The crypto industry’s pseudonymous structure can make it impossible to know where projects come from properly—and to trust who’s behind them—as the market for NFT digital artifacts grows. For example, many NFT collectors learned the hard way this week when the developers of a well-known women-centric project acknowledged lying about their gender.
According to its Twitter page, Fame Lady Squad (FLS) is an Ethereum-based NFT collection that began in July and claims to be the “first female avatar project of all time.”
The Fame Lady Squad NFTs, allegedly made by a trio of women named Cindy, Kelda, and Andrea, were swiftly minted and picked up by collectors. A passionate fan base grew up around the project, and secondary market prices began to rise.
Even investor and social media influencer Gary Vaynerchuk—an NFT inventor and new owner of a $3.7 million CryptoPunk NFT—spoke out in support of Fame Lady Squad on Twitter. In addition, the idea was featured in a recent article in The New Yorker. So fame Lady Squad appeared to be prepared to continue gaining popularity, despite a recent increase in NFT market trade activity.
However, in recent days, doubts about the Fame Lady Squad project’s origins have grown louder. Twitter sleuths like @FedorLinnik, @dearesthaley, and @NFT Marty provided extensive Twitter threads connecting the dots between several recent NFT collectibles projects, like Cyber City Girls Club and Unicorn GG Club, that appeared to come from the same source or share creators.
Pranksy, a well-known NFT collector, said on Tuesday that after purchasing a Cyber City NFT, they “failed to perform my own research adequately” and that it was “created by a dev team that seems to be churning out a new project daily.”
“The questions here are what actually makes a [profile picture] project valuable?” Pranksy asked, adding that the crew had been “so brash” about promoting its next project, Unicorn GG Club. Are the development team, the community, and the time it took to create it worth it?”
While they are valid considerations for NFT collectors to consider, the Twitter allegations progressively pointed to project creators providing incorrect information. For example, FedorLinnik, a developer behind several crypto ventures, claimed the evidence led to a gang of Russian guys who were “mining new NFT projects like a conveyor” this spring. Instead, they seemed to be behind Fame Lady Squad as well as the other new enterprises.
Although the developers of Fame Lady Squad first resisted, citing “false accusations” and claiming rivalry from competitor NFT designers, they later dropped the ruse under mounting criticism from the collector community.
Max Rand, a developer, tweeted on Tuesday that he was one of the persons behind the Fame Lady Squad and other initiatives, along with a couple of collaborators: D Mefi, who had his Twitter account briefly removed, and another unknown associate. Rand tweeted, “Sorry for the lie. I was hesitant to say this because of [a] lot of threats on my side, my stupidity, and my lack of grasp of US market culture rules,” says the author.
The official Twitter account of the Fame Lady Squad went even further with its explanation. “Let’s be clear: Fame Lady Squad was built by a male crew, and we apologize for not disclosing this earlier. But that doesn’t mean it’s a ruse or a fraud,” the team wrote on Twitter. “We saw that there are very few female-led projects in the space. And, because we are fascinated by women’s strength, we were able to complete this successful project.”
Meanwhile, in a tweet thread, the Cyber City Girls Club NFT project—which was previously credited to a pair of Asian-American women developers—explained its own fraud.
The tweet thread began, “Sorry to everyone who had invested into our idea because it was made only by two Asian women. CCGC was founded by a group of six people, only two of whom were female. But, we’ll extend the plan and provide holders greater value. Good night!” says the narrator.
Even though the Unicorn GG Club NFT project didn’t have the same kind of significant false representation issue at its heart, the development team—including Rand and D Mefi—decided to halt sales of NFTs in the wake of the larger scandal. “I’m not trying to get away; I’m simply clearing my mind,” co-creator “Trible Penguin” tweeted from the official account. “We don’t do [expletive] rug pulls Memecoin, but I’m terrified of the bullying. So I apologize for the delay.”
The Queenship NFT project, which displays images of Black women and was reportedly made by Black women, has yet to be authenticated by the same developers. The Legendary Lady Squad Rand denied his role after Twitter rejected the connection earlier this week. The Queenship website is no longer accessible, and the project’s most recent tweets from Monday raged against rumors about its origins.
