Archived: Web3 is going just great

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A timeline of some of the greatest hits in cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and other web3 projects since the beginning of 2021

ReadArchived gives borrowers in some jurisdictions a week to pay back their loans sent out an unexpected email to some users, apparently primarily in the EU, announcing that "Lending is no longer supported in your jurisdiction... [and] we are required to cancel your current loans". The email stated that if a borrower was unable to repay their loans by March 15, seven days from the date the email was sent, "outstanding loans and the associated interest will be automatically repaid". This seems like a tough timeline for borrowers, whose loans are twelve months long, and given people tend to spend the cash they've borrowed on something, rather than, say, hold on to it in case they need to suddenly repay a loan with a week's notice.

Reddit users from the UK, Germany, France, and Switzerland reported receiving the email, and those countries now all appear on the 40-entry-long list of countries not permitted to use's lending services. One Reddit user wrote, "I have 7 days to pay a big loan, like big. If it gave us a month I could unstake and pay, but no, they give us 7 [days], I will get liquified and can’t do anything for it." Other users were confused to receive the email when they didn't have any loans on the platform, as it was worded in a way that they interpreted to mean they did.

Ormeus Coin founder charged with securities fraud for misrepresenting cryptomining operations and other assets

John Barksdale, part of the sibling duo behind Ormeus Coin, was charged with conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud for his role in selling the Ormeus Coin token. He allegedly falsely represented the mining assets controlled by the company, claiming a mining operation that would have been one of the largest in the world, if his representations were true. The company also claimed to have reserves of Bitcoin backing their currency, when in reality these "reserves" belonged to a completely different entity. Through these misrepresentations, which were widely published including in a Times Square billboard, Barksdale drew $70 million in investment from around 12,000 individuals. The various charges Barksdale is facing involve maximum sentences between 5 and 20 years in prison.

Andre Cronje and Anton Nell suddenly ditch their 20+ defi projects

Andre Cronje and Anton Nell, the prolific developers of around 25 defi projects including and the new Solidly exchange, suddenly announced on Twitter that they would be quitting defi and shutting down their projects. "Unlike previous 'building in defi sucks' rage quits, this is not a knee jerk reaction to the hate received from releasing a project, but a decision that has been coming for a while now", wrote Nell. The sudden announcement caused several tokens associated with the projects to plunge in value. Some people were quite upset with the two developers, with one Twitter user writing, "People lock up billions of dollars for 4 years and dev announces it's being terminated in a month. Defi truly is the future of finance." Others were confused by the statement that the decision was a long time coming, when one of their projects, Solidly, had launched only a month before.

BattleCatsArena apparently rug pulls several weeks after launch

The NFT project BattleCatsArena appears to have rug pulled on March 5, about three weeks after its launch. The project had been announced late last year, with a post from its creator danvee.eth explaining, "After seeing lots of projects with zero utility and surviving 2 rug pulls I decided that it’s time to build a real product that will deliver value to its holders from day one." The project had an ambitious roadmap, featuring NFTs, cat shelter donations, and of course a game with several play modes. Minting began on February 16, though the launch was somewhat disappointing—only around 400 of the 500 available BattleCats were minted in the three weeks following launch, and trading volume was low. On March 6, the project apparently deleted its Twitter account, and danvee.eth claimed the Discord had been hacked. All told, the project earned almost 21 ETH ($55,000). danvee.eth wrote on Twitter that he would try to refund people who wished to be refunded (so long as they were nice to him); as of that day no refunds had been sent from addresses associated with the project.

NeosVR virtual reality project jettisons its crypto component after a team blow-up

NeosVR, a virtual reality project originally released in 2018, introduced "Neos Credits" (NCR) in 2018 with the idea that it could enable in-game transactions. The crypto component was primarily managed by Karel Hulec, one of the project's team members. After cryptocurrencies and metaverse projects experienced a boom in 2021, crypto enthusiasts flooded into the project and drove up the value of the token. Some project members described the influx of people from the crypto community as having a strongly negative effect on the community, with one person writing they brought "all of its true slur-lovin' pepe-wearing glory to Neos". After some discontent within the team about the crypto side of operations, members of the team traded public statements with allegations about other members. On March 4, after Hulec released an updated whitepaper fraudulently (but perhaps mistakenly) "signed" by the rest of the team, the project creator and developer announced a proposal to allow Hulec to operate the cryptocurrency "on top of our work, but as a 3rd party solution, under a company solely under his ownership and direction", and for the primary team to cease involvement with the crypto component of the project.

