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Investors Spent Millions on ‘Evolved Apes’ NFTs. Then They Got Scammed (vice.com)
51 points by jollybean on Oct 30, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 106 comments



> A week after the project launch, the anonymous developer known as Evil Ape who promised that game vanished along with the project’s official Twitter account and website

That's the one thing I don't understand about NFTs. Proponents claim they're supporting real artists, but so many of them are run by totally anonymous teams. The other big issue is that OpenSea has (what I assume) are non-binding bids so you can bid up your NFT. And obviously you can buy from an alt account or have an insider buy it.

I would like to see an NFT market that burns 50% of the amount with binding bids and escrow. No one like burning tokens, but that'll make it a lot more expensive to have an insider inflate your NFT

The rug pull here is also weird, because the project was a success. Sure they may have overpromised or been in over their head, but the organization and brand has at least some value. They could have sold it and not just abandoned it since they didn't owe anyone anything


I mean what is the value of having NFT's at all? Fraud and price inflation might be solvable problems, but it still seems like you have the core issue that there's no underlying value to the asset at all.

And that's not even a comment on the artistic merit of many of these, which is a farce in itself, but all you get is your name in a ledger. The work itself is just a file like any other.


> I mean what is the value of having NFT's at all? Fraud and price inflation might be solvable problems, but it still seems like you have the core issue that there's no underlying value to the asset at all.

I think the analogy to baseball cards works very well. Owning an NFT generally doesn't grant you copyrights over the underlying work of art. Owning a baseball card doesn't mean the athlete now works for you. They can both still have value as collectible items, if that's something that interests you.

The problem is when people start talking about NFTs as if it entitles the holder to ownership of the underlying thing. It's possible to own a work of art, either physically or in terms of copyrights. NFTs are neither.

When Dorsey sold an NFT of the first ever tweet, that didn't entitle the buyer to copyrights or even the ability to delete the tweet. It's purely a collectible that derives value from official endorsement and scarcity. That's not something that interests me personally, but it all seems above board. The problem is when I read Dorsey sold the first ever tweet. He did not. He sold an NFT.


Yeah I think it's quite different from baseball cards. There the authenticity of the physical item is quite a part of the value proposition. People want to own the the actual original which was part of the print run in whatever year. Reproductions have no value, and things like the physical condition of the card play a huge role.

With an NFT there's nothing besides the notion of ownership which separates the owner of the NFT from anyone else who has access to the digital asset.

I'm not saying there's nothing interesting about the notion of digital ownership, but someone would have to figure out a way for that ownership to actually mean something, which has not been achieved in the current iteration.


> There the authenticity of the physical item is quite a part of the value proposition.

It's exactly the same for NFTs. Dorsey's NFT sold for $2.9 precisely because it was 'issued' by him, and there's the implicit promise that he won't sell another NFT associated with that same tweet. If you or I tried to sell NFTs to that tweet, nothing would happen to the tweet, but we wouldn't find willing buyers.

> I'm not saying there's nothing interesting about the notion of digital ownership, but someone would have to figure out a way for that ownership to actually mean something, which has not been achieved in the current iteration.

Ownership of digital goods is the domain of copyright law.


> It's exactly the same for NFTs. Dorsey's NFT sold for $2.9 precisely because it was 'issued' by him, and there's the implicit promise that he won't sell another NFT associated with that same tweet. If you or I tried to sell NFTs to that tweet, nothing would happen to the tweet, but we wouldn't find willing buyers.

There's nothing tangible here What does the "owner" of the tweet actually have that nobody else has? It's an incredibly abstract sense of ownership which doesn't even have any social consensus as far as whether it actually exists or not.


> There's nothing tangible here

Tangible strikes me as an imprecise word. In a sense, all sorts of things are intangible, from copyrights to money. Does a bitcoin count as intangible?

> What does the "owner" of the tweet actually have that nobody else has?

It's plainly Dorsey's tweet, not mine, and not yours. Dorsey wrote it, published it on his account, has the ability to destroy the tweet, and presumably owns the copyright. It's the same thing with baseball cards, they're valuable because they're official, and the community has to defend against counterfeits.