Following a recent giveaway promotion, the team behind NFT Project Bulls On the Block—which some Twitter sleuths suspected was also affiliated with the same developers—denied any relationship with the FLS founders.
A Change of Plans
To put it mildly, it’s a disaster. Collectors who bought NFTs from the Fame Lady Squad, in particular, believe they were tricked into thinking they were investing in a project made by and for an under-represented group in the crypto industry. As a result, collectors sought to panic-sell their FLS NFTs on the secondary market OpenSea yesterday, fearing waning demand amidst what appears to be an impossible road forward for the project.
The creators of Fame Lady Squad, on their part, are attempting to make amends in the form of money. Rand said that he and his partners will create a $100,000 grant fund to assist new NFT projects and artists and that it will start “soon” in “a few days,” according to Decrypt. Unicorn GG also stated that it had donated 5 ETH (about $15,700) to the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, using an Etherscan link as proof.
Disturbed by yesterday’s disclosures and the circulating charges in the days before, several prominent members of the Fame Lady Squad community began advocating for a different kind of settlement to give the project a future. In response to Rand’s confession tweet on Tuesday, noted NFT collector Artchick outlined a possible path forward.
“This is over for you,” Artchick told Rand. “If you want to do the right thing, I can broker a deal where you hand over control of your smart contract, and holders of FLS NFTs have a chance to recoup their losses and potentially thrive. After that, put the contract in the hands of the community.”
That is precisely what occurred. After submitting the matter to a Twitter vote, the Fame Lady Squad developers gave her control of the NFT project’s smart contract. Artchick then passed the contract on to “Bored Becky,” a notable FLS community member who will oversee the project with the help of other FLS members.
The developers will no longer profit from secondary sales, according to Artchick’s tweets.
When asked why his team relinquished ownership of Fame Lady Squad, Rand stated, “Because the community wanted it,” smiling. D Mefi, a co-creator, responded to a tweet defending his team’s conduct today, saying, “We didn’t screw anyone. Instead, we built a project that helped many people while also introducing many new people to the place. I understand your dissatisfaction; we apologized for our error and made good decisions to allow FLS to grow once more.”
Collectors applauded the action, and community members immediately began discussing the new road forward after secondary market prices for the NFTs soared back above levels observed before the team’s confession. However, no equivalent intentions for transferring control of the connected NFT initiatives have been revealed.
After such upsetting revelations, the Fame Lady Squad community appears to have found a happy resolution. However, it’s uncertain whether the recently established Cyber City Girls Club project can recover following this week’s news: NFTs are trading for about 0.01 ETH (about $32) on OpenSea, compared to a floor of 0.13 (roughly $420) for FLS collectibles.
Pranksy’s aforementioned tweet explored what made NFT avatar collections valuable, and as this case indicates, the claimed genesis narrative and the perceived value of artwork can be linked. Of course, it’s a subjective thing, but when that worth is built on fabrications—which isn’t helped by the anonymity of crypto—investors might be tricked and end up with NFTs that have lost a lot of their predicted value.
Not every story like this will have a happy ending.
In the Last Month, Sales of NBA Top Shots NFT Have Increased by 72 Percent
After a $305 million fundraising round in early 2021, DapperLabs’ NBA Top Shots NFTs have been gaining traction since June 2021.
Despite the current crypto market downturn, NFTs are still thriving. In January 2022, OpenSea had $3.5 billion in sales. In addition, NBA Top Shot NFTs, a Dapper Labs NFT collection, debuted in October 2020. Top Shot was created to be purchased with money. To put it another way, collectors didn’t need to understand cryptocurrencies or blockchain to acquire these NFTs.
According to CryptoSlam, Top Shot NFTs raised $53.8 million in the last 30 days, increasing 72 percent. This week, NBA star Kevin Durant starred in a new TV and social media campaign. First-time Top Shot purchasers will receive a free Durant NFT moment. In addition, Durant just became a Coinbase ambassador, while Stephen Curry joined FTX as a worldwide ambassador.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strike NFT Collectibles are Dapper Labs’ first foray into NFTs. These will primarily consist of video material from UFC events and Packs, which was released on January 23.
