Yuga Labs’ Otherdeeds NFT mint triggers backlash from community
Unhappy community members accuse Yuga Labs of fraud, manipulation, and favoritism over Otherdeeds NFT mint.
Following the Otherdeeds NFT mint, disgruntled community members took to Twitter to criticize Yuga Labs' handling of the event.
Otherdeeds NFTs were a huge hit with the community, selling out almost instantly. Due to high demand, the launch increased Ethereum gas fees from 2.6 ETH to 5 ETH.
But the event displeased many people. Several users speculated that the mint was “planned to fail” so the group could advertise launching its own blockchain, as the team mentioned a chain migration in one tweet.
Others like Mark Beylin tweeted that he had "sold out" on all Ape-related NFT investments after Yuga Labs "revealed their true colors." Beylin also advised others to assume Yuga Labs' owners are “bad actors.”
Some users who failed to complete transactions claim they lost ETH. However, Yuga Labs promised to refund lost gas fees.
CryptoFinally, a Twitter user, claimed Yuga Labs gave BAYC members better land than non-members. Others who wanted to participate paid for shittier land, while BAYCS got the only worthwhile land.
The Otherdeed NFT drop also increased Ethereum's burn rate. Glassnode and Data Always reported nearly 70,000 ETH burned on mint day.
More on NFTs & Art
6 months ago
Why Bitcoin NFTs Are Incomprehensible yet Likely Here to Stay
I'm trying to understand why Bitcoin NFTs aren't ready.
Ordinals, a new Bitcoin protocol, has been controversial. NFTs can be added to Bitcoin transactions using the protocol. They are not tokens or fungible. Bitcoin NFTs are transaction metadata. Yes. They're not owned.
In January, the Ordinals protocol allowed data like photos to be directly encoded onto sats, the smallest units of Bitcoin worth 0.00000001 BTC, on the Bitcoin blockchain. Ordinals does not need a sidechain or token like other techniques. The Ordinals protocol has encoded JPEG photos, digital art, new profile picture (PFP) projects, and even 1993 DOOM onto the Bitcoin network.
Ordinals inscriptions are permanent digital artifacts preserved on the Bitcoin blockchain. It differs from Ethereum, Solana, and Stacks NFT technologies that allow smart contract creators to change information. Ordinals store the whole image or content on the blockchain, not just a link to an external server, unlike centralized databases, which can change the linked image, description, category, or contract identifier.
So far, more than 50,000 ordinals have been produced on the Bitcoin blockchain, and some of them have already been sold for astronomical amounts. The Ethereum-based CryptoPunks NFT collection spawned Ordinal Punk. Inscription 620 sold for 9.5 BTC, or $218,000, the most.
Segwit and Taproot, two important Bitcoin blockchain updates, enabled this. These protocols store transaction metadata, unlike Ethereum, where the NFT is the token. Bitcoin's NFT is a sat's transaction details.
What effects do ordinary values and NFTs have on the Bitcoin blockchain?
Ordinals will likely have long-term effects on the Bitcoin Ecosystem since they store, transact, and compute more data.
Charges Ordinals introduce scalability challenges. The Bitcoin network has limited transaction throughput and increased fees during peak demand. NFTs could make network transactions harder and more expensive. Ordinals currently occupy over 50% of block space, according to Glassnode.
One of the protocols that supported Ordinals Taproot has also seen a huge uptick:
Taproot use increases block size and transaction costs.
This could cause network congestion but also support more L2s with Ordinals-specific use cases. Dune info here.
Storage Needs The Bitcoin blockchain would need to store more data to store NFT data directly. Since ordinals were introduced, blocksize has tripled from 0.7mb to over 2.2mb, which could increase storage costs and make it harder for nodes to join the network.
Use Case Diversity On the other hand, NFTs on the Bitcoin blockchain could broaden Bitcoin's use cases beyond storage and payment. This could expand Bitcoin's user base. This is two-sided. Bitcoin was designed to be trustless, decentralized, peer-to-peer money.
Chain to permanently store NFTs as ordinals will change everything.
Popularity rise This new use case will boost Bitcoin appeal, according to some. This argument fails since Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency. Popularity doesn't require a new use case. Cryptocurrency adoption boosts Bitcoin. It need not compete with Ethereum or provide extra benefits to crypto investors. If there was a need for another chain that supports NFTs (there isn't), why would anyone choose the slowest and most expensive network? It appears contradictory and unproductive.
Nonetheless, holding an NFT on the Bitcoin blockchain is more secure than any other blockchain, but this has little utility.
Bitcoin NFTs are undoubtedly controversial. NFTs are strange and perhaps harmful to Bitcoin's mission. If Bitcoin NFTs are here to stay, I hope a sidechain or rollup solution will take over and leave the base chain alone.
1 year ago
Metaverse, Web 3, and NFTs are BS
Most crypto is probably too.
The goals of Web 3 and the metaverse are admirable and attractive. Who doesn't want an internet owned by users? Who wouldn't want a digital realm where anything is possible? A better way to collaborate and visit pals.