> It's plainly Dorsey's tweet, not mine, and not yours. Dorsey wrote it, published it on his account, has the ability to destroy the tweet,

I think that's the point. With a baseball card, I clearly own the physical card, and can put it in the spokes of my bicycle if I want to.

You mentioned the owner of the tweet is the Dorsey and I agree. If so, then what right did the NFT owner purchase? None as far as I can tell.


Right. It doesn't entitle the holder to any rights, it's purely a collectible.

Again, owning an NFT doesn't mean you own the underlying work, and owning a baseball card doesn't mean the athlete works for you.

The idea of the floating signifier comes to mind. [0]

> With a baseball card, I clearly own the physical card, and can put it in the spokes of my bicycle if I want to.

Sure, but they both share the property of scarcity, and in the same way. The originator could in principle dilute the scarcity by issuing more (printing more baseball cards or issuing more NFTs for the same underlying asset). Is there anything of interest that changes by making it physical? I suppose the ability to destroy, but I think that's about it.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_signifier (not a great article in my opinion but I don't know of a better one)

Also, I made a typo earlier: Dorsey's NFT of course sold for $2.9m, not $2.9.


scarcity is only the supply side of the equation.

next year if everyone decides NFTs are nonsense then the demand side of the equation could collapse to zero.

scarce things are only valuable if there's demand for it. things which are only unique are not inherently valuable unless humans decide that uniqueness is also valuable.


> next year if everyone decides NFTs are nonsense then the demand side of the equation could collapse to zero.

...

> things which are only unique are not inherently valuable

Of course. Just like baseball cards. Put more broadly, all value is contextual; there's no such thing as inherent value. In a survival situation, a bottle of water has more value than a gold bar.


I'm skeptical, but I can think of few use cases:

1. you could actually want to support the artist. Right now I don't think the popular NFTs are real artists, but there's no reason real public artists can't jump on board. NFT could be a flex

2. Social networks could build in NFTs. Dorsey from Twitter mentioned he wants to add NFT verification into the app, so that could be a thing. And they could give you more prominent placement. It's basically like non-commercial advertising. Kind of like a star next to your name.

3. VR could try to enforce that some objects can only be controlled by the owner. It would be difficult, but possible


1. You can already donate to an artist you like through a platform like Patreon

2. If it's a feature of a social network, don't you already need a central authority? What's the value of an NFT then rather than just an entry in a database?

3. Similar: whoever is implementing this theoretical VR environment could just be the authority of who owns what. I don't see what an NFT adds here


> 1. You can already donate to an artist you like through a platform like Patreon

You feel like you own something that the artist can only sell once (assuming they're honest). Also, I don't know if there is a credible receipt for a donation on Patreon that you can use to flex

> 2. If it's a feature of a social network, don't you already need a central authority? What's the value of an NFT then rather than just an entry in a database?

I guess a social network could leverage the hype behind existing NFTs rather than rolling their own. Sure there will be some that will try to have home-spun NFTs, but Twitter indicated for now they just want to use existing NFTS

> 3. Similar: whoever is implementing this theoretical VR environment could just be the authority of who owns what. I don't see what an NFT adds here

NFTs could also be transferable across platforms. Obviously platforms wouldn't like this, but as a user if I buy a virtual house, it would be better not to be tied to any one platform. So new or existing platforms could try to lure me over by saying I can bring my house with me


> You feel like you own something that the artist can only sell once (assuming they're honest). Also, I don't know if there is a credible receipt for a donation on Patreon that you can use to flex

Couldn’t this be done better, at far lower cost simply by having the artist put your name on it or post a video saying “thanks @bko for supporting me!”? That’d have just as much weight, it’s more personal, and you wouldn’t be diverting a substantial amount of money away from the artists to the finance bros.


I agree. It's just that you would need a way to flex that on social media. I guess they can make a page or something on their site but honestly NFTs are super simple low tech cheap way to elicit donations with a receipt that can be easily acknowledged anywhere


NFTs are “low tech cheap”? That’s a lot of expensive infrastructure and client software to keep running just for receipts – a note on a web page or watermark on an image would be both easier and more robust since they don’t have any third-party dependencies.


