NFT Ethics to the RescueRug pulls, scams and the rallying of a community.

Lately, influencers have come under the gun as the community is reeling from the many rug pulls and scams. Beanie’s doxxing and subsequent ban from the community was the beginning of a trend that’s starting to take place, whereby influencers true motives and deceptive behavior are coming into focus.

The Twitter account @NFTethics has taken the lead and become somewhat of a vigilante by calling out and doxxing scammers and influencers with ulterior motives. For anyone familiar with fashion’s watchdog account on Instagram @dietprada , I see @NFTethics playing a similar role by calling out shady drops and characters. What’s interesting is that their advocacy must have definitely hit a nerve as they recently had their account suspended by Twitter. Turns out, a verified Twitter user, changed its handle to NFTethics and then reported NFTethics for false impersonation which led to twitter suspending the real NFTethics account. They were finally able to get back control of the account and have been back with a vengeance calling out scams left and right.

As the NFT space starts behaving like a stock market with the endless stream of daily drops, flippers rely more and more on the hype generated by influencers who get early access to project’s whitelists and profit from early exposure to mints and subsequent flips once they pump the drop. Most of these projects have anon teams behind it that make it very hard to discern the true intentions of the team and the long term feasibility of the project. That’s why research and due diligence are highly recommended in this space as among the hundreds of rug pulls there are many legitimate and actually amazing projects. Thinking of the Woodies project or Doodles for example. The vibe of the community is an easy giveaway. I like to spend time in a project Discord channel or Twitter feed to get a good grasp of the seriousness of the project. It’s nice though to see the community self-police itself and keep it in the straight and narrow. Very exciting to see photography having a moment in the NFT space with some attention-grabbing sales and a myriad of projects hitting the marketplaces. Photography has always had to fight its way to the table and work twice as hard at gaining acceptance as opposed to other mediums. But photography, of the fine art kind, could use some more experienced collectors and critics in crypto. It’s like the adults haven’t shown up yet. I’m noticing several photographers commanding astronomical sales for what are in essence beautiful pictures. In fairness, a lot of these pictures are absolutely stunning but there’s no thesis or artistic vision, in my opinion, behind it, just some great travel photography or second rate fashion editorials. The space could use a little bit more of a critical eye to shift the price action more towards the fine art offering. Having said that, I think it’s fair also to perhaps poke holes into my argument as I may be looking at it a bit from the legacy point of view, and that in Web 3.0 it’s whatever the community decides that is art. And just maybe, the whole social performative exercise is the thesis by which to evaluate the work of art. I want to be absolutely open-minded about it and therefore open to the possibility that this indeed is art as it is validated by the community’s consensus.

Recently I came across a tweet that stated the obvious, yet left one, with much to think about. “Invest in potential brands not collectible projects”. I think this is absolutely true. It’s a great approach through which to filter whether a project is worth investing in or not. It’s pretty clear by now that the most interesting and innovative brands are coming out of the Web 3.0 space and less and less so from the legacy space. And apparel icons such as Adidas, Nike, Gucci etc, aping into the space through either acquisition, as in Nike’s buying RTFKT Studio, or collaboration as Adidas did recently with BAYC and Gucci with SuperPlastic, is the definite proverbial proof in the pudding. I firmly believe, that the next Supreme or Marvel or Disney will come from the Metaverse. Take a project like Woodies for example. Centered in the outdoors, sustainability-focused and 10,000 characters rich, the project could easily turn into a billion dollar enterprise through animation deals, merchandising license, publishing etc. BAYC are already laying out the blueprint for how to do it with their derivative projects and off-shoot narratives. It’s not that hard to look at an NFT project and imagine the potential brand expansion and revenue pipeline. Most recently, I was talking to the folks at Hillbilly Holler in West Virginia, a team of very talented developers, building what I think could be a global brand that could expand into merchandise, music, animation, spirits, entertainment etc. The NFT project is a tongue in cheek take on hillbilly culture with amazing art and a very well thought-out gaming component and a built-in reward mechanism that will allow it to grow its user base. Plus, as I think of markets such as Japan, who does America better than we even do, look at what they have done with denim or bourbon culture, and one can imagine the upside and the unlimited potential of such project.

It’s not a secret, my fondness for Chris Hytha’s Rowhomes project which I’ve covered extensively in this newsletter. Chris has gone on to earn much accolade with his photography as he was recently accepted into SuperRare where all his 3 works have sold out. I wanted to share this video of Chris where he shares his inspiration and his approach to the creation of the Rowhomes project. i hope you find it as interesting as I did. Enjoy It

Random Stuff:

Alla Prossima, Michele

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