Companies pursue profits endlessly. Infinite growth and revenue are expected, and if a corporation needs to sacrifice profits to safeguard users, the CEO, board of directors, and any executives will lose to the system of incentives that (1) retains workers with shares and (2) makes a company answerable to all of its shareholders. Only the government can guarantee user protections, but we know how successful that is. This is nothing new, just a problem with modern capitalism and tech platforms that a user-owned internet might remedy. Moxie, the founder of Signal, has a good articulation of some of these current Web 2 tech platform problems (but I forget the timestamp); thoughts on JRE aside, this episode is worth listening to (it’s about a bunch of other stuff too).
Moxie Marlinspike, founder of Signal, on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
Web 3 champions are premature. There was so much spectacular growth during Web 2 that the next wave of founders want to make an even bigger impact, while investors old and new want a chance to get a piece of the moonshot action. Worse, crypto enthusiasts believe — and financially need — the fact of its success to be true, whether or not it is.
I’m doubtful that it will play out like current proponents say. Crypto has been the white-hot focus of SV’s best and brightest for a long time yet still struggles to come up any mainstream use case other than ‘buy, HODL, and believe’: a store of value for your financial goals and wishes. Some kind of the metaverse is likely, but will it be decentralized, mostly in VR, or will Meta (previously FB) play a big role? Unlikely.
The metaverse exists already. Our digital lives span apps, platforms, and games. I can design a 3D house, invite people, use Discord, and hang around in an artificial environment. Millions of gamers do this in Rust, Minecraft, Valheim, and Animal Crossing, among other games. Discord's voice chat and Slack-like servers/channels are the present social anchor, but the interface, integrations, and data portability will improve. Soon you can stream YouTube videos on digital house walls. You can doodle, create art, play Jackbox, and walk through a door to play Apex Legends, Fortnite, etc. Not just gaming. Digital whiteboards and screen sharing enable real-time collaboration. They’ll review code and operate enterprises. Music is played and made. In digital living rooms, they'll watch movies, sports, comedy, and Twitch. They'll tweet, laugh, learn, and shittalk.
The metaverse is the evolution of our digital life at home, the third place. The closest analog would be Discord and the integration of Facebook, Slack, YouTube, etc. into a single, 3D, customizable hangout space.
I'm not certain this experience can be hugely decentralized and smoothly choreographed, managed, and run, or that VR — a luxury, cumbersome, and questionably relevant technology — must be part of it. Eventually, VR will be pragmatic, achievable, and superior to real life in many ways. A total sensory experience like the Matrix or Sword Art Online, where we're physically hooked into the Internet yet in our imaginations we're jumping, flying, and achieving athletic feats we never could in reality; exploring realms far grander than our own (as grand as it is). That VR is different from today's.
Ben Thompson released an episode of Exponent after Facebook changed its name to Meta. Ben was suspicious about many metaverse champion claims, but he made a good analogy between Oculus and the PC. The PC was initially far too pricey for the ordinary family to afford. It began as a business tool. It got so powerful and pervasive that it affected our personal life. Price continues to plummet and so much consumer software was produced that it's impossible to envision life without a home computer (or in our pockets). If Facebook shows product market fit with VR in business, through use cases like remote work and collaboration, maybe VR will become practical in our personal lives at home.
Before PCs, we relied on Blockbuster, the Yellow Pages, cabs to get to the airport, handwritten taxes, landline phones to schedule social events, and other archaic methods. It is impossible for me to conceive what VR, in the form of headsets and hand controllers, stands to give both professional and especially personal digital experiences that is an order of magnitude better than what we have today. Is looking around better than using a mouse to examine a 3D landscape? Do the hand controls make x10 or x100 work or gaming more fun or efficient? Will VR replace scalable Web 2 methods and applications like Web 1 and Web 2 did for analog? I don't know.
My guess is that the metaverse will arrive slowly, initially on displays we presently use, with more app interoperability. I doubt that it will be controlled by the people or by Facebook, a corporation that struggles to properly innovate internally, as practically every large digital company does. Large tech organizations are lousy at hiring product-savvy employees, and if they do, they rarely let them explore new things.
These companies act like business schools when they seek founders' results, with bureaucracy and dependency. Which company launched the last popular consumer software product that wasn't a clone or acquisition? Recent examples are scarce.
Investors and entrepreneurs of Web 3 firms are declaring victory: 'Web 3 is here!' Web 3 is the future! Many profitable Web 2 enterprises existed when Web 2 was defined. The word was created to explain user behavior shifts, not a personal pipe dream.
Origins of Web 2: http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html
One of these Web 3 startups may provide the connecting tissue to link all these experiences or become one of the major new digital locations. Even so, successful players will likely use centralized power arrangements, as Web 2 businesses do now. Some Web 2 startups integrated our digital lives. Rockmelt (2010–2013) was a customizable browser with bespoke connectors to every program a user wanted; imagine seeing Facebook, Twitter, Discord, Netflix, YouTube, etc. all in one location. Failure. Who knows what Opera's doing?