I can upload a jpg, put in my wallet address and sell an NFT on opensea. I don't have to pay or maintain the infra. No charge backs, tax reporting, stripe integration, etc. I don't even need a website, just pimp it directly on my social


Your transaction fees pay for the infrastructure - and if you’re not paying taxes that’ll catch up with you if you make a habit of leaving signed public confessions around for the auditors. If you don’t generate enough fees, that grinds to a halt since unlike other applications there’s no other benefit to keeping it running.


> You feel like you own something that the artist can only sell once (assuming they're honest). Also, I don't know if there is a credible receipt for a donation on Patreon that you can use to flex

Yeah I mean I understand the appeal of ownership, but it's just so abstract in this case. If you "own" a picasso, you have something nobody else has. If you "own" an NFT, anyone with a copy of the file has exactly what you have.

> I guess a social network could leverage the hype behind existing NFTs rather than rolling their own. Sure there will be some that will try to have home-spun NFTs, but Twitter indicated for now they just want to use existing NFTS

What would this feature/integration actually look like?

> NFTs could also be transferable across platforms. Obviously platforms wouldn't like this, but as a user if I buy a virtual house, it would be better not to be tied to any one platform. So new or existing platforms could try to lure me over by saying I can bring my house with me

Yeah but why would they? So what would my NFT "house" be? I guess this is a 3D asset, with a model, some textures, and a collision model that can be rendered inside this VR world. Basically every platform which wants to make this asset usable has to bear the costs of supporting and rendering this asset, while the NFT issuer reaps the profits. What is the incentive here?


I think they mean that NFTs could be brought into the game or platform like Twitter. Buy a painting NFT, show it off in Second Life or the like. So the apps wouldn't control the assets, only verify them.

I'm not "for" NFTs but that seems like it could be used in cool ways.


That still requires a massive distributed investment in infrastructure to support this. Every game that you want to show off your painting in needs to a) support importing any of these "portable NFT-based items", b) actually implement the models (and any necessary supporting code) for them in their own format, whatever that happens to be, and c) implement restrictions based on checking the ownership of NFTs against some identifier for the actual items.

Again: Every game/environment that you want to bring your NFT-items to has to implement this. And they're not getting paid to do so, because your NFT money is going to whoever is brokering them. Where the hell is the incentive...?


One incentive might be that the game/environment wants to compete against other games/environments on being a platform which facilitates NFT trading. Taking their pound of flesh off the top of course.

I’m not a big crypto guy at all, but I do see the analogy with the very real digital economies you see on platforms like Steam.


How would that benefit them? The major game companies already have robust systems for making digital assets and selling them to people, does it really seem likely that they’d jump to give a large fraction of that revenue to someone else for the privilege of having a slow, cumbersome intermediary which would still require custom integration work for every game?


But again, what's the incentive? For instance with something like CS: Go skins, the developers of the game are doing all the investment creating the asset, and they have zero incentive to make this available outside of their game?


Secondary markets increase demand for the primary market


One analogy I find interesting: imagine a book signed by the author (clearly worth more than an unsigned book). Now imagine that the signature could be extracted from its physical form, and traded independently. Is it silly to value that? Maybe; but that begs the question of why people value signatures.

At any rate, there are other use cases for NFTs beyond ephemeral pseudo-ownership of art [0]. Strictly speaking, a library card is a type of "non-fungible token". The real magic happens in the social ecosystems and institutions that define relationships using those tokens (same as with fungible tokens, which are otherwise just paper).

[0] https://theblockchainsocialist.com/unlocked-the-best-leftist...


So I think the value of a signed book (which I agree in itself is dubious) is based in the provable history and scarcity of the artifact. You know that this individual copy of the book you are holding was touched by the author themself. There is something romantic about that, and you have something nobody else has.

With an NFT, your "copy" of the actual work is totally indistinguishable from every other. The whole concept of ownership here is also incredibly abstract.

