The crypto markets have had an extremely lackluster start to the new year. And yet, NFT sales are booming, and Crypto Twitter is as juicy as ever.
Phunks vs Apes
The week got off to a combative start when Ryder Ripps, creative director of the NFT project CryptoPhunks (a CryptoPunks parody), leveled a broadside against the mega-popular Bored Ape Yacht Club for allegedly being racist. He tweeted out a Bored Ape with a spiked Prussian style helmet and wrote, “Imagine defending this passionately.”
Ripps continued to attack BAYC all week from multiple angles, including accusing the BAYC skull logo of being modeled after a Nazi SS logo, even down to the number of teeth.
oh yeah and that last little tooth at the end, that was put there intentionally, the design would have looked better and made more sense without it. pic.twitter.com/jpdvEt3YPu
— RYDER RIPPS (@ryder_ripps) January 7, 2022
Ripps’ criticisms were dismissed by many—and not just BAYC holders. Critics viewed it as an opportunistic attempt to drum up PR for his lagging Phunks NFT project.
Phunks are dying it seems like. They need drama to keep going.
Crypto trader @MoonOverlord concurred, and concluded, “I’m dumping all my Phunks, it’s cringe.”
going to be honest this BAYC drama just feels like a cheap marketing tactic from Phunks.
It was cool when Phunks were anti establishment, anti centralization but at this point they are just openly attacking the top NFT projects 1 by 1.
I’m dumping all my Phunks, it’s cringe.
— moon (@MoonOverlord) January 3, 2022
But the most damning and pithy critique of Ripps’ broadside came from NFT investor @Loopifyyy, who tweeted Ripps with the words, “this you?” along with four screenshots including a message from pop star Azealia Banks accusing Ripps of attempting to blackmail her with a sex tape. Other images show Ripps casually using racist language.
Yuga Labs, creator of BAYC, didn’t officially respond to Ripps’ attacks. But coincidentally (or not?), just 20 minutes before Ripps launched his first attack on Monday, Yuga Labs tweeted a seven-point primer explaining the project’s background and why the creators made certain aesthetic choices. The thread touches on the logo, and introduces the four pseudonymous founders as having Jewish, Cuban, Turkish and Pakistani origins.
5. How did the founders meet?
We’re all real-life friends with diverse backgrounds – Jewish, Cuban, Turkish, Pakistani. We started work on what would become the BAYC in February of 2021, and worked with a team of artists on the apes, the look of the club, logos, etc.
— Yuga Labs (@yugalabs) January 3, 2022
Hanke vs Bukele
BAYC wasn’t the only heated conversation on Crypto Twitter this week. El Salvador’s Bitcoin-maxi president Nayib Bukele, who appears in this roundup frequently, reminded everyone that he does not take criticism kindly, not even from one of the world’s most respected economists.
On Friday, Johns Hopkins University economics professor Steve Hanke tweeted that Bukele’s proposed volcano-powered Bitcoin City is “as prepared as Florida is for snow. The advertised power source for the City is an inactive volcano. This is just more attention-grabbing antics from a narcissistic president who is full of hot air.”
.@nayibbukele‘s proposed Bitcoin City is as prepared as Florida is for snow. The advertised power source for the City is an inactive volcano. This is just more attention-grabbing antics from a narcissistic president who is full of hot air. https://t.co/J53p6NJgHN
— Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) January 7, 2022
Less than ten minutes later, Bukele parried by calling Hanke an “idi0t” and asking him “Why would you build a city below an ACTIVE VOLCANO?”
This guy 😂
Of course is an inactive volcano you id10t!
Most geothermal power is extracted from wells near INACTIVE VOLCANOES!
Why would you build a city below an ACTIVE VOLCANO? 🤦🏻 https://t.co/HGh6UGZ0u0
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) January 7, 2022
The debate then turned technical, with Hanke replying that El Salvador already has “an enormous energy deficit.” The economist asked Bukele just how much energy he expects to get from an inactive volcano. Bukele kicked off his retort with two ad hominems at Hanke (“ID-10t” and “fraud”) before addressing the technicals.
Ok, ID-10t, I’m going to school you again, not because it’s going to be of use for you, since you’re just getting paid to attack #Bitcoin and defend fiat, but because the people deserve to know you are a fraud. https://t.co/BbDGGnyjuu
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) January 8, 2022
Bukele finished his thread by telling Hanke: “We’ve a 90% chance of finding at least a +42 MW well. Enough to power all of #Bitcoin City.”
We’ve a 90% chance of finding at least a +42 MW well. Enough to power all of #Bitcoin City.
And if the city grows far more than expected (good problem), then we can still use the 95 MW plant we are building for the initial powering. pic.twitter.com/7gk1fu8sWg
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) January 9, 2022
This isn’t the first time Hanke and Bukele have scrapped on Twitter. Last October, Hanke tweeted that with Bitcoin-obsessed Bukele at the helm, El Salvador faces financial ruin. After a major Bitcoin price spike, Bukele responded, “You were saying?”
Shill Eva Longoria your NFTs
On Saturday, “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria tweeted that she’s “jumping into the NFT space” and asked for guidance from Twitter. She got almost 14,000 replies. Surprise: a large volume of them were people trying to hawk their own NFT projects to her.
Okay everyone! I’m jumping into the #NFT space…help! What do I do? Where do I start? Would love some tips!
— Eva Longoria Baston (@EvaLongoria) January 8, 2022
Longoria is far from the first A-list Hollywood actress to ask Twitter to help her get into crypto.
In December, Legally Blonde star Reese Witherspoon bought her first NFT, and has since been quite active on Crypto Twitter.
Later that month, Gwyneth Paltrow told her Twitter and Instagram followers that she had partnered with Cash App, the peer-to-peer payments app of Block (formerly Square), to give away a total of $500,000 worth of crypto in payouts of up to $100.
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