Here’s what happened in the crypto world this week.
Welcome to Nonfungible Tidbits, a weekly roundup of the biggest news in crypto, NFTs and their related fields.
Our major story this week is a new book that claims to solve one of the biggest mysteries in the crypto industry: Who hacked The DAO in 2016?
We’ll also go over the crypto scammers on dating apps and the big brands who shop in the “metaverse,” which is an evolved term for some kind of digital world? It’s still not entirely clear. Lastly, we will cover the Sotheby’s NFT auction which was closed at the last minute,
Stay tuned for more next week.
A $9B Crypto Mystery Solved?
Graphic by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET
A decentralized autonomous organization called The DAO was launched in 2016 on the Ethereum blockchain. These organizations are online groups that issue digital tokens for members to purchase. Tokens provide voting rights to guide the direction of the organization. The DAO raised $150 million in Ether this way, but due to vulnerabilities in the underlying code, the DAO was hacked and 3.6 million Ether (currently worth over $9 billion) was stolen.
The hack led to a “hard fork” in the Ethereum blockchain, which created a new blockchain, essentially erasing the hack. But not all members of the DAO agreed with the decision. That’s why two Ethereum blockchains exist today: Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.
Ethereum is now one of the most prominent blockchains, and the hacking incident has remained unsolved for years. However, earlier this week, journalist Laura Shin, in preparation for the release of her book, The Kryptonians, said that she had exposed the identity of The DAO hacker. Shin traced the hacker – an Australian programmer active in the early crypto industry – using tracking tools from Chainalysis, a blockchain tracing firm.
When Shin contacted the programmer, she denied his claim, stating “Your statement and conclusion are factually incorrect”. The accused programmer stated that he would proceed with the evidence, then proceeded to cut all ties with Shin.
So, the jury is still out on the hacker’s identity? The Block’s analysis reveals whether Chainalysis can indeed trace all crypto transactions.
If Shin discovers the identity of the DAO hacker, he has solved the second biggest mystery in the crypto world. The biggest mystery – the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin – is still unsolved. Last year, Craig Wright claimed to be Nakamoto, but was unable to prove that he owned a large amount of bitcoin that allegedly belonged to Nakamoto.
Move over, Tinder thugs: crypto scammers looking to cash in on love
Jamie Grill / Getty
If you are talking to someone on a dating app, and they ask you if you are interested in crypto, it could be a scam. A recent New York Times report described how scammers are targeting people on dating apps to scam them using cryptocurrency, in which transactions are usually irreversible. Romance scams, a term used to take advantage of a person’s online romantic interest, have escalated over the pandemic, as has the price of cryptocurrencies, the report said.
While the details of what the “Metaverse” actually is are unclear, that hasn’t stopped big brands like Walmart from shouldering the slack… whatever the Metaverse is. To this end, McDonald’s and Panera Bread are filing trademarks to create their own virtual spaces. McDonald’s plans to “operate a virtual restaurant featuring real and virtual goods, a virtual restaurant featuring home delivery.”
In the meantime, Panera Bread filed a trademark for the term “Panaverse,” which I assume will probably be Paneraverse at some point. I will wait.
Sotheby’s cryptopunk auction took place at the last minute
Getty / Lambert
Less than 30 minutes after Sotheby’s opened an auction on a single lot of 104 Cryptopunk NFTs, the anonymous NFT owner withdrew the lot from the auction. Owner tweeted: “nvm, decided to hodl.” Hodl is a crypto term for digital assets to hold rather than sell. The auction was expected to fetch $30 million. So why did the owner cancel the auction? An art consultant who has worked for Sotheby’s told the New York Times that “auction withdrawals typically occur when there are legal concerns or fears that a very high reserve price will not be achieved.”
Thanks for reading. We will be back next week with much more. In the meantime, check out this story from CNET’s Scott Stein on the founder of Second Life who is evolving the venerable online world for a new era.
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