I'm not saying there will never be a legitimate use case for something like an NFT, but I think we haven't seen it yet.


I'm really bullish on NFT's (for example I think I'd feel a lot more confident if my ebook or streaming library was a series of NFT's as opposed to some entries in a database owned by Amazon. I'd actually own it and could choose to resell it if I wanted too) but we're really early right now, and I think there's some learning that needs to happen. Once we reach the trough of despair, we're be able to build this stuff out with the high profile failures.


> for example I think I'd feel a lot more confident if my ebook or streaming library was a series of NFT's

How would an NFT be better than a non-DRM local version?

Either the text would be available on the blockchain, in which case anyone would be able to read it, or the token would allow you to go to some central site where you put it in to access your book. In which case the site could just disappear or lock you out anyway. Unless there is some distributed platform where anyone can host copyrighted material and let you access with a token, but I doubt any publisher would allow anyone to hold and administer access to their intellectual property


Serious question: how would an NFT ebook market work? The NFTs I've seen are all based around files that anyone can access, but only one person holds the NFT. But if the file is an ebook, I can just read the ebook and not buy the NFT. Why would I buy your NFT of the ebook? It seems like you'd need a DRM scheme, and now you are back to relying on a central authority.

NFTs seem to have some value based on the prestige of being the person who holds the NFT, like being a sponsor of a park bench. Anyone can sit on the bench but only one person has their plaque on it. But with an eBook market, loads of people would own practically identical NFTs of each book.


License anyone who holds an NFT to distribute copies to other holders of the same NFT for profit. (Holding proven via cryptography)

This would allow legal torrent-style distribution where hosting generates funds like mining. (It'd probably just be a nominal fee like $.10, but hosts could choose)


How would that be enforced? The problem is cheating and the blockchain has no way for me to prevent you from buying a copy for $10 and giving the epub to all of your friends, letting them pay you some other way. The current systems wouldn’t even require that first payment — anyone on the internet can just download it - so it’s unclear why any author would offer their works this way at all.


That's already happening right now regardless.

This is a mechanism for licensing digital goods distribution. Currently, you need to sign up with a platform that will sell your thing for a significant cut, and the thing is stuck to your account and at risk of disappearing if the platform folds or decides to ban you.

With this, your works could be distributed at no cost to the creator in a way that is legal and sanctioned by the creator. This is a way to make torrenting entirely above board. Digital ownership is more durable for consumers, and distribution is cheaper for creators.


The difference is that this requires the author to make their works freely available to everyone on the internet in the hopes that enough people will pay.

If you torrent stuff, you have to worry about legal repercussions (think about how many people talk about that as the main reason they use a VPN) and spending time on dodgy websites with a history of malware. This would avoid all of that risk and prevent ISP blocking since your traffic would be indistinguishable from paid downloads.

Similarly, this requires payment of not only the often considerable NFT overhead but also the maintenance of the content delivery servers because storage and bandwidth aren’t free and you can’t accept payment without the guarantee that someone will get what they paid for. That’s only “no cost to the creator” in the same sense as it is currently where it means lower net income. And, don’t forget, that means the author is paying to serve pirated copies out of their cut, which is unlikely to be a popular feature.

Finally, these are complex distributed systems to keep running. It seems far less likely that Amazon will break your Kindle library than that a blockchain network will become too expensive or even collapse.


Authors might as well just sell non-DRMed digital downloads from their own websites- which they already do sometimes. I can't imagine the hosting costs for that are really a problem. They can even accept Bitcoin if they want.

I don't get what actual value the NFTs give you, it's not like I am ever called on to prove my "digital ownership" of the non-DRMed books I buy already.


Why would you prefer the ebooks to be connected to NFTs? You’d still be relying on someone to store them for you, since the tokens don’t contain the actual work they reference. What am I missing?


> I'm really bullish on NFT's (for example I think I'd feel a lot more confident if my ebook or streaming library was a series of NFT's

Then you've probably misunderstood what an NFT is, because by definition creating an NFT means you are making it public and available to anybody, which when it comes to protecting your copyright is a strange things to do.


