In response to losing a JPG collection valued at nearly $2m to a phishing scam, Todd Kramer, curator of the Ross+Kramer art gallery in NYC and bonafide adult human being, took to a public forum to write these infamous four words: ‘all my apes gone.’ In honor of his fallen simians and dignity, we’ve decided to mint our new semi-occasional Kramer Award, recognizing those who’ve contributed to the global economy by surrendering their easy-earned capital to more competent hands.
Our inaugural award goes to @9x9x9eth, proud owner of ‘242 pudgy penguins’, who recently posted a rollercoaster of a Twitter thread about the sorry state of that 600eth investment. The gist is, after investing $2m in glorified Neopets, he became an advisor to the burgeoning Poptropica knockoff brand, which offered to sell him a 20% stake in the Pudgy Penguins enterprise for 4000eth ($13.5m). Wisely, 9x9x9eth turned it down, then, unwisely, spent his ‘personal ETH to maintain the floor at 2ETH for months’ while the company raised two rounds of investment on the promise of developing an MMORPG based on the penguins. (But, like, totally not Club Penguin.)
Well, the artificial floor fell out last night, when the founders allegedly reached back out to our honoree, offering him a 100% stake in the company for a mere $3m. Which I’m sure sounded great, prior to the realization that they had already emptied out the treasury to split among the founders without delivering on any promises to investors, and now wanted to ‘sell the sinking ship for another 888ETH.’ Always the good sport, 9x9x9eth hopes ‘the team can start making changes that put pudgy penguins on the right track, as pengs are cute!’ But given that the co-founder, @ColeThereum, best known for admitting to ‘shilling random NFT projects for money’, coincidentally announced a Twitter break four days ago to focus on his mental health and ‘doing what [he] loves behind the scenes’? There’ve been better bets. Like ETH 2.0. Or Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
We hope we’re not being uncharitable by putting the burden of idiocy on 9x9x9eth’s back, who, after all, is being lauded as a whistleblowing hero in his mentions as I type. At the same time, he did invest the cost of an Upper West Side apartment into 242 penguin JPGs and participated in artificially inflating the value thereof, all in service of a proud scammer. But. You know. Pengs are cute!
2021 marked a banner year for crypto scams — holders lost $14b in total, up 79% from the year before, which, we suspect, will increase by another exponential figure this year, as venture and personal capital continues to flow freely into this unexplored and unprotected frontier. Like George Bailey, we’ll continue to pine for a trustworthy point of centralization in the markets until we’re blue in the face. In the meantime, we’ll honor the casualties of the decentralized dystopia pipe dream. Shine on you crazy diamond hands.