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Phunks - a roller coaster ride full of drama?

Phunks - a roller coaster ride full of drama?
By Ani Alexander • Issue #24 • View online
Months had passed from the time I wrote the initial article about the Phunks … and as you all may know by now - months in the NFT space are almost eternity. 
To be fair I did not follow the project closely during that time, but recently there were certain developments that I could not ignore. Those brought me back to the story and I decided to write part 2.
If you are not familiar with Phunks or have not read part 1 yet - please go and read it first since I will tell you what happened from that point on.
So, part 1 titled Phunks: Just a Flip or a Movement was originally published on my newsletter on July 20, 2021
And right after that I received a message from Phunk’s team/dev sharing with me their response letter to Larva Labs which they published on the same day. 

I would definitely include it if I received this earlier, but it was too late so I had it slip.
On the same day it was minted on Foundation.
The letter was ending with what it might feel was their vision and mission statement.
The foundation piece was sold a few days later to a username @Juiccy for 3 ETH. On November 5th the same piece was resold again for 5 ETH and bought  by VincentVanDough and Starry Night Capital.
All pfp projects should be CC0. Whether you like it or not your work will be repurposed, embrace this and learn to leverage this truism. All derivative works add value to the original.

This letter from @CryptoPhunks to @larvalabs has joined the @StarryNight_Cap collection.
I think July 20th is a significant date (NOT because that’s when my article came out…) because it feels like that’s exactly when the second, maybe more dramatic wave of the Phunks movement was triggered.
Few very important events happened on that date.
The Team decided to step back 
Yup - on the same day my article came out Phunk team not only minted the response letter to Larva Labs but also wrote an announcement to its community. At its essence it was a goodbye letter saying that the team will be stepping off and from there they give the project to the community to manage. 
More less at the same time the CryptoPhunk’s website too just turned into one static homepage with the Larva Labs letter on it.
I did try to reach out and find out what happened and what’s more important - why… but did not get any response unfortunately.  
As far as I am aware this has been the last official communication from the project team.
Oh no wait.. I think their “intern” Philip who was flipping the Phunks tweeted this a day later.
Hey guys, my manager just told me that this is going to be the last day of my internship. I have really enjoyed my time working here and learned a lot. I have read that the community is interested in forming @phunkdao. That seems pretty cool. I am looking forward to whats next.
Although I could potentially understand why they would want to step out of the spotlight I was confused about the way they did it.
Obviously being served a DMCA letter by Larva Labs - one of the richest and biggest NFT companies may have had its consequences. Maybe depending on how things would have developed further the guys would potentially end up in a very uncomfortable situation… They probably had to protect themselves.
It’s hard to know how would others react in that situation and it was their choice and decision and I personally don’t feel like being in a position to judge that.
What bothered me though was the fact that the community was not prepared and were not aware about what was coming. Throwing the ball at them just like that did not feel fair to me. 
I was scrolling through the old Phunk Discord conversations and it felt like in the beginning the vibe was positive. 
Many active community members perceived this as a huge opportunity and responsibility and the discussions were mainly focused on what to do next, since many already realised that the team was probably never coming back.
Meanwhile, one day after my newsletter published the article it was approved and featured on Hackernoon’s front page. 
They also tweeted out about it from their account and brought quite good exposure to the project (and as a result I ended up with a handful of Phunk followers on Twitter…)
I was feeling a bit uncomfortable though… since I had no idea how things were going to develop from that point. And although my article was unbiased and based on facts I am very cautious about how I treat my audience and who they read about or listen to a podcast conversation with on NFT Rebels. 
To be fair, although the Phunk’s team/dev who spoke to me when I was writing the first article left a good impression and it felt that he really was passionate about what Phunks were signifying I kept thinking if I romanticized the whole thing and if at its essence this too was not yet another variation of a rug pull… 
I think that thought came to my mind because I heard on Twitter Spaces that devs emptied their wallets…
Hmmm… Did I just do a live coverage of a rug pull?….
Ok at this point let’s go and follow the money, shall we? 
Here is CryptoPhunk’s foundation account with his Larva Lab letter mint.
(Note: 497 PHUNK were the v1 tokens that were later turned into PHILIP tokens...)
(Note: 497 PHUNK were the v1 tokens that were later turned into PHILIP tokens...)
I can’t tell how rare those Phunks in the wallet are, but it looks like the guy is a hodler of big bags.
Now let’s see if there is any ETH movement worth any attention…
Here it is.
Let’s see where was it sent to 
And when?
Yup - on July 20th…
So on the same day my article came out, the Larva Labs letter was minted, the announcement to the community was published, the website became a landing page with the letter… and … almost 103.4 ETH had their smooth journey to Coinbase… I wonder if it was a full moon on that day too or not? :)
Going back to the community it’s not surprising that they were going through turbulent times. The upcoming weeks and months were going to determine whether the project manages to survive or disappears just like the team did. 
Would the community be strong enough to pull this through? Would they manage to unite and self-organise?
As far as I understood things were not very smooth. There were arguments, there was anger towards the original dev team, some thought the team were still among them but with different usernames… There was a lot of uncertainty about the future and mistrust towards each other…
But it feels like somehow they managed to get to a point where they got focused on the original Phunk movement and worked towards the constructive ideas that they had been sharing even back on July 21st when they were bouncing ideas about creating a DAO and building their own marketplace so they no longer depend on Opensea…(which never re-listed them 4th time btw) 
I can imagine there was a lot of effort and hard work put in to get on the same page, forget the past arguments and move one. New active community members started building, new mods emerged from the community, etc.
Fast forward a few months and I notice people talking about Phunks again on Twitter… there was a certain ambience of hype and FOMO around it. 
I checked to see what’s going on and saw that Phunks own marketplace had launched and many in my feed were pumped about it. 
When I mentioned above that many were pumped, I meant even people who have not been part of the community - a “fresh blood” that is discovering the project for the first time.
From the minute it was launched the Phunks trade bot would not stop pinging. The floor was rising and the community started getting recognition. Active members were not sleeping much, Twitter Spaces were going for hours, the community kept growing and the floor kept rising. 
This is how its floor looks today:
Few interesting facts about the marketplace are that 
  • It’s royalty free
  • The original dev team’s phunks are blacklisted and can’t be traded on the marketplace
The last point obviously means that the marketplace is not decentralized at all… although to be fair Phunks never claimed it was. 
BUT still for me the story would have had a stronger narrative if it was… just saying!
Not everyone was happy about the Phunks though…
if you own or support phunks you’re literally on the side of “right click and savers”.