> Once we reach the trough of despair, we're be able to build this stuff out with the high profile failures.

That is one option. The other one is that we realize that it's a worthless endeavor and we stop doing it. I predict they will eventually be made illegal, like pyramid schemes have been before it.


The only thing preventing ebook resale right now is rightsholder's fear of piracy. An NFT-based system wouldn't help in that regard.


”Then”?

I don’t know where these crypto people came from but I have a hard time believing “web3” (aka crypto bullshit) proponents are legitimate technologists. Who in their right mind looks at NFTs and crypto currency and says, “Oh yeah, that’s way better than the current monetary system.”

It’s all a bad joke.


Anyone wanna lay bets on whether Mike_Cryptobull and/or John_Cryptobull (the "Fight Back Apes" co-founders) are actually just Evil Ape (original Evolved Apes organizer who vanished) under a new alias?


This is why you should not ”invest” in projects with anonymous leadership.


Like Bitcoin, and I completely agree (not being sarcastic).


I would make those bets because there isnt enough money in stringing the community a long, compared to the $2.7mm already collected


They weren’t scammed anymore than roulette “scams” many of its players. NFTs are pure speculation and gambling.


> NFTs are pure speculation and gambling.

I'd add money laundering to the list.


They got scammed when they bought the stupid nfts in the first place


@dang at what point do we enforce the unsubstantive comments prohibition on crypto/nft threads? even if you are of a prevalent[1] negative HN opinion about crypto/blockchain/nfts you can still be vigilant about what comments objectively add to the discussion or not.

[1] fixed wording to mitigate an easy derail


It's probably the majority opinion on HN that these NFT's are a total farce. A dismissive take is more substantive than the crypto "advocates" who pile into these threads and submit paragraphs of nonsense.


> majority negative HN opinion about crypto/blockchain/nfts

I find it amusing how I see both proponents and detractors of crypto posts on HN complain that they are in the minority. Feels like a pretty even split to me.


Nah this site is hilariously anti-blockchain. With less intellectual curiosity than my boomer parents. It's embarrassing really, for a "tech" site. NGMI. Keep being slaves to big tech I guess.


Cryptocurrency is a political tool nobody asked for. Blockchain is a data structure. There’s not much to understand, it’s not complicated for anybody with a half decent understanding of computer science.

What is complicated, and what nearly every coin-swindler misses in their naive analysis of the value of Blockchain, is that they’re operating in the realm of geopolitics, with actors who have much more at stake. Decentralization, and thus decentralized cryptocurrencies are antithetical to optimal game theory strategy and natural order. To maintain decentralization over time requires infinite energy, because centralization is fundamental to how nature behaves. That’s why governments exist, that’s why central banks exist. That’s why efforts to optimize the pile of shit that is every cryptocurrency revolve around centralizing some aspect of the network. Centralization is optimally efficient.

The entire premise of cryptocurrency is flawed, but that is overlooked by the plebs who just want to get rich quick.

It’s embarrassing really.


I find it quite normal that one of the more tech-literate forums on the internet would see through the obvious bs coming out of blockchain advocacy. HN readers are probably more likely than the average person to understand how blockchain actually works, and why so many of the claims made about it are patent nonsense.


I think it's fairly natural to want to see where your money is going.

Blockchain currency is an interesting idea but ultimately hamstrung by speculative investment making its value float around wildly and makes transactions prohibitively expensive. It's absolutely clear that it enables an entire industry of online crime as well as money laundering. Oh and demand for POW currency is destroying the planet and contributing to a 2y graphics card shortage.

NFTs are mental. Paying rare art prices for some bits saying you're the owner of something at a single registry? Haha. Good one.

Blockchain in the broader sense is often yet another bullshit buzzword we've had to wade through in client demands, job postings, product specs. Distributed ledgers are rarely the right technology for... Yeah.

HN's tone on Blockchain is entirely appropriate.


Ah, They great legacy of crypto and blockchain


You buy your character for this fighting game before the game is even released? They've done an incredible job of producing, and selling, DLC for a game that does not exist.


