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How These NFT Projects Led to the Loss of 40K ETH in Their Communities

According to Rug Pull Finder’s analysis, a group of NFT projects stole more than 40,000 Ethereum (ETH) or $120 million from their community.

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The detectives believe the gangs have been employing a single method to entice consumers and steal their monies across many platforms and initiatives.

Rug Pull Finders has been investigating the actions of these NFT initiatives to try and find the suspected perpetrators of a “cash grab” scam. This is the second installment of a long investigation. Influencers, celebrities, developers, venture investors, “founders,” and about 20 NFT enterprises have all been tied to the scheme so far, according to the investigators.

Vasco Rouw and a firm named VascoGames are at the center of the alleged operations. The alleged criminals have been able to penetrate groups using these organizations to “create hype” and trap participants in the alleged scam.

The criminals abandoned the schemes once they had met their financial goals. According to Rug Pull Finder:

Vasco and his crew then bankrolled the creation of a slew of ventures, launching one after the other and draining the majority of the funds before rinsing and repeating the process.

Using Blockchain Intelligence Group software, the detectives were purportedly able to follow the crooks’ transactions. In this way, they were able to connect the many NFT initiatives that were supposedly part of the conspiracy.

The firm that developed “a substantial proportion of these projects contracts, identified in their code,” according to their analysis, was Omicron Blockchain Solutions (OBS). This entity was allegedly responsible for 90% of the following initiatives, all of which were flagged as frauds by Rug Pull Finder:

Naughty Bape Club NFT, Meta Eagle Club – GalyVerse, Shiba Social Club, Prime Ape Planet, Prime Kong Planet, Alpha Kongs Club, Trillionaire Thugs NFT, Bored Billionaires, Digital Ape Club, The SpaceBulls, Supreme Kong, BeHype, and many more.

Projects From The NFT That Are Too Good To Be True

Omicron removed several of the mentioned projects from their websites after the investigators published the initial portion of their study. Furthermore, the corporation “bragged” about making over “$60 million in NFT main sales” for its subscribers.

Rug Pull Finder was able to make the connection between Omicron and Kominos Chatzipapas. The email address of this person, who was born in Greece, was purportedly placed as the company’s contact. These allegedly fraudulent enterprises are linked to a complicated transaction network that benefits a few at the expense of the users who believe them, as seen below.

Rug Pull Finder stated the following about the potential implications for persons and businesses related to these alleged fraudulent schemes:

We’re collaborating with private intelligence groups as well as appropriate government agencies to take individuals responsible for their conduct accountable. Friends and family, if something appears too good to be true, it probably is.

At the time of writing, Ethereum is trading at $2,900, down 15% in the last seven days.

NFT

According to Music Ally, Spotify has begun testing NFTs on its platform

If a trial deployment goes well, artists may soon be allowed to market their non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on Spotify, according to Music Ally.

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Spotify, the most recent tech business to join the NFT bandwagon, entered the web3 world earlier this month with the introduction of “Spotify Island” on Roblox on May 3. Spotify will now test NFTs on the platform to specifically selected US consumers, starting with a single trial selection of artists, including Steve Aoki and The Wombats.

Users will have to purchase NFTs through an external marketplace, thus they won’t be able to sell them directly. As part of the trial, Spotify has stated that it will not take a portion of the sales.

Simultaneously, customers have stated that Spotify is sending out surveys and even paying some people to talk to team members about their feelings regarding NFTs and web3. Questions concerning sentiment, cryptocurrency purchases, and why people acquired NFTs have been circulated on Twitter. Some poster responded with mockery to the queries.

Since March, when Spotify placed two job offers for working on early-stage web3 projects, rumors have circulated that the firm was interested in entering the web3. The announcement comes only days after Meta revealed that it would begin testing digital collectibles and NFTs on Instagram as well.

By the time of publication, Spotify had not responded to a request for comment from The Block.

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Square Enix intends to issue tokens and make a significant investment in Web3 gaming

By investing in blockchain gaming infrastructure, the big game producer is altering its business strategy to include a stronger NFT environment.

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Square Enix announced in its first-quarter results report that as part of its medium-term business strategy in 2022, it will include nonfungible tokens (NFTs) into more game goods.

According to Square Enix’s most recent earnings report, the company manages $3 billion in assets. The company controls the Final Fantasy franchise, which it sold for $300 million on May 3rd.

According to the report, the company began testing NFTs in February this year on the Shi-San-Sei Million Arthur game. If the pilot program is a success, the game’s NFTs will be renewed for a second season, and the company will expand its NFT and blockchain activities.

SE wants to provide regulatory clarity and norms for blockchain gaming, address scalability in NFT economies, and consider forming a corporate capital venture unit, among the top priorities of its blockchain domain projects.

The company also announced that it intends to create an overseas organization that will be responsible for “issue, administering, and investing our own tokens,” implying that the company will begin to build a large gaming-token economy.

SE has been exploring its options in the blockchain gaming market with the help of Web3 gaming and metaverse venture capital firm Animoca Brands. As SE digs deeper into the ecosystem, collaboration between the two companies is expected to deepen.

Square Enix’s gaming clout, according to Animoca’s executive chairman Yat Siu, will only help the company establish a blockchain gaming presence. On Monday, he said to Cointelegraph,

“Square Enix has long talked about the possibilities of blockchain games, so it understands it better than most of the traditional gaming titans.”

The third objective of the report’s medium-term business strategy is to invest in and monetize blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud computing. This aligns with CEO Yosuke Matsuda’s stated desire in January to increase his company’s involvement in such technologies.

Despite a broad cryptocurrency market dip in 2022, the appeal of Web3 and NFT gaming has remained strong. On Saturday, according to market tracker DappRader, there were roughly one million daily active gamers, nearly the same as on January 1.

Gamers, on the other hand, aren’t spending as much as they used to, with total sales volume for NFT game items falling 88 percent from $70 on January 1 to $8.7 million on Saturday.

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Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation has approved a charity NFT initiative to aid military operations

On Thursday, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation, tweeted his support for Avatars for Ukraine, a non-fungible token (NFT) project that benefits Ukraine’s humanitarian and defense efforts.

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The project includes 70 digital artworks based on Ukrainian imagery and resistance to Russian forces that evolved as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war. All earnings from the sale of digital art go to support Ukrainian war efforts. The Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation has approved Avatars for Ukraine, and the first NFT will be released on May 19.

This isn’t the first time Ukrainian officials have used blockchain technology to help fund war activities. The Ukrainian government opened a website in April this year where people could purchase and trade NFTs to support Ukraine’s military efforts, as well as raise over $100 million in crypto donations.

Avatars for Ukraine also joins a growing trend of NFT projects assisting in the donation of monies to charity, with some or all of the proceeds of NFT art going directly to the charity.

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