Silicon Valley and tech Twitter in general have a history of jumping on dumb bandwagons that go nowhere. Dot-com crash in 2000? The huge deployment of capital into bad ideas and businesses is well-documented. And live video. It was the future until it became a niche sector for gamers. Live audio will play out a similar reality as CEOs with little comprehension of audio and no awareness of lasting new user behavior deceive each other into making more and bigger investments on fool's gold. Twitter trying to buy Clubhouse for $4B, Spotify buying Greenroom, Facebook exploring live audio and 'Tiktok for audio,' and now Amazon developing a live audio platform. This live audio frenzy won't be worth their time or energy. Blind guides blind. Instead of learning from prior failures like Twitter buying Periscope for $100M pre-launch and pre-product market fit, they're betting on unproven and uncompelling experiences.
NFTs are also nonsense. Take Loot, a time-limited bag drop of "things" (text on the blockchain) for a game that didn't exist, bought by rich techies too busy to play video games and foolish enough to think they're getting in early on something with a big reward. What gaming studio is incentivized to use these items? Who's encouraged to join? No one cares besides Loot owners who don't have NFTs. Skill, merit, and effort should be rewarded with rare things for gamers. Even if a small minority of gamers can make a living playing, the average game's major appeal has never been to make actual money - that's a profession.
No game stays popular forever, so how is this objective sustainable? Once popularity and usage drop, exclusive crypto or NFTs will fall. And if NFTs are designed to have cross-game appeal, incentives apart, 30 years from now any new game will need millions of pre-existing objects to build around before they start. It doesn’t work.
Many games already feature item economies based on real in-game scarcity, generally for cosmetic things to avoid pay-to-win, which undermines scaled gaming incentives for huge player bases. Counter-Strike, Rust, etc. may be bought and sold on Steam with real money. Since the 1990s, unofficial cross-game marketplaces have sold in-game objects and currencies. NFTs aren't needed. Making a popular, enjoyable, durable game is already difficult.
With NFTs, certain JPEGs on the internet went from useless to selling for $69 million. Why? Crypto, Web 3, early Internet collectibles. NFTs are digital Beanie Babies (unlike NFTs, Beanie Babies were a popular children's toy; their destinies are the same). NFTs are worthless and scarce. They appeal to crypto enthusiasts seeking for a practical use case to support their theory and boost their own fortune. They also attract to SV insiders desperate not to miss the next big thing, not knowing what it will be. NFTs aren't about paying artists and creators who don't get credit for their work.
South Park's Underpants Gnomes
NFTs are a benign, foolish plan to earn money on par with South Park's underpants gnomes. At worst, they're the world of hucksterism and poor performers. Or those with money and enormous followings who, like everyone, don't completely grasp cryptocurrencies but are motivated by greed and status and believe Gary Vee's claim that CryptoPunks are the next Facebook. Gary's watertight logic: if NFT prices dip, they're on the same path as the most successful corporation in human history; buy the dip! NFTs aren't businesses or museum-worthy art. They're bs.
Gary Vee compares NFTs to Amazon.com. vm.tiktok.com/TTPdA9TyH2
We grew up collecting: Magic: The Gathering (MTG) cards printed in the 90s are now worth over $30,000. Imagine buying a digital Magic card with no underlying foundation. No one plays the game because it doesn't exist. An NFT is a contextless image someone conned you into buying a certificate for, but anyone may copy, paste, and use. Replace MTG with Pokemon for younger readers.
When Gary Vee strongarms 30 tech billionaires and YouTube influencers into buying CryptoPunks, they'll talk about it on Twitch, YouTube, podcasts, Twitter, etc. That will convince average folks that the product has value. These guys are smart and/or rich, so I'll get in early like them. Cryptography is similar. No solid, scaled, mainstream use case exists, and no one knows where it's headed, but since the global crypto financial bubble hasn't burst and many people have made insane fortunes, regular people are putting real money into something that is highly speculative and could be nothing because they want a piece of the action. Who doesn’t want free money? Rich techies and influencers won't be affected; normal folks will.
Imagine removing every $1 invested in Bitcoin instantly. What would happen? How far would Bitcoin fall? Over 90%, maybe even 95%, and Bitcoin would be dead. Bitcoin as an investment is the only scalable widespread use case: it's confidence that a better use case will arise and that being early pays handsomely. It's like pouring a trillion dollars into a company with no business strategy or users and a CEO who makes vague future references.
New tech and efforts may provoke a 'get off my lawn' mentality as you approach 40, but I've always prided myself on having a decent bullshit detector, and it's flying off the handle at this foolishness. If we can accomplish a functional, responsible, equitable, and ethical user-owned internet, I'm for it.
I wanted to summarize my opinions because I've been angry about this for a while but just sporadically tweeted about it. A friend handed me a Dan Olson YouTube video just before publication. He's more knowledgeable, articulate, and convincing about crypto. It's worth seeing:
This post is a summary. See the original one here.
1 year ago
VeeFriends Series 2: The Biggest NFT Opportunity Ever
VeeFriends is one NFT project I'm sure will last.
I believe in blockchain technology and JPEGs, aka NFTs. NFTs aren't JPEGs. It's not as it seems.