The money raised helps fund the development of the game. The same type of thing happens on Kickstarter too, for both video and board games, and sometimes people get scammed out of what they backed on Kickstarter also (in fact before you back, Kickstarter requires you to check a box saying "Rewards aren't guaranteed. Backing means supporting a creative project, regardless of the outcome. I understand that rewards or reimbursements aren’t guaranteed by either Kickstarter or the creator.").

But Kickstarter has also led to some really great games as well (like Shovel Knight and Undertale, and like 50% of all board games nowadays, or at least it seems like it).

The idea behind the game or utility NFT projects (at least the legit projects, which I couldn't guess how many are legit, I've only recently -- within the past month -- stopped ignoring the NFT space and started learning about it) is basically Kickstarter but you see what you're going to use to interact with (and trade for other ones) before the game is made, as opposed to just Kickstarter taking your money and waiting for posted updates every few months until the game is out. You also get something unique to interact with the game, as opposed to having the exact same experience as everyone else.

Those behind the NFT project wouldn't be able to make the game without the funds raised from the NFT sale (or unless they went on Kickstarter, but NFT is where more money is right now). People here raise venture capital to work on software projects all the time before the product is made, this shouldn't seem like such a foreign concept.

Kickstarter had a lot of garbage and failed game projects and people getting scammed in the beginning too, before backers started getting wiser and knew what red flags to look out for, and game developers/publishers got more of a feel for the space and what's needed in order to insure a successful project. Now it's a pretty well-oiled machine (mostly...the shipping crisis has thrown a serious monkey wrench into board game Kickstarters this past year) and hundreds of millions of dollars are raised on Kickstarter for games every single year.

https://www.intoindiegames.com/the-most-successful-kickstart...


One big difference with KickStarter is the idea that you can sell your shares/NFTs to become rich. People on KickStarter are gambling that either they get their game or lose their money. With NFTs people are gambling, primarily I think, on getting rich rather than on anything getting produced.

Another difference is some kind of accountability or vetting. Kickstarter, to my knowledge, requires identity verification. It's more plausible that naked con-artists could be held accountable on Kickstarter compared to NFTs. That's a bad combination of "Get rich quick" and "Easy access for scammers."

The thing that NFTs "solve" is moving digital goods outside of their originating contexts without a centralized party. That is, I could have unique avatars or DLC in any game already. NFTs don't help with that. I could also move my digital content between any games that supported it so long as there was some kind of central server to establish ownership. NFTs remove the central server part, but I think a lot of their hype overblows what they can actually deliver.


> Unlike with cryptocurrencies, NFT rug pulls leave behind JPEGs and a narrative surrounding them.

I'm sorry, is this supposed to be seen as a silver lining, that there are JPG images of monkeys in the wake of this debacle? Why is so much of culture this ridiculous and frivolous now? Who cares about the NFTs or what happened to the "investors" (lol).


> Investors Spent Millions on `Evolved Apes´ NFTs. ~~Then~~ They Got Scammed.

What the title should be because let's not pretend NFTs are anything other than a thinly disguised vehicle for scams, speculation and ultimately simply wastes of energy.

In any case I can't honestly believe that everyone waxing lyrical about NFTs' supposed upsides or "value" is not someone in it for a quick profit at the expense of gullible people and/or others with the same motives but not as good at scamming. Seeing NFT-peddlers bend themselves over backwards in mock sincerity so someone will buy into their scam is just pathetic.


Some people may just like the concept and like collecting things and having a personal stake in projects.

Do you have the same anger towards people who collect baseball cards? Think of all the billions wasted in printing and shipping little slips of paper with images on them.


No one goes around saying baseball cards are the future of internet. And I really care because these "investments" are sold/marketed to some of the most gullible "investors", my dad lost quite a chunk of change on alt-coins and nft.


I'm sorry to hear about your dad. I agree that the marketing and hype behind NFTs are pretty toxic. But I don't think its true that all people even tangentially involved in that space are scam artists or gullible.


Can you point to an example of what you would consider a legitimate NFT project?


