Crypto may be many things, but it is rarely dull. From hacks to arrests and billion-dollar token burns, here are some of the stories that are just a little bit more outlandish than the rest, making our five weirdest stories of the year list.
In November, decentralized exchange aggregator KyberSwap was exploited to the tune of $46 million. In crypto, exploits are not uncommon, and while the size of the hack placed it as one of the more significant this year, that is not unusual.
What followed, however, placed the KyberSwap incident in a category of its own.
On Nov. 30, the KyberSwap hacker sent an on-chain message detailing their demands, including full executive control over the company. The hacker also demanded that the Kyber executive surrender all the company’s assets to the hacker. The brazen individual then promised to buy out the existing executives at a “fair valuation” as well as double all staff pay should their terms be accepted.
A Victim of KyberSwap hack wrote a letter to the hacker. pic.twitter.com/nIjBDhvCQY
— Bstream (@BeOnBstream) November 26, 2023
The hacker concluded by saying, “This is my best offer. This is my only offer. I require my demands to be met by Dec. 10; otherwise, the treaty falls through.”
To no one’s surprise, KyberSwap did not comply with the hacker’s bizarre list of demands.
In September, Ben Armstrong — aka BitBoy Crypto — rocked up to the front door of former employee Carlos Diaz and began a livestream that would, in short order, put the influencer on the wrong side of the law and behind bars.
Standing outside Diaz’s front door, Armstrong began to fire a long list of accusations against him, accusing Diaz of threatening his life. Armstrong then went on to state that Diaz has ties to the “black mafia” before accusing his former employee of stealing his Lamborghini.
The loss of the sports car appeared to weigh heavily on Armstrong’s mind as he worked himself up live on YouTube.
“Carlos Diaz, the man who has my Lamborghini, the man who extorted me for my Lamborghini, the man who death-threated me to my Lamborghini,” said Armstrong in a puzzling turn of phrase.
More generally, Armstrong appeared confused about why he was at Diaz’s property at all.
At first, Armstrong declared, “I have legitimately been scared for my life for weeks,” before changing his mind and saying, “If Carlos Diaz comes out of this house and tries to kill me live on YouTube, then it’s just going to have to be what it’s going to be.”
During the half-hour broadcast, Armstrong was both scared and not scared of his former employee and wanted people to know that he was scared and not scared.
The 37-minute diatribe continued until police arrived and promptly arrested the influencer, who had taken both his gun and his mistress, Cassandra Wolfe, to the scene of the disturbance. Armstrong was eventually released after posting a $2,600 bail bond.
The $650-billion burn
In October, Uniswap founder Hayden Adams burned 99.9% of the HayCoin (HAY) supply, valued at an “absurd” $650 billion.
Adams deployed the HAY token for testing five years ago, prior to the launch of Uniswap. In doing so, he created a small liquidity pool with a fraction of the total supply and kept the remaining 99.9% of tokens for himself.
Over time, traders began buying and selling the 0.1% as a meme token, pumping the value of HAY. Adams went on to say, “Crypto can be weird sometimes.”
The burning propelled HAY from $580,005 a token on Oct. 20 to over $4 million a token by Oct. 26.
In October, a United States district court judge ordered Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen to pay $1.57 million in damages to Yuga Labs for copying the Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC) nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
The weirdness comes from Ripps and Cahen’s behavior throughout the incident. For some time, Ripps maintained that the Bored NFTs were racist and antisemitic, even launching a website to accuse the brand of containing “Nazi dog whistles.”
Ripps and Cahen then went on to launch a series of copycat NFTs that infringed upon BAYC’s intellectual property. But while the BAYC NFTs were allegedly racist when Yuga Labs created them, Ripps and Cahen argued they were “satire” when they replicated them wholesale and profited from them.
Unsurprisingly, this argument won little favor in legal circles.
The Heart documentary
In July, Richard Heart, founder of HEX and PulseChain, prepared for the premiere of his vanity movie project, The Highest of Stakes.
Heart has a history of flamboyant excess, and so some degree of anticipation surrounded the release. Unbeknownst to Heart, the SEC was preparing to launch legal action at the same time, dropping fraud charges just in time to spoil the party.
While Heart retains a loyal following in the crypto world, those outside it seem less impressed by the influencer and project founder. As one movie critic said, “Is a man a conman if he tells you up front he’s conning you?”
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