Gary Vaynerchuk is leading the pack with his new NFT project VeeFriends, I wrote a year ago. I was spot-on. It's the most innovative project I've seen.
Since its minting in May 2021, it has given its holders enormous value, most notably the first edition of VeeCon, a multi-day superconference featuring iconic and emerging leaders in NFTs and Popular Culture. First-of-its-kind NFT-ticketed Web3 conference to build friendships, share ideas, and learn together.
VeeFriends holders got free VeeCon NFT tickets. Attendees heard iconic keynote speeches, innovative talks, panels, and Q&A sessions.
It was a unique conference that most of us, including me, are looking forward to in 2023. The lineup was epic, and it allowed many to network in new ways. Really memorable learning. Here are a couple of gratitude posts from the attendees.
VeeFriends Series 2
This article explains VeeFriends if you're still confused.
GaryVee's hand-drawn doodles have evolved into wonderful characters. The characters' poses and backgrounds bring the VeeFriends IP to life.
Yes, this is the second edition of VeeFriends, and at current prices, it's one of the best NFT opportunities in years. If you have the funds and risk appetite to invest in NFTs, VeeFriends Series 2 is worth every penny. Even if you can't invest, learn from their journey.
1. Art Is the Start
Many critics say VeeFriends artwork is below average and not by GaryVee. Art is often the key to future success.
Let's look at one of the first Mickey Mouse drawings. No one would have guessed that this would become one of the most beloved animated short film characters. In Walt Before Mickey, Walt Disney's original mouse Mortimer was less refined.
First came a mouse...
These sketches evolved into Steamboat Willie, Disney's first animated short film.
Looking at how different cartoon characters have evolved and gained popularity over decades, I believe Series 2 characters like Self-Aware Hare, Kind Kudu, and Patient Pig can do the same.
GaryVee captures this journey on the blockchain and lets early supporters become part of history. Time will tell if it rivals Disney, Pokemon, or Star Wars. Gary has been vocal about this vision.
2. VeeFriends is Intellectual Property for the Coming Generations
Most of us grew up watching cartoons, playing with toys, cards, and video games. Our interactions with fictional characters and the stories we hear shape us.
GaryVee is slowly curating an experience for the next generation with animated videos, card games, merchandise, toys, and more.
VeeFriends UNO, a collaboration with Mattel Creations, features 17 VeeFriends characters.
VeeFriends and Zerocool recently released Trading Cards featuring all 268 Series 1 characters and 15 new ones. Another way to build VeeFriends' collectibles brand.
At Veecon, all the characters were collectible toys. Something will soon emerge.
Kids and adults alike enjoy the YouTube channel's animated shorts and VeeFriends Tunes. Here's a song by the holder's Optimistic Otter-loving daughter.
This VeeFriends story is only the beginning. I'm looking forward to animated short film series, coloring books, streetwear, candy, toys, physical collectibles, and other forms of VeeFriends IP.
3. Veefriends will always provide utilities
Smart contracts can be updated at any time and authenticated on a ledger.
VeeFriends Series 2 gives no promise of any utility whatsoever. GaryVee released no project roadmap. In the first few months after launch, many owners of specific characters or scenes received utilities.
Every benefit or perk you receive helps promote the VeeFriends brand.
Recent partnerships are listed below.
MaryRuth's Multivitamin Gummies
Productive Puffin holders from VeeFriends x Primitive
Pickleball Scene & Clown Holders Only
Pickleball & Competitive Clown Exclusive experience, anteater multivitamin gummies, and Puffin x Primitive merch
Considering the price of NFTs, it may not seem like much. It's just the beginning; you never know what the future holds. No other NFT project offers such diverse, ongoing benefits.
4. Garyvee's team is ready
Gary Vaynerchuk's team and record are undisputed. He's a serial entrepreneur and the Chairman & CEO of VaynerX, which includes VaynerMedia, VaynerCommerce, One37pm, and The Sasha Group.
Gary founded VaynerSports, Resy, and Empathy Wines. He's a Candy Digital Board Member, VCR Group Co-Founder, ArtOfficial Co-Founder, and VeeFriends Creator & CEO. Gary was recently named one of Fortune's Top 50 NFT Influencers.
Gary Vayenerchuk aka GaryVee
Gary documents his daily life as a CEO on social media, which has 34 million followers and 272 million monthly views. GaryVee Audio Experience is a top podcast. He's a five-time New York Times best-seller and sought-after speaker.
Gary can observe consumer behavior to predict trends. He understood these trends early and pioneered them.
1997 — Realized e-potential commerce's and started winelibrary.com. In five years, he grew his father's wine business from $3M to $60M.
2006 — Realized content marketing's potential and started Wine Library on YouTube. TV
2009 — Estimated social media's potential (Web2) and invested in Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
2014: Ethereum and Bitcoin investments
2021 — Believed in NFTs and Web3 enough to launch VeeFriends
GaryVee has said he'll let other businesses fail but not VeeFriends. We're just beginning his 40-year vision.
I have more confidence than ever in a company with a strong foundation and team.
