Non-fungible tokens, popularly called NFTs, have been a hot topic for months in the digital world. The craze about them can be likened to the gold rush of decades ago, with celebrities, influencers, and digital enthusiasts lining up to strike gold with a project by buying into as many collections as possible as soon as they are announced.
Internet personalities and influencers like Faze Banks, Gary Vee, KSI, and the guys from Canadian prank empire Nelk Boys have all lent support for various NFT projects they have been lucky to mint with hopes that their collections would be worth a lot of money in future. Emmy-nominated photographer John Knopf already proved that was possible with the sale of his coveted Bored Ape for $1.4 million.
However, with all the attention that has courted NFTs, there is an abundance of room for scam enterprises and entities to creep into the space and try to prey on naive players. Many NFT projects promise buyers and holders huge perks like luxury cars and items with no clear path to deliver the perks unless they sell out the entire project. These projects are known as “rug pulls” and are quite common. Comedian and recording artist Nicole Arbour may have just done the world a lot of good by spotting one of these frauds and nipping its plans in the bud before her over 5 million fans and celebrity friends (including Paris Hilton, Joe Rogan, and the cast of Netflix’s hit series, Sabrina) get swept up in it.
During a live stream on her Instagram page, she spoke about the NFT project Bitcoin Wine NFT asking her to promote the project. It made sense, and she seemed perfect for the role because of her involvement with various viral marketing campaigns over the last decade. Each NFT token has a $1,000 price tag, and for that price, buyers would receive a bottle of Bitcoin Wine, the digital NFT art and access to the whitelist for future NFT drops. Upon further checks, The Bitcoin Wine NFT had no confirmed release date and could not point to one single tangible project they had in the pipeline.
What that means is, fans could purchase the tokens for $1,000 and just get a bottle of wine and a digital picture without access to the whitelist they promised. On the official website, they also stated that they would ship out the wine bottles after selling 2,500 NFT tokens. A big red flag there. That means if they end up selling 2,499 NFTs, everyone who bought gets nothing unless one more sale falls through. Arbour needed to see or hear nothing more before she walked away. “What they’re saying is, a buyer could spend $1,000 and still not get anything, and it changes nothing,” she said in the live session. “I wouldn’t expose my audience to such scam.”
According to the contact Bitcoin Wine posted, Arbour walked away from over $800,000 in profit, and she even offered to refund the project’s deposit, all in a bid to protect her audience. Nicole Arbour’s resolve to protect her audience comes in the wake of Paul Logan losing $3.5 million on fake pokemon cards and Kim Kardashian getting sued for promoting a pump and dump for EthereumMax. “I want to encourage everyone to do research before purchasing any NFTs or crypto,” Arbour said on her Instagram page. “There are a lot of great opportunities out there, but you have to know what to look for. Influencers are being offered crazy money to promote projects without knowing if it’s a solid purchase.”
Arbour is also willing to take things a step further by releasing courses on cryptocurrency and NFTs later this month to educate people globally about these digital innovations.