The crypto market was already having an ugly 2022, but crashed even harder this week, shaving almost half a trillion dollars from the global market cap in 24 hours between Friday and Saturday. Bitcoin and Ethereum sank to prices not seen since summer last year.
Crypto Twitter, as it typically does, turned to humor and memes to get through the misery. And of course, while pundits were focused on the price crash, that was far from the only chatter on Crypto Twitter, which turned its attention to mocking one DAO’s confusion over intellectual property and Twitter’s controversial leap into verifying NFT PFPs.
Market misery… and memes
The crypto market has been depressing all year, but things got much worse this past week. HODLers mostly coped with the bloodbath with jokes and memes. Without further ado, here were just a few of our favorites.
people don’t even make fun of me in texts anymore they send consoling texts as if my life is ruined
— Neeraj K. Agrawal (@NeerajKA) January 22, 2022
as far as my family knows, i’m a terrific cryptocurrency investor, prices are at all time highs and it’s up only
— Mike DAOdas (🏌️♂️, ⛳️) (@mdudas) January 21, 2022
…And not all the tweets about the market crash were jokes. Many prominent crypto investors and entrepreneurs went with earnest, optimistic encouragement reminiscent of the “put our heads down and build” mantra of the last crypto winter in 2018.
Instead of checking prices every minute, it’s healthier to go heads down and build.
— Amy Wu (@amytongwu) January 23, 2022
An elitist mentality ngmi in crypto but the fake big brain explanations of why a copycat project has value ngmi either. Let’s watch all the bullshit in this space get flushed out so the authentic communities can really flourish
— perceptive.eth (@NTmoney) January 22, 2022
The Dune Bible DAO fiasco
Devoted Decrypt readers may remember that back in December we reported on Spice DAO, another in the recent parade of decentralized autonomous organizations that formed with the purpose of buying a physical asset. The group forked out $3 million for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “Dune Bible.” The rare book is a storyboard for an unmade movie (not to be confused with David Lynch’s “Dune” in 1984, or the 2021 adaptation directed by Denis Villeneuve).
Last Saturday, Spice DAO unveiled its post-auction master plan: it planned to “make the book public” and “produce an original animated limited series inspired by the book and sell it to a streaming service.”
We won the auction for €2.66M. Now our mission is to:
1. Make the book public (to the extent permitted by law)
2. Produce an original animated limited series inspired by the book and sell it to a streaming service
3. Support derivative projects from the community pic.twitter.com/g4QnF6YZBp
— Spice DAO (🏜,🏜) (@TheSpiceDAO) January 15, 2022
But owning a copy of the document does not equate to owning the commercial rights to the story. And the contents of Jodorowsky’s “Dune Bible” are already public, viewable on a Google drive here. The group’s apparent confusion confirmed some of the flaws people have identified with DAOs and their ambitious aims.
When Monday rolled around, Crypto Twitter (and the mainstream media) had a field day making fun of the group’s misconceptions. Gary Brannan from the web series “Two of These People are Lying” tweeted: “I have genuinely spent 10 minutes starting at this but, no, it really DOES appear to be true that a bunch of cryptobros just spent €2.6 MILLION – 100x the asking price – for a book at auction in the mistaken belief that they would therefore own the copyright in it.”
I have genuinely spent 10 minutes starting at this but, no, it really DOES appear to be true that a bunch of cryptobros just spent €2.6 MILLION – 100x the asking price – for a book at auction in the mistaken belief that they would therefore own the copyright in it. https://t.co/2HmaGWHKWF
— Gary Brannan (@garybrannan) January 17, 2022
Ethereum team lead Péter Szilágyi reacted to a proposal that the DAO burn the original book with this harsh indictment: “And we wonder why people hate crypto. I’m ashamed to have enabled someone to even think about doing this.”
Buy an original pre-print of Dune for $3M, scan and sell the pages on #Ethereum at $60K a pop (~$13M profit), burn the original book.https://t.co/JduLhgGJjr
And we wonder why people hate crypto. I’m ashamed to have enabled someone to even think about doing this.
— Péter Szilágyi (karalabe.eth) (@peter_szilagyi) January 17, 2022
On Thursday, Spice DAO posted a Twitter thread addressing “common misconceptions” about the project, and confirmed it now understands that it doesn’t own the rights: “Yes. After two months of outreach, conversations with former business partners and consultations with legal counsel we were not able to reach an agreement with any of the rights holders involved in the creation of the contents of the artist’s book.”
