to get control over Sky Mavis’s four Ronin Validators and a third-party validator run by Axie DAO […] The validator key scheme is set up to be decentralized so that it limits an attack vector, similar to this one, but the attacker found a backdoor through our gas-free RPC node, which they abused to get the signature for the Axie DAO validator.

NFT LA, the Largest Gathering of NFT Builders and Enthusiasts, Goes Live This Week

Earlier this week, the largest gathering of NFT players ever to hit the American West Coast went live. NFT LA is an integrated conference experience that fuses in-real-life experiences with “immersive metaverse” integrations, in addition to the opportunity to explore LA’s robust nightlife.

The event, which is scheduled to run from March 28 – 31, features some of the most notable players in the scenes, including top artists and entertainers. Among the star-studded list of more than 200 speakers are shark tank billionaire Mark Cuban, celebrity DJ Steve Aoki, co-founder and chairman of Animoca Brands Yat Siu, and Avery Akkineni, the president of Gary Vaynerchuk’s Vayner NFT.

Eathan Janney, one of the speakers and co-host of Edge of NFT, said:

“It’s more than just exciting that so many bright personalities and thinkers in both entertainment and Web3 innovation are coming together for this event – it’s also critical that we use this unique venue provided by the people behind NFT LA to exchange idea so we can build a world that can benefit from advances in digital-asset technology like NFTs.”

The four-day event will feature music, entertainment, parties, and of course NFT-related discussion. There will be performances by musical sensations like Sir Mix-a-Lot, the rap star of Baby Got Back.

More than 3,000 people are expected to attend the event, which is expected to be the largest of its kind ever held in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Jeff Kelley, Edge Co-Founder, said the goal was to bring NFTs to a much wider audience.

“A key theme here is to bring the energy of NFTs to a broader audience – doing so in a way that reflects the utility of this groundbreaking technology by getting industry leaders and prominent influencers together to elevate ideas that can help transform entertainment in a way that is more beneficial to both users and consumers.”

Ukraine Makes Real its NFT Museum of War

In mid-March, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation Alex Bornyakov told reporters that the government would tap on NFTs to tell the story of Russia’s invasion. With the battle still lingering on, Bornyakov announced the launch of the Meta History Museum of War last week.
“We're building Meta History: Museum of War. Never Forget This. 100% of raised funds are sent to @mintsyfra wallets for the support of Ukrainian army and civilians. We can't let these events be forgotten.”

The museum, which features only NFTs, chronicles the events in the war between both nations, including personal reflections from digital artists from across the globe. Tweets from politicians, news sources and government departments are accompanied by pieces of artwork. The collection has been dubbed "the first-ever government-backed NFT," and a statement added:

"Looking back at the developments and horror that took the world by surprise last month, the importance of transparency and information has become obvious. Censorship, misinformation and miscommunication lie at the heart of every media-driven campaign, with real impact on the life of civilians suffering the consequences of the day-to-day under armed conflict."

For a start, NFTs documenting the first three days of the invasion (from Feb. 24-26) will be sold on March 30. More NFTs from the “Warline” collection, priced at 0.15 ETH (around $500), will be up for sale shortly after.

Interestingly, the NFTs will remain unrevealed until after purchase. This means that buyers will have no clue of what they are paying for until they’ve purchased it. The museum clearly states that "you unveil the truth buying MetaHistory."

As already mentioned in the museum’s tweet, proceeds from the sales would go directly to the official crypto accounts of the Ministry of Digital Transformation. Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov added that the new platform was a "place to keep the memory of war" and "celebrate Ukrainian identity and freedom."
Ukraine has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of crypto donations since the Russian invasion began. Data from analytics website Merkle Science puts the figure at over $100 million, with the majority going directly to the Ukrainian government. Earlier this month, an NFT depicting the Ukrainian flag raised $6.75 million.

Cool Cats NFT Signs With CAA in Latest Licensing Push

Over the past few months, there has been a lot of romance between the NFT industry and Hollywood. For instance, in January, the popular World of Women NFT collection signed veteran music executive Guy Oseary to represent it across other media formats, including television, film, music, consumer products and video games. Another NFT collection has jumped on the bandwagon.
Following the lead of others like Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks, Ethereum NFT project Cool Cats has signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to explore potential merchandising and licensing opportunities, such as brand deals, animated content, publishing and events. Artist Colin “Clon” Egan told The Hollywood Reporter:
“The world that we’re building is full of imagination and full of just things to explore […] It’s going to be more of an experience, rather than just a JPEG.”
Launched in July 2021, the Cool Cats collection features 9,999 NFT images. The popularity of the collectibles peaked last fall following a single sale of more than $1.1 million worth of ETH, along with a partnership with Time magazine. As per data from CryptoSlam, the collection has recorded about $318 million in secondary trading volume to date.

Some notable Cool Cats holders include Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, actress Reese Witherspoon and celebrity DJ Steve Aoki.

Looking at dashboards on Nansen, we see that the top balances holding cool cats have continued to hold on to their NFTs over the past 2 months.

74% of the NFTs have been held for at least 90 days and unique addresses are at all time highs of 5,379 addresses.