I don't subscribe or follow any NFTs. I'm generally pessimistic but I don't write it off entirely. I know a few people that bought NFTs and I don't think they're scam artists or naive. They're just having fun and playing around with some money. Maybe using it as an excuse to learn about Blockchain and feel like they're a part of a community. No different than my aws bills for apps that no one uses


Idk it doesn't sound like a very good argument for a real value proposition. Maybe knowingly participating in a highly speculative market isn't exactly being naive or a scam artist, but it still doesn't make NFT's seem any smarter.


That's on your dad for being gullible. NFTs are the future whether you like it or not.

The JPEG/MP4/HTML/(literally any non fungible asset) is the house. The blockchain is city/state. The NFT is the deed to that house. It's really quite simple.


This is a terrible analogy. A house is a finite asset which only one person can occupy at a time. An infinite number of copies of a JPEG can exist. The city/state has the power to enforce property rights. The blockchain does not. The NFT is just a note in a ledger somewhere which others may or may not respect. It's really quite simple.


There's so many terrible analogies associated with NFTs and blockchains too. It all comes from their confirmation biases. They're already too invested into it to back out. It's too easy to become blind to any valid criticism, so might as well come up with as many analogies as possible to attempt to gather more recruits and justify their decisions.


It's much more like "buying a star" website.


A better analogy would be that the blockchain is a filing cabinet. A deed has the force of law because the city/state is prepared to use violence to enforce the ownership claim inscribed on the deed. What authority is going to enforce your NFT?


All of the people that use the blockchain as the source of truth and authority enforce it. The question you're asking is literally the same as "what gives bitcoin value". The answer is everyone who believes it has value. Why is TSL/SSL an agreed upon encryption scheme? Because people agreed to use it and you're excluded from access if you don't.

When twitter integrates NFTs and requires you to sign a proof of ownership to set an NFT as a profile picture (with a verification check mark), this effectively signals that twitter is enforcing the NFT. When facebook does the same, it signals that Facebook is enforcing the NFT. When Spotify integrates NFT licensing, they will be enforcing it.


> ...NFTs are anything other than a thinly disguised vehicle for scams

can you explain why they are scams?


This is like saying most websites are scams. Tokens are to web3 as websites are to web2.


I'd like to hear why you think that comparison makes sense. I don't see any way in which the two represent similar functions or parts.

If your argument is based around a token being a sort of domain, then that's like comparing owning real land to owning land in an MMORPG. If your argument is around functionality that's like comparing a car to a parking spot.


What does that even mean?


He "invested" bunch of his money on digital tokens, and now needs them to be worth something by throwing words around


It means that tokens are one of the fundamental building blocks and foundational usecases of blockchain/web3. Are you even trying to understand, or just asking in bad faith? Because I know this website hates crypto which is just embarrassing.


Do you actually understand the value of any of that or are you just parroting something you read? What is web 3 and what concrete benefits will it provide?


It automates and decentralizes the entire financial infrastructure of the world and creates consensus around and enforcement of digital assets outside of the control of single governments. If you can't understand why this is revolutionary and haven't bothered to try in the decade you've been given, I'm clearly not going to convince you. My only recommendation would just be to try it out for yourself or go and listen to someone much smarter than me, like Vitalik, speak about it himself.


You’re right, crypto is deeply embarrassing.


Nah, you're like all those newspaper articles back in the day arguing about the internet being useless. It's obvious but you just don't want to see it.


> and the artist hadn’t been paid either.

> he and others would build a new project called Fight Back Apes out of the ashes of Evolved Apes. Evolved Apes holders would be automatically approved for a Fight Back Apes token linked with the art from the old project.

Is the artist going to get paid this time?


If anyone wants an discussion aside from “nft itself are scam why bother drawing a distinction” or “crypto is a scam yada yada” here is one:

NFT communities often try to use the narrative to independently build off the collection without the help of the issuers. This is possible but it usually fails because nobody has the same level of budget as the issuer would have. And there are too many other opportunities and vibrant communities to be a part of that don't require repair.