Our project has been receiving a lot of attention 🙏 and we’d like to address some of the most common misconceptions 🧵👇 pic.twitter.com/J7Bix6iEPD
— Spice DAO (🏜,🏜) (@TheSpiceDAO) January 20, 2022
Spice DAO also played down the book burning, saying that it was a proposal by a stranger, which had been left up on the Discord server, until the community flagged it as inappropriate and the post was taken down.
In spite of the major setbacks, Spice DAO has since tweeted that it will continue to push for a “Dune” animated series based on Jodorowsky’s Bible. They’ve got Alex Garland on their wish list for the screenwriter…
Bukele mocks fake news about Moody’s, buys the dip
El Salvador’s Bitcoin-maxi president is a regular fixture in this roundup. And this week his account was busier than usual.
On Monday, finance site Investing.com tweeted out this screaming headline: “MOODY’S DOWNGRADES EL SALVADOR SOVEREIGN DEBT DUE TO #BITCOIN TRADES.” The tweet also included a map of El Salvador, with the name changed to “El Hodlador.”
Bukele blasted an all-caps reply: “BREAKING: EL SALVADOR DGAF.”
It turns out Investing.com’s headline was wrong, according to Bloomberg. Moody’s had downgraded El Salvador’s credit rating last July, but has not changed the rating since.
When Bukele isn’t angrily replying to critics, he’s proudly declaring that he bought the Bitcoin dip, and on Friday he did so again. He replied to one of his own tweets from the week before, when he complained about missing the dip, and added: “Nope, I was wrong, didn’t miss it. El Salvador just bought 410 #bitcoin for only 15 million dollars.”
Nope, I was wrong, didn’t miss it.
El Salvador just bought 410 #bitcoin for only 15 million dollars 🥳
Some guys are selling really cheap 🤷🏻♂️ https://t.co/vEUEzp5UdU
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) January 21, 2022
Budweiser, Burger King, and Netflix are crypto curious
The big brand news on Crypto Twitter this week was that Budweiser purchased its first NFT. The Bud Lite Twitter account shared the news with a square specs emoji to show it had bought a Nouns NFT. The account also changed its profile picture to showcase the avatar.
Nouns is a DAO which mints one unique NFT avatar a day. The avatars are low resolution a la CryptoPunks. What’s fascinating about Nouns is that the money for each NFT gets funneled into the DAO’s treasury. NFT holders then vote on how the money is spent. Each NFT is worth one vote, and holders choose from projects and initiatives that will become open-source intellectual property
Meanwhile, Burger King on Tuesday hinted it’s curious about NFTs—or it was just trolling. The fast food giant’s UK arm tweeted: “ok we’ll bite what’s an NFT.”
ok we’ll bite what’s an NFT
— Burger King (@BurgerKingUK) January 18, 2022
Netflix’s “Netflix Engineering” solicited the same NFT advice from its followers, tweeting: “What are your thoughts on NFTs?”
What are your thoughts on NFTs?
— Netflix Engineering (@NetflixEng) January 21, 2022
Twitter debuts NFT PFPs, to the chagrin of NFT haters
On Thursday, Twitter rolled out verified NFT profile pictures. But there are a few catches: the feature is currently only for Twitter Blue subscribers, only on iOS (though Android users can still see the NFT profile pictures), and only in the U.S., U.K., Canada and New Zealand.
The new feature allows you to prove you own an NFT (if it’s minted on Ethereum and verified by OpenSea), and Twitter will reflect the verification with a hexagonal border.
But the hexagon quickly became an object of ridicule and target for NFT haters.
twitter just asked me if i wanted to make my pfp an NFT i’m shaking i’m throwing up i’m crying i just wanna go back in time before those nerds made this shit mainstream make it stop please it’s everywhere oh god they’re coming have mercy
— Emma 🦷 (@emmalangevin) January 20, 2022
Tesla CEO and Dogecoin pumper Elon Musk was also unimpressed with the feature. He tweeted: “This is annoying” before later adding: “Twitter is spending engineering resources on this bs while crypto scammers are throwing a spambot block party in every thread!?”
Twitter is spending engineering resources on this bs while crypto scammers are throwing a spambot block party in every thread!?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2022
The next few weeks will prove out whether the NFT fanatics embrace the hexagons despite the ridicule, or fold to the noise and make the feature a failure. Musk is right about those spambots, though.