Onemandao.eth tops the profit leaderboards with 573 ETH in profits but Via_1 who comes in second has made a staggering 16,573% in profit.

Although holders have the right to use their NFT images for various commercial purposes, including merchandise, the creators of Cool Cats hold the overall intellectual property.

XCOPY’s Open-Edition NFTs Sell Out in 10 Minutes, Rake in $23M

Digital artwork from pseudonymous crypto artist XCOPY has grown to become grail pieces in the NFT world, with some single-edition pieces selling for several million dollars. Last week, the artist released a more affordable open edition, which sold out in a few minutes.

On Thursday, Nifty Gateway launched an open edition sale for XCOPY’s Max Pain NFT. The collection of animated skull-like artwork featuring XCOPY’s trademark glitchy aesthetic sold out within 10 minutes at a price of $3,108 apiece. The collection of 7,394 collectibles raked in around $23 million.
“Well that was quite intense,” XCOPY tweeted soon after.

XCOPY is undoubtedly one of the most successful artists in the NFT space, having recorded about $25 billion worth of total trading volume in 2021. The artist is known for his single-edition, 1-of-1 pieces.

Celebrity Chefs Debut NFT Collection Targeting Web3 Culinary Community

Over the past week, Tom Colicchio and Spike Mendelsohn made their first foray into the world of NFTs with the launch of CHFTY Pizzas. The celebrity chefs are looking to build a Web3 community around cooking.
Speaking to reporters, the duo said that the inspiration came following the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the restaurant industry. In the United States, for example, about 110,000 restaurants were forced to shut down due to the pandemic. According to Mendelsohn, who is behind restaurants like The Pizza and PLNT Burger, it has been “a struggle to survive.”
“Our industry was looking at how to reach consumers at their homes, because people couldn’t come to the restaurants anymore. I felt very left behind in the Web2 world, where we were forced to rely on third-party delivery systems like UberEats and GrubHub.”

CHFTY Pizzas is a collection of 2,777 profile pictures depicting an anthropomorphized pizza slice. The tokens were sold for 0.07 ETH or $210.

Holders will have access to a Discord community of notable chefs like Cat Cora, Rocco DiSpirito, Jeff Mauro, Top Chef winner Kristen Kish and Andrew Zimmern. The NFTs will also unlock other future perks such as live events and streaming classes from the chefs.

Interestingly, a portion of the mint and secondary sales will go to Big Green DAO, a food-focused decentralized autonomous organization recently launched by Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal Musk.

While the collection generated a level of interest in the first 2-3 days after launching, volume has dropped significantly. At its peak, the collection had 728 transactions and 609 unique buyers but only had 18 transactions and 14 unique buyers on 30 March.

US Officials Nab NFT Creators Over ‘Rug Pull’

Given the anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies, it is quite easy to trick investors into parting with their cash and then vanishing into thin air. There have been a number of high-profile rug pulls in the NFT space, even from known celebrities. But thankfully, the long arm of the law has caught up with the alleged creators of Frosties, a well-known “rug pull.”
The United States Department of Justice has charged the supposed founders of Frosties, a pair of 20-year-olds, Ethan Nguyen and Andre Llacuna, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The duo are the alleged creators of the NFT project that ran away with about $1.1 million worth of ETH following its mint in January. Shortly after the 8,888 NFTs were minted, the team closed down the project’s Discord channel and vanished with the funds.
Frosties, which minted at around $112 in January, are now sitting at just 0.001 ETH (about $3) on the OpenSea secondary market.

The case against Nguyen and Llacuna has set a precedent in the NFT space as this is the first known case of the Department of Justice relating to an NFT crime. U.S. attorney Damian Williams, in a release, said:

“NFTs have been around for several years, but recently mainstream interest has skyrocketed. Where there is money to be made, fraudsters will look for ways to steal it […] As we allege, Mr. Nguyen and Mr. Llacuna promised investors the benefits of the Frosties NFTs, but when it sold out, they pulled the rug out from under the victims, almost immediately shutting down the website and transferring the money […] Our job as prosecutors and law enforcement is to protect investors from swindlers looking for a payday.”
According to prosecutors, the founders were nabbed in Los Angeles and were already concluding plans to launch another malicious project called Embers.

Embers is an ETH-based NFT collection featuring 5,555 profile pictures. The collectibles were scheduled to launch around March 26 and would have generated more than $1.5 million worth of ETH for the scammers if they had sold out.

Nguyen and Llacuna have each been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in addition to conspiracy to commit money laundering. They could spend up to 20 years in prison for each offense.

Queen of Pop Madonna Buys Bored Ape for $564K

With many celebrities thronging to own a Bored Ape, the ‘Queen of Pop,’ Madonna, has joined the bandwagon. The popular singer and songwriter purchased Bored Ape #4988 for 180 ETH or $564k last week.

Madonna announced the purchase via an Instagram post on March 25, adding that:

Meanwhile, fans have gone agog following the announcement, with many suggesting names for her newly acquired BAYC NFT. One user wrote:

“This is cute, I like it. Btw, isn’t Evil Eye just a superstition? Noone is evil by nature. I would name her Pinky.”
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