5. Humans die, but characters live forever
What if GaryVee dies or can't work?
A writer's books can immortalize them. As long as their books exist, their words are immortal. Socrates, Hemingway, Aristotle, Twain, Fitzgerald, and others have become immortal.
Everyone knows Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night.
We all love reading and watching Peter Parker, Thor, or Jessica Jones. Their behavior inspires us. Stan Lee's message and stories live on despite his death.
GaryVee represents VeeFriends. Creating characters to communicate ensures that the message reaches even those who don't listen.
Gary wants his values and messages to be omnipresent in 268 characters. Messengers die, but their messages live on.
Gary envisions VeeFriends creating timeless stories and experiences. Ten years from now, maybe every kid will sing Patient Pig.
6. I love the intent.
Gary planned to create Workplace Warriors three years ago when he began designing Patient Panda, Accountable Ant, and Empathy elephant. The project stalled. When NFTs came along, he knew.
Gary wanted to create characters with traits he values, such as accountability, empathy, patience, kindness, and self-awareness. He wants future generations to find these traits cool. He hopes one or more of his characters will become pop culture icons.
These emotional skills aren't taught in schools or colleges, but they're crucial for business and life success. I love that someone is teaching this at scale.
In the end, intent matters.
Humans Are Collectors
Buy and collect things to communicate. Since the 1700s. Medieval people formed communities around hidden metals and stones. Many people still collect stamps and coins, and luxury and fashion are multi-trillion dollar industries. We're collectors.
The early 2020s NFTs will be remembered in the future. VeeFriends will define a cultural and technological shift in this era. VeeFriends Series 1 is the original hand-drawn art, but it's expensive. VeeFriends Series 2 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at $1,000.
If you are new to NFTs, check out How to Buy a Non Fungible Token (NFT) For Beginners
This is a non-commercial article. Not financial or legal advice. Information isn't always accurate. Before making important financial decisions, consult a pro or do your own research.
This post is a summary. Read the full article here
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David Z. Morris
9 months ago
FTX's crash was no accident, it was a crime
Sam Bankman Fried (SDBF) is a legendary con man. But the NYT might not tell you that...
Since SBF's empire was revealed to be a lie, mainstream news organizations and commentators have failed to give readers a straightforward assessment. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have uncovered many key facts about the scandal, but they have also soft-peddled Bankman-Fried's intent and culpability.
It's clear that the FTX crypto exchange and Alameda Research committed fraud to steal money from users and investors. That’s why a recent New York Times interview was widely derided for seeming to frame FTX’s collapse as the result of mismanagement rather than malfeasance. A Wall Street Journal article lamented FTX's loss of charitable donations, bolstering Bankman's philanthropic pose. Matthew Yglesias, court chronicler of the neoliberal status quo, seemed to whitewash his own entanglements by crediting SBF's money with helping Democrats in 2020 – sidestepping the likelihood that the money was embezzled.
Many outlets have called what happened to FTX a "bank run" or a "run on deposits," but Bankman-Fried insists the company was overleveraged and disorganized. Both attempts to frame the fallout obscure the core issue: customer funds misused.
Because banks lend customer funds to generate returns, they can experience "bank runs." If everyone withdraws at once, they can experience a short-term cash crunch but there won't be a long-term problem.
Crypto exchanges like FTX aren't banks. They don't do bank-style lending, so a withdrawal surge shouldn't strain liquidity. FTX promised customers it wouldn't lend or use their crypto.
Alameda's balance sheet blurs SBF's crypto empire.
The funds were sent to Alameda Research, where they were apparently gambled away. This is massive theft. According to a bankruptcy document, up to 1 million customers could be affected.
In less than a month, reporting and the bankruptcy process have uncovered a laundry list of decisions and practices that would constitute financial fraud if FTX had been a U.S.-regulated entity, even without crypto-specific rules. These ploys may be litigated in U.S. courts if they enabled the theft of American property.
The list is very, very long.
The many crimes of Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX
At the heart of SBF's fraud are the deep and (literally) intimate ties between FTX and Alameda Research, a hedge fund he co-founded. An exchange makes money from transaction fees on user assets, but Alameda trades and invests its own funds.
Bankman-Fried called FTX and Alameda "wholly separate" and resigned as Alameda's CEO in 2019. The two operations were closely linked. Bankman-Fried and Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison were romantically linked.
These circumstances enabled SBF's sin. Within days of FTX's first signs of weakness, it was clear the exchange was funneling customer assets to Alameda for trading, lending, and investing. Reuters reported on Nov. 12 that FTX sent $10 billion to Alameda. As much as $2 billion was believed to have disappeared after being sent to Alameda. Now the losses look worse.
It's unclear why those funds were sent to Alameda or when Bankman-Fried betrayed his depositors. On-chain analysis shows most FTX to Alameda transfers occurred in late 2021, and bankruptcy filings show both lost $3.7 billion in 2021.
SBF's companies lost millions before the 2022 crypto bear market. They may have stolen funds before Terra and Three Arrows Capital, which killed many leveraged crypto players.
