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OCTOBER 2021

GLOBAL

MEKAVERSE

DESCRIPTION OF EVENTS

"In the distant future, drivers fight in a world divided into 4 Factions. Originals Meka, Mirage, F9, and Gadians are the Titans who rule this planet." "The MekaVerse is a collection of 8,888 generative Mekas inspired by the Japanese Anime universe." "Each MekaVerse NFT holder has access to exclusive events on Discord, Twitter, and more. The Mekaverse does not stop at one planet, it extends far beyond that!"

 

"MekaVerse is an Ethereum-based collection of 8,888 randomly generated avatars and started on July 10th. Investors who buy NFTs don’t know exactly which images they bought. It’s like an IOU (proof of loan): Owners see a placeholder image in front of a collection start planned for later days. Even the secondary market buyers do not know what they are getting."

 

"When MekaVerse—an Ethereum-based collection of 8,888 randomly-generated profile pictures—held its minting process on October 7, the new NFT owners didn’t immediately know which image they had bought. It was like an IOU: holders saw a placeholder image ahead of a planned collection-wide reveal days later. Even secondary market buyers didn’t know what they were getting."

 

"Every image on OpenSea looked the same in the meantime, and secondary prices soared as users took a trading card pack-like gamble on possibly pulling a rare, especially valuable image. Ahead of the launch, unrevealed MekaVerse NFTs had an average sale price above 7.1 ETH, or about $25,000 at the time."

 

"Rather, buyers shouldn’t have known what they were buying. However, since the launch, a number of allegations have surfaced on social media suggesting that some buyers may have had early access to the metadata, or the information that describes which attributes each NFT image contains. That data could have been used to purchase rare NFTs, sight unseen."

 

"Twitter user MOLOTOV accusations MekaVerse launch event is “cheating”. He points to public data from OpenSea and other sources showing that one of the project’s developers, Wyb0 from Miinded Studio, “played around” buying rare NFTs at a bargain price before they were even revealed."

 

"In a viral tweet thread, Twitter user MOLOTOV accused the MekaVerse launch of being “rigged.” They highlighted public data from OpenSea and other resources that suggest one of the developers on the project, Wyb0 from Miinded Studio, managed to purchase one of the rarest NFTs around the average going price before the reveal."

 

"The @MekaVerse reveal was rigged: yesterday, @_Wyb0 bought Meka #6764 for 6.83ETH. Guess what?" "Meka #6764 is ranked #16 in rarity. How could @_Wyb0 have known this yesterday?" "@_Wyb0 is the co-founder of @MiindedStudio who collaborated with @MekaVerse for the launch of the collection. Does this need more explanation?" "Yesterday, @_Wyb0 already knew the rarity traits of each Meka and exploited this information to purchase for a cheap price a rare Meka. How fair is this?"

 

"In other words, metadata can leak in the time between the imprint and the publication of the image a few days later. These disclosures were used to purchase a number of MekaVerse NFTs – which could become much more valuable after their announcement."

 

"Decrypt reached out to the MekaVerse team on Thursday, including directly to co-creators Matt Braccini and Mattey, but did not hear back from any of them."

 

"On Thursday, the creators addressed the allegations in an announcement post via its public Discord server. According to the team, the reveal process included a custom Python script to aid with randomization, along with a seed system for regenerating the order if needed. It also used a private server, not on a blockchain, to complete the randomizing process."

 

“It allows us to safely randomize everything on our side, which was done solely to avoid any security issues and to have something clear and controlled,” the team wrote.

 

“To avoid any risk of leakage or cheating, our team kept the secret until the very last moment of the reveal date,” it continued. “We performed the final randomization just before the reveal to ensure that nothing leaked and that everything was distributed clearly, fairly, and randomly.”

 

"Wyb0—the aforementioned Miinded Studios developer accused of using inside information to buy a rare MekaVerse NFT—tweeted about his purchase, saying that it happened before the MekaVerse creators “​​sent the metadata and final images” to Miinded. In any case, apparently due to the controversy, the NFT in question will be auctioned off for charity."

MekaVerse launched a set of 8,888 NFTs which were supposedly randomly generated. All NFTs were bought at a constant market price, since no one knew how rare they would be. Controversy ensued when one of the rarest NFTs had been bought by one of the project developers, who was accused of having inside information into the random generation algorithm.

 

The evidence to support the allegations appears weak. Only one NFT was luck. A malicious developer could easily have picked one of 15 NFTs that were rarer or repeated their trick multiple times. In the end, the NFT in question was sold with the proceeds donated to charity.

HOW COULD THIS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED?

Randomized NFT or token launches should source their randomness from a source which is out of the control and predictability of any individual or group. Having a neutral third party to validate the fairness of the random launch can limit the possibility of rigging.

 

Check Our Framework For Safe Secure Exchange Platforms

Sources And Further Reading

 For questions or enquiries, email info@quadrigainitiative.com.

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