Customers looking to cash in on the viral popularity of notorious rap troll Tekashi 69 via a recent NFT sale reportedly wound up disappointed, calling the whole thing “a huge scam” in a new feature published today on Rolling Stone. This past October, Tekashi apparently jumped on the NFT craze, with an account advertising a Trollz NFT based on his album art in what sounds like a combination of the NBA’s Top Shot project and social gaming brands like Club Penguin.
Apparently, users’ created avatars would be automatically minted as NFTs and could be used to interact with each other via a 2D boxing game with future non-fungible prizes for winners. The group behind the Trollz project made it clear that users would own their tokens, and that some of the proceeds would be donated to charity but didn’t say which ones. Selling the 9,669 tokens at around $400 a pop, the Trollz group stood to make around $4 million.
However, according to buyers that spoke to Rolling Stone, there were no royalties, no game, and little contact from the organizers. In fact, just days after beginning the event, they stopped minting new NFTs, well short of the previously stated goal of 9,669 tokens, claiming that the launch had been hijacked by hackers. The organizers themselves stopped responding to contact from Rolling Stone and the rapper himself, perhaps in an effort to distance himself from the debacle — which it was never clear he was ever actually part of — changed his profile picture on Instagram from his usual cartoon avatar to a plain photo of himself.
“There were KGB-type things going on,” one of the jilted users told Rolling Stone. “We’re sitting there waiting for answers. You couldn’t even type specific words in this Discord channel, because a bot would moderate what you could say. You couldn’t type the words ‘floor price,’ you couldn’t type ‘ban’ or ‘scam.’ If you did, you’d get a message that rejects your message saying that word is not allowed there.”
Another summed up the problem, saying, “Scammers are making promises they’re not delivering on, and they’re doing it like clockwork. Every month, some celebrity cosigns something, and people are getting screwed — and there are no legal repercussions for any of this. That’s the bigger issue at play.”
Considering Tekashi basically went to prison for being a bit of a conman and how little regulation surrounds blockchain technology at this point, this feels like a bit of a “buyer beware” situation. The only truly surprising thing is that anyone is surprised at all.