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Accusations of racism against BAYC re-emerge amid ApeFest

The fourth NFT NYC conference took place in New York City with more than 15,000 tickets being sold for between $599 and $1999.

At the same time, members-only event ApeFest has been organized for the holders of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) or Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) NFTs. In order to get a ticket to ApeFest one had to prove ownership of at least one NFT from BAYC or MAYC collections via the Tokenproof app.

On the first day of the event, investigator Philion dropped an hour-long video reiterating racism accusations against Bored Ape Yacht Club that were surfacing in the NFT space earlier this year. Philion’s video is based on an investigation by artist Ryder Ripps, who pointed out many similarities between alt-right memes and the artwork used in the BAYC project.

The video was followed by the #BURNBAYC hashtag, calling owners to send their BAYC NFTs with the floor price around 90 ETH to the Ethereum burn address.

Apart from calling BAYC a far-right project, Ripps also copied BAYC images and minted its own RR/BAYC collection, which should have given people an opportunity to trade the BAYC art without paying royalties to Yuga Labs. The RR/BAYC collection, however, has been taken down by most centralized NFT marketplaces due to copyright infringement.

Yuga Labs has long dismissed any ties to the alt-right, calling all accusations a smear campaign and has recently ‘filed a lawsuit against the responsible parties’.

Yuga Labs is the creator of BAYC, MAYC, BAKC, and Otherside. The company has also acquired CryptoPunks and Meebits brands and other IP rights from Larva Labs earlier in March. CryptoPunks was the world’s first Profile Picture (PFP) NFT collection released in June 2017, reaching nearly 70 ETH floor price and over 3 billion market capitalization in January 2022, according to NFTGO. Following the acquisition, Yuga Labs has promised to grant the commercial rights of all CryptoPunks and Meebit images to their respective NFT holders in a similar way like the company did with its other collections.


Celsius on the brink of failure

Centralized crypto lending platform Celsius hired management consulting firm Alvarez & Marshal to advise on a possible bankruptcy filing, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Celsius — a company with 1.7 million users — has frozen withdrawals, swaps, and transfers between accounts earlier in June due to high market volatility. The firm placed customers funds into various high-risk DeFi protocols to earn yield, while promising its customers annual returns of up to 9.32% on fiat-backed centralized stablecoins.

According to CoinDesk sources, Goldman Sachs is planning to raise $2 billion from investors in order to be able to buy assets from Celsius at discount if the latter will file for bankruptcy.

Celsius raised $750 million at a $3.25 billion valuation in the end of 2021 and said it had $11.8 billion in assets in May this year.

In other news

  • The Horizon Bridge to proof-of-stake blockchain Harmony has been hacked to the tune of $100 million. The Harmony team stated that the hacker didn’t exploit a smart contract, but rather compromised private keys of the multisig that secured the bridge. Harmony announced a $1 million bounty for the return of stolen funds and sharing exploit information.

  • Decentralized exchange Bancor (BNT) has temporary suspended its impermanent loss protection program that has long been shielding liquidity providers from losses during high market volatility. According to the official announcement, the impermanent loss protection would be reactivated once the market stabilizes. The team is yet to ratify its emergency actions via a governance vote amid growing public criticism over protocol’s centralization.

  • Centralized crypto lending platform BlockFi has secured a $250 million credit line from the FTX exchange after the former faced liquidity issues. BlockFi has been struggling to close the latest round of venture funding, eventually agreeing to raise funds at a lower valuation compared to previous rounds, according to The Block.

  • Trading platform Voyager Digital announced that it has borrowed 15,000 bitcoin from Alameda Research in order to meet its customer liquidity needs. Voyager has also disclosed that Three Arrows Capital (3CA) owes the company 15,250 bitcoin and 350 million USDC.

  • And speaking of 3CA, a court in the British Virgin Islands has ordered the liquidation of the former, according to British news agency Sky News. The venture capital firm failed to meet margin calls after the crypto market tanked.

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