The Tragic Tale of a Scam Gone Wrong
It was the perfect plan. Take an NFT project that is similar to a wildly successful one, copy it, and then launch it BEFORE they do — to make it seem like your project is the real one.
The artwork is beautiful, the animation looks flawless, and all-in-all this was on its way to be another of the up-and-coming blue chip NFT collections.
Unfortunately, the things that make a project look amazing to investors are the same things that attract pirates and bad actors.
(I’m sharing all of this, because I had also gotten caught up in it. I had seen the artwork via the scam Twitter, I had gotten Discord access to the scam project, and I was looking forward to minting it.)
What’s interesting is, the scam Twitter has 8,124 followers, while the legitimate one has 3,804. The Discords were also similar, with the scam one saying they had 2k members — but now that the real one has opened up (it was private before) it is now reporting over 20k.
The scam Discord is very active, with people asking for details, or whitelist, or saying it’s a scam, with almost all messages actively being deleted by the two mods. When they opened it up to mint, they claimed their website was being hacked and referred people to nft-generator.art . You can very clearly see the difference between that, and the legit website.
In the barrage of questions asked on the Discord, people were asking why they hadn’t been doxxed, to which they replied they would dox “later in the week”. No other explanation given, and it was the same response when people asked when the reveal would be. Not knowing the reveal date makes sense (on projects like these, you have to play things by ear to see how well it is doing overall, as a way of encouraging and interacting with your audience). Not doxxing the support team on the other-hand is a huge red flag.
The next step was going to Opensea and looking into the NFTs that were being minted. So far, only 22 items have been minted, because most people sensed that something was wrong with this. All mints have preview images saying “Content not available yet”.
Clicking one of the NFTs, and dropping down the Details panel, shows us the contract address. Clicking on it takes us to Etherscan. From that, I clicked on Contract, and saw that they had not Verified and Published their contract. That was the ultimate “no-go” for me — if we can’t see what they are doing and they refuse to doxx, there are no guarantees that this is anything but a rug pull.
What’s also interesting is, although there were only 6 items minted since they went public, the contract currently has 0 ETH, meaning they are withdrawing immediately in case anything goes wrong.
Hopefully this will give you insight into ways to “do your own research” and really dig in and analyze whether a project is too good to be true, or is something that you can ape in to, to make yourself a crypto fortune. Be safe out there my frens!