Non-Fungible Thursdays: What Happened in NFTs This Week? [Mar. 24, 2022]

CoinMarketCap and Nansen look at some of the most exciting events in the NFT space — from GameStop's NFT marketplace with Loopring, to UMG purchasing a Bored Ape for its virtual band.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are finally hitting the big screen. From GameStop launching an NFT marketplace to Universal Music Group purchasing a Bored Ape for its virtual band, this week has been quite eventful for the NFT space.

Finally, keep an eye on the links that you click because there may be a hacker lurking around to steal your NFTs.

NFT Market Rebounds 24% in 2 Weeks

First, a look at the overall NFT market. Taking a look at Nansen’s NFT-500 Index, we can see that the index has rebounded to 2,142 index points after hitting a low of 1,725 index points on 10 March. Index points reflect what $1000 invested on Jan. 1, 2022, would be worth at a given time.

However, taking a deeper look at the individual categories, it’s clear that this bounce is a market-wide occurrence and is being led by “Social” and “Metaverse” NFTs. Examples of “Social” NFTs include BAYC, Azuki, CryptoPunks and examples of “Metaverse” NFTs include NFT worlds, and Meebits.

Floor prices of the largest collections have mostly seen nice moves up in the last 7 and 30 days.

BAYC Goes to Hollywood, Signs With WME Talent Agency

While the Milky Pirates are setting a record as the first NFT band to perform on national television, another NFT project is breaking into Hollywood. Escape plan, a Bored Ape producer-DJ duo, has been signed by one of Hollywood’s “big four” agencies for all future engagements. The group tweeted:

Stoked to announce that we've signed with @WME for all bookings! Shoutout @THR for spreading the good word pic.twitter.com/PkQRsYNt1F— ESCAPΞPLAN (@escapeplanbayc) March 21, 2022

On Monday, WME along with CAA and others signed the NFT group, whose pseudonymous identities are represented by Bored Apes #309 and #4321 also known as Seth and Ethan, respectively. Following the partnership, Escapeplan will be working with the agency across bookings, endorsements and other projects using their IP.

The signing trails earlier news that electronic musician Dillon Francis would be accepting Bored Ape #378 as partial payment in a deal with Big Night Entertainment, the brand that manages the Escape plan. Francis will also be collaborating with the Bored Ape duo on multiple songs later this year. He told reporters that Escapeplan’s video content would feature many animated Bored Apes.

“I had to have an Ape so that I could be in the music videos with Escapeplan […] Things change so quickly in Web3 that I think that in six months from now, the world is going to be completely different.”

DeFiance Capital Founder Loses $1.7M in NFTs to Phishing Scam

Last month, the NFT community was thrown into a state of panic after news spread that OpenSea had been compromised. Upon investigation, it was discovered that about 17 users had fallen prey to a phishing scam.

As malicious actors continue to target high-value NFTs, Arthur Cheong, the founder of DeFiance Capital, is one of the latest to fall victim. $1.7 million worth of NFTs was reportedly stolen from his crypto wallet on Tuesday morning.

Surprisingly, Cheong is no stranger to the crypto space. He has been quite active in the industry in the past 5 years. His private key was compromised after he clicked on a malicious link masquerading as an email from one of DeFiance Capital’s portfolio companies. Cheong tweeted: “Well, this hit me hard but if I got exploited as a fairly sophisticated 5 years crypto user (Defi user, password manager, mostly hardware wallet), I’m not sure how I can persuade most normal people to put a substantial part of their net worth on-chain anymore.”According to security firm PeckShield, the hacker managed to steal 17 Azuki’s, 33 Second Selfs, five CloneXs, two Tsubasa, and two Hedgies NFTs. As of press time, the account of the hacker held 585 ETH.

The hackers behind this sophisticated social engineering attack used a malicious PDF document that seemingly targets the general crypto industry.

Found out the likely root cause for the exploit, it’s a targeted social engineering attack. Received a spear-phishing email that really seems to be sent by one of our portco with content that seems like general industry-relevant content.

They are likely targeting all crypto peep pic.twitter.com/SegYBcoLX2— Arthur 🌔⛩️🦔👻 (@Arthur_0x) March 22, 2022

Apparently, Cheong stored his NFTs in a hot wallet.

NeoNexus NFT Project Pulls the Plug After Raising Around $4 Million

It’s one thing to raise funds from investors through NFTs, but a whole new ballgame to deliver on the roadmap. The team behind NeoNexus, a Solana-based NFT project, has had to find out the hard way. Unless their plan was to fleece investors from the very beginning. Earlier this week, the founder of the project Jack Shi announced that the company could no longer continue with the “healthy development” of its metaverse project. She blamed the rather abrupt decision on the sad state of the crypto market. Tweeting through the company’s official account on Monday, Shi wrote:

“It is with a heavy heart that we must inform you that we can no longer continue healthy development of the NEONEXUS project. We would like to hand over the project to our community, or a community-selected party for takeover if that's feasible/possible.”

