As the NFT profile pic trend continues, so too do the arguments over usage rights, permissions, and who gets to show off their cartoon ape or punk.
On Boxing Day, Jillian York, an author and director at digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, noticed her portrait was being used in a new NFT collection called “Cipher Punks.”
The collection had intended to honor key players in the Cypherpunk movement, a broad term that references advocates of cryptography and other privacy-enhancing technologies (like blockchain). The term stems from an eponymous mailing list first launched in 1992.
But some of the esteemed cypherpunks that were tokenized weren’t having any of it. Jillian York tweeted: “I don’t approve of this whatsoever and would like it removed.”
Now we see what happens when creators purloin portraits of digital rights activists without asking them… In retrospect, the project, despite good intentions, was ill-advised. On December 28, it shut down and returned all the funds it raised.
In an apology posted to Medium the next day, the project wrote: “Unfortunately, many Cypher Punks were against this idea and didn’t want to participate in any way. We respect that. We really do. So we apologize to each and every Cypher Punk for not taking consent and creating your NFTs.”
Cipher Punks burned most of the offending NFTs, except the ones that had been sold. They have offered to buy back the sold NFTs and burn them, and if any remaining NFTs weren’t returned within 24 hours, they’d donate the remaining balance to Wikileaks.
Oh, and York also absolutely hated the artwork.
Meanwhile, Ozzy Osbourne announced his first NFT collection, called (what else?) “Cryptobatz.” The collection celebrates the fact that on January 20, it will be 40 years since the fateful moment when Ozzy first bit a bat’s head off during a concert in Des Moines, Iowa.
The legendary English rock singer tweeted the news: “I’m launching a fucking NFT project. 9,666 unique bats designed by yours truly…”
What’s different about Ozzy’s project is that each “Cryptobat” will give its purchaser the opportunity to “bite” and “mutate” another NFT in their wallet to create a whole new NFT. Currently, three projects so far have been named Cryptobat compatible: Bored Ape Yacht Club, SupDucks, and Cryptotoadz.
That sure beats a bat plush toy with a detachable head.
Stolen apes, celebrity apes
It was another rowdy week for Bored Ape Yacht Club.
On Thursday night, NFT collector Todd Kramer tweeted that a hacker had stolen 15 of his Bored Ape and Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFTs. The haul amounted to about $2.2 million worth of stolen crypto art, including $1.9 million in apes. Todd described it as “arguably the worst night of my life.”
In a now-deleted tweet, Kramer claimed someone stepped in and froze the stolen NFTs, prompting much speculation as too who helped and how. Several believe it was OpenSea – the market hosting the tokens – but there was no official confirmation from OpenSea. In any case, one Twitter user described the measure of freezing the NFTs as “pretty anti crypto” given blockchain’s ethos of decentralized ownership.
Crypto Twitter also had a field day teasing Kramer’s misfortune. One of the many mocking replies to Kramer’s announcement of the theft said: “Wow, that’s so shitty, I’m really sorry dude. But please change your pfp since you no longer own it.”
Wow, that’s so shitty, I’m really sorry dude. But please change your pfp since you no longer own it.
— Adam ✡️ אדם 🚩🏴 (@askeeve) December 30, 2021
He has a point—especially with Twitter working on an NFT integration that would stop people from using certain NFTs as their profile picture unless they’ve verified it on blockchain.
While Kramer was lamenting his stolen Apes, Eminem bought an Ape and changed his profile picture to flaunt the new asset.
Back on November 2, NFT collector @Gee_Gazza predicted this, tweeting “I still think @Eminem is destined to buy my @BoredApeYC one day.”
Eminem may have ignited a celeb Ape streak: both Britney Spears and Dave Chappelle are rumored to have bought Apes over the weekend, but neither has confirmed it was really them. If either changes their official Twitter profile pic to the Ape, we can take that as confirmation…
While the wider crypto market for fungible tokens slumped this past week, the excitement around non-fungibles was clear as day on Crypto Twitter.