FTT loans and prints
CoinDesk's report on Alameda's FTT holdings ignited FTX and Alameda Research. FTX created this instrument, but only a small portion was traded publicly; FTX and Alameda held the rest. These holdings were illiquid, meaning they couldn't be sold at market price. Bankman-Fried valued its stock at the fictitious price.
FTT tokens were reportedly used as collateral for loans, including FTX loans to Alameda. Close ties between FTX and Alameda made the FTT token harder or more expensive to use as collateral, reducing the risk to customer funds.
This use of an internal asset as collateral for loans between clandestinely related entities is similar to Enron's 1990s accounting fraud. These executives served 12 years in prison.
Alameda's margin liquidation exemption
Alameda Research had a "secret exemption" from FTX's liquidation and margin trading rules, according to legal filings by FTX's new CEO.
FTX, like other crypto platforms and some equity or commodity services, offered "margin" or loans for trades. These loans are usually collateralized, meaning borrowers put up other funds or assets. If a margin trade loses enough money, the exchange will sell the user's collateral to pay off the initial loan.
Keeping asset markets solvent requires liquidating bad margin positions. Exempting Alameda would give it huge advantages while exposing other FTX users to hidden risks. Alameda could have kept losing positions open while closing out competitors. Alameda could lose more on FTX than it could pay back, leaving a hole in customer funds.
The exemption is criminal in multiple ways. FTX was fraudulently marketed overall. Instead of a level playing field, there were many customers.
Above them all, with shotgun poised, was Alameda Research.
Alameda front-running FTX listings
Argus says there's circumstantial evidence that Alameda Research had insider knowledge of FTX's token listing plans. Alameda was able to buy large amounts of tokens before the listing and sell them after the price bump.
If true, these claims would be the most brazenly illegal of Alameda and FTX's alleged shenanigans. Even if the tokens aren't formally classified as securities, insider trading laws may apply.
In a similar case this year, an OpenSea employee was charged with wire fraud for allegedly insider trading. This employee faces 20 years in prison for front-running monkey JPEGs.
Huge loans to executives
Alameda Research reportedly lent FTX executives $4.1 billion, including massive personal loans. Bankman-Fried received $1 billion in personal loans and $2.3 billion for an entity he controlled, Paper Bird. Nishad Singh, director of engineering, was given $543 million, and FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salame received $55 million.
FTX has more smoking guns than a Texas shooting range, but this one is the smoking bazooka – a sign of criminal intent. It's unclear how most of the personal loans were used, but liquidators will have to recoup the money.
The loans to Paper Bird were even more worrisome because they created another related third party to shuffle assets. Forbes speculates that some Paper Bird funds went to buy Binance's FTX stake, and Paper Bird committed hundreds of millions to outside investments.
FTX Inner Circle: Who's Who
That included many FTX-backed VC funds. Time will tell if this financial incest was criminal fraud. It fits Bankman-pattern Fried's of using secret flows, leverage, and funny money to inflate asset prices.
FTT or loan 'bailouts'
Also. As the crypto bear market continued in 2022, Bankman-Fried proposed bailouts for bankrupt crypto lenders BlockFi and Voyager Digital. CoinDesk was among those deceived, welcoming SBF as a J.P. Morgan-style sector backstop.
In a now-infamous interview with CNBC's "Squawk Box," Bankman-Fried referred to these decisions as bets that may or may not pay off.
But maybe not. Bloomberg's Matt Levine speculated that FTX backed BlockFi with FTT money. This Monopoly bailout may have been intended to hide FTX and Alameda liabilities that would have been exposed if BlockFi went bankrupt sooner. This ploy has no name, but it echoes other corporate frauds.
Secret bank purchase
Alameda Research invested $11.5 million in the tiny Farmington State Bank, doubling its net worth. As a non-U.S. entity and an investment firm, Alameda should have cleared regulatory hurdles before acquiring a U.S. bank.
In the context of FTX, the bank's stake becomes "ominous." Alameda and FTX could have done more shenanigans with bank control. Compare this to the Bank for Credit and Commerce International's failed attempts to buy U.S. banks. BCCI was even nefarious than FTX and wanted to buy U.S. banks to expand its money-laundering empire.
The mainstream's mistakes
These are complex and nuanced forms of fraud that echo traditional finance models. This obscurity helped Bankman-Fried masquerade as an honest player and likely kept coverage soft after the collapse.
Bankman-Fried had a scruffy, nerdy image, like Mark Zuckerberg and Adam Neumann. In interviews, he spoke nonsense about an industry full of jargon and complicated tech. Strategic donations and insincere ideological statements helped him gain political and social influence.
SBF' s'Effective' Altruism Blew Up FTX
Bankman-Fried has continued to muddy the waters with disingenuous letters, statements, interviews, and tweets since his con collapsed. He's tried to portray himself as a well-intentioned but naive kid who made some mistakes. This is a softer, more pernicious version of what Trump learned from mob lawyer Roy Cohn. Bankman-Fried doesn't "deny, deny, deny" but "confuse, evade, distort."