A few months ago, NeoNexus, which made a promise of planned utility and a governance token to users, raised around 25,000 SOL from selling over 4,000 “property NFTs.” Even though the value of SOL has dropped by over 50%, at the time of mint, the project generated between $3.5 and $4.5 million.

In a Discord post, Shi claimed that the funds from mint were used to pay business fees, wages, and taxes, adding that 20 staff members from the parent company, Unlock Defi, had already been laid off.

“It has been incredibly difficult trying to grow and continue our project in this ecosystem and market conditions where the price of SOL has dropped so much and the activity, volume, and interest in the entirety of the Solana NFT space has decreased.”

Many members of the NFT community have called out the team for pulling a “slow rug.” Pseudonymous crypto scam researcher and writer “zachxbt” shared screenshots of tweets Shi made in November, where the founder was sitting in a supercar. He tweeted:

So this project raised $4m from multiple NFT drops and somehow runs out of funds after just a few months?

Here’s the founder flexing back in November. https://t.co/NzTyumRyuNpic.twitter.com/i7Y45VSAKD— zachxbt (@zachxbt) March 21, 2022

Speaking of abandoning projects, earlier this month, popular adult film star Lana Rhoades said she was done with NFTs after collecting money from investors and failing to deliver on her promises. Similarly, the artwork of Pixelmon turned out to be a “horrible mistake” after the project raised $70 million from investors.

In the case of Pixelmon, the team tried to calm investors by saying it will spend a meagre $2 million out of the $70 million raised to remodel its designs. However, this may not also happen as there have been accusations that the team had spent the capital on personal NFT purchases.

Universal Music Group Buys Bored Ape for Nearly $365K

A new member has been added to the Kingship NFT band following a $365k Bored Ape purchase by Universal Music Group (UMG). 10:22 PM, the Web3 label of UMG, had in November announced its plans to turn Bored Apes into a virtual band called Kingship. The firm has now purchased its own Bored Ape to push that initiative. Even though the purchase was made on February 12 for 125 ETH or about $365,000 at that time, UMG’s 10:22 PM just announced the acquisition of Bored Ape #5537.

Meet Manager Noët All, the new ape-in-charge leading KINGSHIP to greatness. She & the band have been busy working on top-secret schemes. If there’s one thing she learned back in her #BAYC clubhouse days, it’s that good thing come to those who wait. Right, @BoredApeYCpic.twitter.com/LayDx39Dsv— KINGSHIP (@therealkingship) March 18, 2022

The Bored Ape in question is wearing a blue dress and a pilot’s hat and has white fur. It will be used to create a character nicknamed “Manager Noët All,” who will be leading 10:22 PM’s Kingship NFT band as its manager. This brings the total number of apes in the band to five. All the other Bored Apes in the band are owned by Jimmy “j1mmy” McNelis. And public data on the OpenSea marketplace suggests that McNelis might have sold the latest NFT to Universal from his personal portfolio.

GameStop Launches NFT Marketplace With Loopring

The future of #NFTs are here + they’re powered by #Ethereum‘s second layer💙

Loopring L2 x @GameStop

Power to the players.
Power to the creators
Power to the collectors.#L222🌀https://t.co/0gdvKLivfp— Loopring💙🏴‍☠️ (@loopringorg) March 23, 2022

Last week, news broke that GameStop was planning an imminent entry into the NFT space with an NFT marketplace scheduled for Q2 2022. As reported by crypto news site BTC PEERS, the company “finally put a deadline” on the launch of an NFT marketplace following a net loss of $147.5 million in Q4 2021. However, it appears the popular retail video game store chain had other plans. According to a blog post published by Loopring’s Head of Growth Adam Browman on March 23, the beta version of Gamestop’s NFT marketplace had already gone live.

“We’re thrilled to announce the GameStop NFT Marketplace has taken its first steps to welcome users. And it is built atop Loopring!”

Dubbed “Power to the Players,” GameStop will tap on Loopring’s L2 non-custodial decentralized exchange to facilitate transactions. The auto money maker is based on the and can process up to 2,000 transactions per second.

GameStop is hoping that its new NFT marketplace will become the “destination for new global digital economies.” As per the blog post, users will be able to mint new NFTs directly on Loopring for less than a dollar.

In the meantime, users can enjoy early access to the beta site, set up their profiles, and make deposits while waiting for the full launch of the official marketplace.

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