you’re the same - look i can take this and make it my own. fuck your proof of ownership.

that’s who you are if you collect phunks. stolen art. stolen narrative.

right click and save more.
But then again - different people, different opinions.
Here is another perspective just for a reference
Look Left 👀
Punk #6046🤝 Phunk #6046

I've been part of the Phunk community since day 1, so this has been a long time coming.

Thank you to @Pauly0x for uniting #6046 and making this historic moment possible.
Seemed like I was going to end this story at that point - with a happy ending and a cliffhanger so we kept monitoring what would happen next…  
There was another drama that was unfolding live while I was still drafting this article. 
This time we are going back to Opensea again…
Wait but that’s an old story… Phunks were delisted from Opensea even before I wrote the first article months ago, right?
But still bear with me here.
To keep this short I will put here the recap - but you can read all the details in blocknoob’s (the guy was the first one find out) Twitter detailed thread here. 
A thread on @opensea exploit and how it unfolded.

1/ Project in question : @NotLarvaLabs

I was browsing @genie_xyz beta to sweep one of the projects I was interested in but since gas was high, it made me wait and I started exploring their UI and the collections available.
I am not a very techie person, so will just summarise what I understood in a human language.
  • When Opensea delisted the project many Phunk owners had their Phunks listed for sale
  • Seems like the delisting was done by removing UI access only and they were still listed on the backend
  • Genie aggregator showed Phunks at prices before the delisting and available on Opensea
  • Now that the marketplace was live there was a very attractive arbitrage opportunity and liquid market to take those Phunks to… and some people did so and by the time Phunk owners found out about it - for many it was too late.
As far as I am aware - this is the current state of the situation
19/ Current state :
API was fixed but the contract still exists and some folks are still using the exploit. If you're reading this and are leveraging it : Please don't. There are enough bad actors , lets build a stronger foundation for what NFT community represents. 🙂
At this point I’ve got nothing to add apart from what I have been telling everyone for years. 
Communities are gonna make or break your project.
And I truly hope I will not be writing part 3 in the future :)
Saying that though… feels like there are more flipped projects emerging these days, so who knows?
Flipped Apes were available to mint few days ago...
Flipped Apes were available to mint few days ago...
Disclaimer: I wrote this because I do think that it’s an interesting story. I do not own a CryptoPhunk. This article reflects my personal view of the story based on my own observations and research, as well as talks with the Phunks community. And by no means it was written to encourage people to buy Phunks. #NFA
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Ani Alexander

Observations about the NFT space: projects, crypto artists, NFT online communities, etc + conversations with NFT rebels.
A place where technology, creativity, education, and the unpredictable meet each other.
Real talk, real-life and raw emotions.

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