NFL to join the NFT party
After the current NFL season, NFL All Day will be available on the Flow Blockchain. In addition, digital video highlights will be available as NFTs. However, it’s unclear whether they’ll be as popular as the NFT Top Shots.
NBA Top Shot #16538716, which sold for $10,000 in the last 24 hours, was the most expensive Top Shot NFT sold, with $1.47 million in sales volume.
Surprising popularity of Top Shots
NFTs like the NBA TopShots haven’t gotten the same kind of attention from the crypto world as CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Meebits, and World of Women. On the other hand, Durant could be to blame for the recent sales uptick. NBA Top Shot NFTs reportedly outsold CryptoKitties, according to BeInCrypto. In the first week of June 2021, DappRadar detected over 70,000 traders purchasing or selling digital cards. Top Shot’s volume increased by 67 percent to more than $8 million at the time.
Dapper Labs secured $305 million in March 2021, with Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant among the major investors.
In October of 2020, Top Shot was released. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been paid for NBA Top Shot NFTs, and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban owns 87 “Moments” NFTs.
‘It’s Time’: NBA Top Shot Maker Dapper Labs to Launch NFT Platform for UFC
Following the UFC 270 pay-per-view event, NFTs from the Ultimate Fighting Championship will debut on Flow this weekend.
Dapper Labs announced today that it would launch an NFT platform for the popular mixed martial arts organization Ultimate Fighting Championship later this week, following its success with NBA Top Shot and subsequent arrangements with the NFL and LaLiga.
UFC Strike will premiere on Sunday, January 23, immediately following the UFC 270 live pay-per-view event on Saturday. UFC Strike’s digital collectibles, like Top Shot’s, will be based on video footage from previous events and will be minted on Dapper’s Flow blockchain. However, unlike Top Shot, the UFC collectible moments will include the original soundtrack to match the video clip.
Furthermore, rather than having different tier levels, all packs—which contain a random selection of moments—will be sold at the same price (as with NBA Top Shot). NFT moments from fighters like Francis Ngannou, Amanda Nunes, Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas, Derrick Lewis, and Justin Gaethje will be featured in the first pack.
Dapper’s contract with the UFC was signed before NBA Top Shot was out, which is interesting. According to statistics from DappRadar, the partnership was announced in February 2020, when the NFT sector was still small and niche—well before it grew to $23 billion in trading volume in 2021.
Dapper Labs’ head of partnerships, Caty Tedman, said that the company wanted to debut NBA Top Shot first and learn from the experience—which includes serious scaling issues early last year—before launching the UFC memorabilia.
She stated, “We’ve come to the stage where we feel ready to [launch].” “We’re ecstatic to provide UFC fans with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as well as the utility that comes with this type of product. We’re finally ready to launch this as the industry, and we grow together.”
Tedman stated that the UFC Strike platform would be heavily promoted during this weekend’s pay-per-view event, including appearances by UFC President Dana White and fighters.
Because the UFC’s timetable is mainly based on pay-per-view fights every few weeks, UFC Strike will plan its releases to coincide with those significant events. As a result, the portal will first focus on fights from the previous year but ultimately include highlights from older UFC fights. The first fight in the promotion took place in 1993.
Despite the roughly two-year gap between the original announcement and this week’s launch, Tedman said the UFC—which already has a crypto fan token through the Socios.com platform—was keen to make a big statement in the NFT industry.
“Every company has its personality, and the UFC’s approach is to test with us and try new things with us,” she explained. “It’s fantastic to have a partner that doesn’t say, ‘Well, let’s try it little and see how it goes,’ when you’re talking about how to launch a product. It’s like, ‘Let’s make it as huge as we can.’ ‘Let’s do it in a UFC-style fight.'”