It's mostly worked. Kevin O'Leary, who plays an investor on "Shark Tank," repeats Bankman-SBF's counterfactuals. O'Leary called Bankman-Fried a "savant" and "probably one of the most accomplished crypto traders in the world" in a Nov. 27 interview with Business Insider, despite recent data indicating immense trading losses even when times were good.
O'Leary's status as an FTX investor and former paid spokesperson explains his continued affection for Bankman-Fried despite contradictory evidence. He's not the only one promoting Bankman-Fried. The disgraced son of two Stanford law professors will defend himself at Wednesday's DealBook Summit.
SBF's fraud and theft rival those of Bernie Madoff and Jho Low. Whether intentionally or through malign ineptitude, the fraud echoes Worldcom and Enron.
The Perverse Impacts of Anti-Money-Laundering
The principals in all of those scandals wound up either sentenced to prison or on the run from the law. Sam Bankman-Fried clearly deserves to share their fate.
Read the full article here.
8 months ago
The result of my side-hustle blog post with ChatGPT is remarkable.
It's free now.
Most content writers—including me—write about side hustles because they do well.
I wrote several articles on a profitable programming side hustle.
Later, I learnt about AI content-generating platforms like Jasper.ai and Copy.ai, which I thought were terrible because they required subscriptions and had bad content. Even I dislike automatic online posting.
Since ChatGPT is becoming more popular, I tried it. It's free now.
Note: I wasn’t compensated to write this piece by this tool. In other words, I don’t receive any payment from their founders. There is no affiliate link, and right now it is free to use. Also, ChatGPT can do a lot more than what I ever did.
OpenAI account registration requires visiting the website (if you don’t have one). Just write anything into the chatbot and get a response.
First, I wrote about the top 10 2023 side businesses.
This came in seconds.
2023 is shaping up to be a year of growth and opportunity for entrepreneurs and side hustlers. With the rise of remote work and the growing gig economy, there are many income streams to consider launching in the coming year. Here are the top 10 income streams to launch in 2023:
Virtual Assistant — The demand for virtual assistants is on the rise as more businesses move online. As a virtual assistant, you can offer administrative, technical, or creative services to clients remotely.
Online Tutoring — If you have expertise in a particular subject, consider becoming an online tutor. There are many platforms that connect tutors with students looking for help with their studies.
Freelance Writing — If you have a knack for writing, consider becoming a freelance writer. You can offer your services to businesses, bloggers, and individuals looking for content for their websites or social media platforms.
Graphic Design — If you have a talent for design, consider starting a graphic design side hustle. You can create logos, banners, and other visual content for businesses and individuals.
Social Media Management — Many businesses are looking for help with managing their social media accounts. As a social media manager, you can help businesses create and execute social media strategies to reach their target audience.
Dropshipping — Dropshipping is a business model where you sell products without actually holding any inventory. You can partner with suppliers and ship the products directly to the customer on behalf of the business.
Pet Sitting — If you love animals, consider starting a pet-sitting side hustle. You can offer your services to pet owners who need someone to take care of their pets while they are away.
Home Cleaning — With busy schedules, many people are looking for help with cleaning their homes. As a home cleaning service provider, you can offer your services to help keep homes tidy and organized.
Event Planning — If you have a talent for organization and planning, consider starting an event planning side hustle. You can offer your services to help plan and execute events for businesses and individuals.
Online Teaching — With the rise of online education, there is a growing demand for online teachers. If you have expertise in a particular subject, consider becoming an online teacher and offer your services to students looking for personalized instruction.
In conclusion, 2023 is shaping up to be a great year for launching new income streams. Whether you are looking to start a virtual assistant business, become an online tutor, or offer home cleaning services, there are many opportunities to turn your skills and expertise into a profitable side hustle.
Better than most online side hustle posts, right?
Write about the top 10 programming side hustles to start in 2023.
I got this.
If you are a programmer looking to start a side hustle, 2023 is the perfect time to launch your own business. With the growing demand for software and app development, there are many opportunities for programmers to turn their skills into a profitable side hustle. Here are the top 10 programming side hustles to start in 2023:
App Development — With the rise of smartphones and tablets, there is a growing demand for app development. You can offer your services to businesses and individuals looking to create custom apps for their needs.
Website Development — Many businesses and individuals are looking for help with creating and maintaining their websites. As a website developer, you can offer your services to help design, build, and manage websites for your clients.
Software Development — If you have expertise in a particular programming language, consider starting a software development side hustle. You can offer your services to businesses and individuals looking to create custom software solutions for their needs.
Game Development — The gaming industry is thriving, and there is a growing demand for game development. If you have experience in game development, you can offer your services to businesses and individuals looking to create custom games.
Data Analysis — With the rise of big data, there is a growing demand for data analysts. As a data analyst, you can offer your services to businesses and individuals looking to make sense of their data and gain insights from it.
Machine Learning — Machine learning is a rapidly growing field, and there is a growing demand for machine learning experts. If you have experience in machine learning, you can offer your services to businesses and individuals looking to develop custom machine learning solutions.