Tai Lopez releases an exorbitantly-priced NFT project where people can buy access to him

The entrepreneur and motivational speaker Tai Lopez, of "here in my garage, just bought this new Lamborghini" fame, announced a new NFT project. The NFTs feature staggering list prices and promise "value" that all largely center around access to Lopez. Some of the highest-tier "Black Card" NFTs include, "1 on 1 Shadow Tai in Person at His Office" (2–3 hours, travel & accommodation not included), "1 on 1 Whatsapp Access to Tai's Personal Number", "1 on 1 Watch a Movie With Tai" (2-hour movie, Lopez picks), and "1 on 1 $10,000 HORSE Basketball game with Tai", and were presented in a Dutch auction beginning at 80 ETH ($210,000).

Some people in the crypto community responded with disdain at the project, describing it as a "cash grab". One NFT influencer tweeted "Hey @tailopez legit question: Why Would I pay 30-40k to watch a movie with you? or 80-90k for your WhatsApp? Who u think u are? U def have a shady reputation and doing this only adds more fuel to the fire. I respect anyone wanting to add value to NFTs but this is not the way." Others were surprised at the project's smart contract, which not only automatically transfers any money out of the project and into the team members' wallets, but requires the NFT buyer to pay the gas fee for that transaction in addition to normal gas fees for minting.

Nemus Earth plans to buy and protect land in the rainforest... with Ethereum NFTs and a Brazil nut plantation

A project called Nemus Earth has emerged, offering to sell you an Ethereum NFT to become a "Guardian" of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. The project has lofty plans to create a "protective belt" in the Brazilian Amazon to try to protect it from deforestation. The project's whitepaper goes on to explain that "economic activity is required" on the land that they will purchase, and outlines a plan to employ the Indigenous people in the area to farm Brazil nuts on an abandoned plantation the project intends to "revitalize". The project describes a "co-op" for the local people that will "unlock generational wealth for these communities", though there appear to be no plans for these people to actually join the community of "Guardians" or have any say in the project's governance. Other economic activity planned by the project apparently involves "sustainable forestry", "empower[ing] local police authorities", something involving drones, and of course generating carbon offsets for other projects.

The whitepaper also addresses that the project will be built on the Ethereum blockchain. There is a section about "pros & cons of Ethereum", which has one section: gas fees. Apparently the project based on environmental conservation has decided to simply gloss over the enormous energy consumption, emissions, and electronic waste stemming from the Ethereum blockchain.

The project opened its second round of minting on March 3, and is offering its NFTs for mint prices between 0.06 ETH and 19.44 ETH ($150 to $50,000).

OpenSea blocks Iranian users

Iranian users were surprised to find that their OpenSea accounts had been deactivated with no warning. One Iranian user wrote, "NOT A gm AT ALL. Woke up to my opensea trading account being deactivated/deleted without notice or any explanation, hearing lots of similar reports from other Iranian artists & collectors. What the hell is going on? Is OS straight up purging its users based on their country now?" At least one user who reported issues said that they are Iranian, but haven't lived there in years, and are based in Italy.

OpenSea said in a statement that "OpenSea blocks users and territories on the U.S. sanctions list from using our services", though it's unclear why this change seems to only have come into effect recently.

MetaMask and Infura block Venezuelan users, at least briefly

Users based in Venezuela suddenly found themselves unable to use the enormously popular crypto wallet, MetaMask, on March 3. MetaMask relies on Infura, a popular API platform for Ethereum, which had apparently blocked access for Venezuelan users. Both MetaMask and Infura are owned by the parent company ConsenSys. An FAQ page on MetaMask's website states that "MetaMask and Infura are unavailable in certain jurisdictions due to compliance with laws", though it does not specify which jurisdictions, or which laws.

Some Venezuelan users were furious with MetaMask, feeling that their choice to prevent them from using the platform was incompatible with the decentralized and deregulated nature of much of crypto. One Twitter user wrote, "MetaMask Do not tell me that you became Centralized, I have this problem and many people in Venezuela have the same".

ConsenSys later appeared to say that the block of Venezuelan users was in error, writing that "In changing some configurations as a result of the new sanctions directives from the United States and other jurisdictions mistakenly configured the settings more broadly than they needed to be".

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