From spam texts to payment app fraud to crypto tricks.

From spam texts to payment app fraud to crypto tricks.

Billboards display NFT art in Times Square during the 4th annual NFT NYC conference in June 2022. On a rainy Tuesday in June, I found myself in a packed and buzzing Times Square theater, having skipped a line that wrapped seemingly endlessly around the city block thanks to a very handy press pass. The occasion: an event hosted by Doodles , a collection of 10,000 brightly colored NFTs .

To say I didn’t get the commotion is an understatement — one of Doodles’ most prominent images appears to be one of a cartoon vomiting a rainbow , and among its founders is a guy who goes by “ poopie ” on Twitter. But attendees assured me this was a very exciting moment. Some were jazzed about what they said would be a highly anticipated new phase of the project, while others speculated about who the promised musical act would be. Ultimately, the audience was treated to video messages from Serena Williams’ husband (a new investor) and Pharrell (new chief brand officer) and a performance by The Chainsmokers. The company also promises more NFTs, music projects, and art, a lot of which is TBD.

“Doodles is here to color our world, it’s here to help us channel our inner child, and ultimately help us understand that anything is possible with the power of our imagination,” said Doodles CEO Julian Holguin in what amounted to a glorified TED talk. He joined the project in May after coming over from Billboard. “The market needs that right now, the world needs right now,” he added. The market line elicited laughs from the crowd. It is, as you may know, a less-than-ideal time to be investing in NFTs, crypto , or, really, most investments lately .

“We’re kind of speculating on the cultural impact that Doodles makes on music, sports, gaming,” David, a Doodle holder who had traveled to New York from Los Angeles for the week, told me. He excitedly explained to me what was going on throughout the evening, after the Pharrell announcement leaning over to whisper the floor price of the NFTs had just crept up. “We hope that the future is something that delivers greater good.”

Much of what’s going on in crypto, perhaps especially in Web3 (the supposed next version of the internet) and NFTs (unique digital bits), is pretty scammy and predatory. A lot of it’s based on some future promise of “utility” that in most current iterations translates to nothing more than hype. That hype is generated by a select few on the backs of the masses, some desperate to be part of contrived communities. It fails at its basic premise of decentralization and taking the power out of the hands of concentrated authorities. NFT NYC, the context in which the Doodles event was held, was a prime example: Thousands of attendees paid hundreds and even thousands of dollars to attend a conference that can only be described as pure chaos . Some attendees criticized it as a cash grab by its handful of organizers.

Still, if you immerse yourself in the arena for a bit, you can start to see why some of this works. Everything has felt so bad for so long, everyone seems so disconnected. People want to feel excited, and if a rainbow drawing that says it’s doing an album with Pharrell does it for you, why not? We feel an inherent desire to be a part of something, to belong, and we often spend money to achieve that.

Amid the current market crash, being in a room full of unconcerned NFT fans feels a bit like the “ this is fine ” meme in live action. Then again, so does everything else.

For four days in late June, thousands of people descended onto Midtown Manhattan for the fourth installment of NFT NYC , an event that claims to be one of the biggest in non-fungible tokens. Organizers claimed 15,000 people were set to attend, and they had a lineup of 1,500 speakers. If this all seems like a bit much, it’s because it was. It was often easier to navigate the tourist-ridden streets of Times Square than the hallways of the multi-floor, casino-like Marriott Marquis Hotel, where the conference was based. Most speakers were given just a handful of minutes on stage, largely addressing half-empty conference rooms at best.

You might have thought the chaos of the conference itself would have been reason for some doubt, on top of the most recent crypto crash that has seen cryptocurrencies and NFTs […]

source From spam texts to payment app fraud to crypto tricks.

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