Cloud Computing — With the rise of cloud computing, there is a growing demand for cloud experts. If you have experience in cloud computing, you can offer your services to businesses and individuals looking to migrate their applications and data to the cloud.
Blockchain Development — Blockchain technology is gaining popularity, and there is a growing demand for blockchain developers. If you have experience in blockchain development, you can offer your services to businesses and individuals looking to develop custom blockchain solutions.
Artificial Intelligence — Artificial intelligence is a rapidly growing field, and there is a growing demand for AI experts. If you have experience in artificial intelligence, you can offer your services to businesses and individuals looking to develop custom AI solutions.
Virtual Reality — Virtual reality is an exciting and emerging technology, and there is a growing demand for VR developers. If you have experience in VR development, you can offer your services to businesses and individuals looking to create custom VR experiences.
In conclusion, 2023 is a great time to start a programming side hustle. Whether you are interested in app development, website development, or machine learning, there are many opportunities for programmers to turn their skills into a profitable business.
These two blogs show that AI can simplify blog authoring.
I asked some tough programming questions, and most were suitable.
The content may occasionally not be what we want, but it will almost always be very helpful to you.
9 months ago
An Average Day in the Life of a 25-Year-Old -A Rich Man's At-Home Unemployed Girlfriend
And morning water bottle struggles.
Welcome to my TikTok, where I share my stay-at-home life! I'll show you my usual day from morning to night.
I rise early to prepare my guy iced coffee. I make matcha, my favorite drink. I also fill our water bottles, which takes time and effort, so I record and describe the procedure. As you see me perform the unthinkable by putting a water bottle in a soda machine, you'll see my magnificent but unowned condo. My lover has everything, including:
In the living room, a sizable velvet alabaster divan. I was unable to use the words white or sofa in place of alabaster or a divan since they are insufficiently elegant and do not adequately convey how opulent the item is. The price tag on the divan was another huge feature; I'm sure my lover wouldn't purchase any furniture for less than $20k because it would be beneath him.
A plush Swiss coffee-colored Tabriz carpet. Once more, white is a color associated with the underclass; for us, the wealthy, it's alabaster or swiss coffee. Sorry, my boyfriend is wealthy; I'm truly in the same situation. And yet, I’m the one whos freeloading off of him, not you haha!
Soft translucent powder is the hue of the vinyl wallcoverings. I merely made up the name of that hue, but I have to maintain the online character I've established. There is no room for adopting language typical of peasant people; I must reiterate that I am wealthy while they are not.
I rest after filling our water bottles. I'm really fatigued from chores. My boyfriend is skeptical about hiring a housekeeper and cook. Does he assume I'm a servant or maid? I can't be overly demanding or throw a tantrum since he may replace me with a younger version. Leonardo Di Caprio's fault!
After the break, I bring my lover a water bottle. He's off to work with my best wishes. After cleaning the shower, I text my BF saying I broke a nail. He charged $675 for a crystal-topped shellac manicure. Lucky me!
After this morning's crazy choirs, especially the water bottle one, I'm famished. I dress quickly and go to the neighborhood organic-vegan-gluten-free-sugar-free-plasma-free-GMO-free-HBO-free breakfast place. Most folks can't afford $17.99 for a caffeine-free-mushroom-plus-mud-and-electrolytes morning beverage. It goes nicely with my matcha. Eggs Benedict cost $68. English muffins are off-limits. I can't make myself obese. My partner said he'd swap me for a 19-year-old Eastern European if I keep eating bacon.
I leave no tip since tipping is too much pressure and math for me, so I go shopping.
My shopping adventures have gotten monotonous. 47 designer bags and 114 bag covers Birkins need their own luggage. My babies! I've never caught my BF with a baby. I have sleeping medications and a turkey baster. Tatiana is much younger and thinner than me, so I can't lose him to her. The goal is to become a stay-at-home wife shortly. A turkey baster is essential.
After spending $955 on La Mer lotions and getting a crystal manicure, I nap. Before my boyfriend's return, I can nap for 5 hours.
I wake up around 4 pm — it’s time to prepare dinner. Yes, I said “prepare for dinner,” not “prepare dinner.” I have crystals on my nails! Do you really think I would cook? No way.
My husband's arrival still requires much work. I clean the kitchen, get cutlery and napkins. I order UberEats while my BF is 30-45 minutes away.
Wagyu steaks with Matsutake mushroom soup today. I pick desserts for my lover but not myself. Eastern European threat?
When my BF gets home from work, we eat. I don't believe in tipping UberEats drivers. If he wants to appreciate life's finer things, he should locate a rich woman.
After eating, we plan our getaway. I requested Aruba's fanciest hotel for winter and expect a butler. We're bickering over who gets the butler. We may need two.
Day's end, I'm exhausted. Stay-at-home girlfriends put in a lot of time and work. Work and duties are never-ending.
Before bed, I shower and use a liquid gold mask in my 27-step makeup procedure. It's a French luxury brand, not La Mer.
Here's my day.
Note: I like satire and absurd trends. Stay-at-home-girlfriend TikTok videos have become popular recently.
I don't shame or support such agreements; I'm just an observer. Thanks for reading.