Outside of NFT land, the cryptopup meme currency $FLOKI has gone through two rug pulls and still got community support to attract a $1.7bn marketcap (by circulating supply). And FLOKI still has a transfer tax that pays the original rugging dev on every trade! I think only a handful of people know this, despite the community rallying to steward the token and order ongoing ad campaigns including on the sides of metro buses I’ve seen in major US cities.


Can you call NFT buyers "investors"? I would call them something else...


Possible maxim: Financial innovation typically is seeded in criminal activity.


Curious, when has this been true historically?

I can’t think of one financial innovation outside of crypto that started as criminal activity. I definitely don’t think most of the more recent ones (PayPal, credit cards, online banking) were.


Ha, I would say all, the actions just weren’t initially considered criminal until they were.

There is almost nothing that the Dutch East India company did that we would call “above board” now. Criminal negligence, collusion, foreign corrupt practices, domestic corruption, pillaging, slave trading, shady accounting, and god forbid if those securities were registered or not.

More relatable, the book Flash Boys goes into the history of Wall Street regulations going back to the 1850s and finds something similar, every regulation is some kind of reaction to a novel way that some form of brokers are trading ahead of their clients.

“Finance” only very recently was a respectable or attractive entity, sure everyone knew there was a money shuffling place that resulted in potentially having a lot of money for yourself, but there was nothing inclusive about it nor did this really bother anyone because this wasnt the aspiration either (and because nothing was inclusive, many other issues to be honest). Just a small club with no national/federal oversight. Rife with scams.

1920s wall street isnt so different than the entire crypto space today. A stoic onlooker would say “why bother its all a scam” an insider would say “there are a lot of scams but there are ways to distinguish” and a person hungry for opportunity would look at them both, chuckle at how they talk past each other, and buy a random asset on margin because distinguishing didn't really matter. Their opportunities either improved or it didnt.


You haven't given examples of financial innovation which started out as crimes. You've given examples of crimes which have since been regulated against and better controlled.


Ok, by that standard, no, the joint share company concept didn't start as a crime and neither did distributed ledger blockchain concept

The entire supposition is unsound. Crypto didnt start as a criminal activity.


Wasn't that your entire supposition, that both crypto and traditional finance started as criminal activity?


I guess you've given examples of times where new financial innovations were used for scams - which certainly has happened.

But I really can't think of a financial innovation that was itself a scam in the way NFTs are.


Agreed. Crypto has just been a fertile ground to replay every innovation in financial crime and fraud which had already been regulated against in other markets.


Disagreed because the actions didn't start as regulated against in the other markets. We are operating on the same information and made a different conclusion. The other markets also started with the bad activities and then called them criminal. Kind of a stretch to say “well it wasnt criminal at first so crypto is the outlier here”


It just seems stupid not to learn from one's mistakes. We already know these kinds of activities are problematic and amount to theft, so it's comical to see people saying this is our financial "future" when it's hundreds of years behind in terms of the regulations and protections which make traditional financial and monetary systems safe and stable, all well offering dubious actual benefits and being incredibly inefficient from an energy perspective.


Gamblers Spent Millions on ‘Evolved Apes’ NFTs. Then They Got Scammed


Is there evidence they actually got scammed?

Maybe Evil Ape sold all the eth and intends to use it to pay people, and doesn't feel the need to communicate plans.

Are claims of future plans legally binding for Evil Ape, since people bought NFTs based on those future plans?

Would it be fraud if a 100k game was developed and released in 5 years?

Has a crime been committed yet?


How likely do you think this is?


Oh, it certainly seems like a scam, just wondering if anything is actually prosecutable.


Is there any way of laundering/anonymizing cryptocurrencies as of yet, or are the thieves stuck with their unsellable ether?


Tornado.cash


if you got Scammed. you deserve it.


I think this is called “victim blaming”


would smart contracts at least prevented artists from (apparently) not getting paid?

disclosure: newbie to this ecosystem.


You'd think scams would devalue ALL NFTs. But, counter-intuitively perhaps, it makes the "authentic" ones with provenance seem more valuable ;)

ps ape fest 2021 halloween yacht party nyc! valid BAYC || MAYC required for entry https://twitter.com/BoredApeYC/status/1453911020137816068




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