Unlike Top Shot and the impending NFL All Day platform, UFC Strike will be released without a closed beta period to the general public. According to Tedman, Dapper is investigating live activations at future UFC events, as it has done with the NBA, and added value for UFC NFTs, such as potential community or gaming features.
Top Shot in 2022
The UFC announcement comes on the heels of NBA Top Shot’s first major commercial campaign, including Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets player and two-time NBA champion debuting yesterday.
In October, Durant and his Boardroom media group signed a deal with Dapper Labs to give him “a starring position across NBA Top Shot,” according to the company. According to Tedman, Durant, an early investor in Coinbase who has invested in other crypto firms, is familiar with the Top Shot concept.
“He’s a world-class athlete. He’s a top-tier human. He’s a tech entrepreneur,” she explained. “It’s been a long time since he’s been with us. He’s been interested in the crypto world for quite some time. Therefore, he ticks all the boxes. But isn’t he also swaggering? There’s nothing about him that wouldn’t make him a fantastic candidate for this type of campaign.”
ACCORDING TO TEDMAN, the NBA Top Shot team is “very focused on raising participation in the product and increasing accessibility” for 2022. Following the early 2021 boom in demand and Dapper’s time spent improving platform reliability and customer service, the business feels Top Shot still has substantial growth potential ahead of it.
“This sector is still in its infancy,” she explained. “There’s no such thing as ‘tried and true,'” says the author. “We’re going to attempt a lot of things, but we’re going to do a lot of things to make sure that current collectors feel valued—so they don’t feel like we’re creating an experience where they don’t feel valued.”
And NFL All Day, which Dapper promised would debut by the end of the current NFL season, is still on track to do so—for reference, Super Bowl LVI is on February 13. The NFT platform is now in closed beta testing, and given the recent nature of Dapper’s NFL partnership, Tedman said they’re concentrating on polishing it before going public.
“We’re much newer to the NFL,” she added, “in the same way that every organization has a different personality and every partnership has a different pace. So as a result, we’re taking our time with it.”
Meta’s Instagram Experimentation With NFT Marketplace
Meta, formerly Facebook, is said to be working on a feature that will allow users to display their NFT collections on Instagram.
According to the Financial Times, Meta, formerly Facebook, has new intentions to enter the fast-growing non-fungible token (NFT) market.
The Financial Times stated, citing unnamed sources, that the social media company is working on a tool that will allow users to mint and trade NFTs and display their collections on their Meta and Instagram profiles. In April 2012, Meta, formerly Facebook, paid $1 billion for Instagram.
The blockchain network on which these capabilities would be developed is still unknown. However, NFTs are currently available on several blockchains, including Solana, Tezos, Ethereum, Flow, and WAX.
According to two sources, an NFT marketplace similar to OpenSea is also in the works.
OpenSea has been a cornerstone of the burgeoning NFT industry. Despite a more significant market decline, the platform set a new monthly volume high of $3.5 billion two weeks before the end of January. According to a report by analytics firm Chainalysis, the total market for digital collectibles will reach $41 billion in 2021.
The $69 million auctions by digital artist Beeple at Christie’s, monthly million-dollar sales of CryptoPunks, and a slew of celebrities endorsing the craze in one way or another capped off a spectacular year.
This publicity has piqued the curiosity of non-crypto companies as well.
Instagram, Meta and NFTs
In December, Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, said that the company is “actively studying NFTs and how we can make them more accessible to a wider audience.”
The company organized a session for NFT makers earlier this year to raise awareness about how to use the technology. However, artists said they “need more information on how to [use NFTs], not just from us, but from other creators,” according to Instagram’s VP of global partnerships, Charles Porch.
NFTs are also expected to play a significant role in the metaverse, a persistent digital world where individuals interact through virtual avatars. Therefore, establish non-fungible ownership of objects inside a wholly digital environment.
With its latest push into NFTs, the tech industry is getting a glimpse into how Meta could implement NFTs on its platform. Facebook’s recent rebranding as Meta signaled CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s intent to move “from being Facebook first as a company to being metaverse first.” With its latest push into NFTs, the tech industry is getting a glimpse into how Meta could implement NFTs on its platform.
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