Another DAO bites the dust
August 1, 2022 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Dan Olson updates the spicy Jodorowski Dune nft saga.

Truth way stranger than fiction:
"Most of these logistics are being handled by Fang, a member of Remilia Collective. It turns out Remilia Collective had previously invented a suicide cult based on Serial Experiments Lain and, allegedly, lured in a 17 year old Montreal boy who killed himself."

Previously.
posted by pepcorn (60 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
All these NFT dramas just read like failed bottom tier cyberpunk book pitch meetings.
posted by alex_skazat at 2:59 PM on August 1 [31 favorites]


It’s just not very evenly distributed.
posted by clew at 3:07 PM on August 1 [18 favorites]


Kee-ripes onna cracker.

I haven't exactly lost the ability to even -- I clearly never had it.
posted by humbug at 3:07 PM on August 1 [5 favorites]


I hate every ape I see, from NFA to NFT.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:25 PM on August 1 [103 favorites]


The name "Remilia Collective" got me wondering if that group was named after the Touhou Project character Remilia Scarlet. Turns out that it is.

According to Touhou Wiki, "While she tries to cultivate the image of a mysterious and frightening vampire aristocrat, Remilia is as childish as her appearance suggests. However, she is surprisingly polite." Sounds like a description that could (mostly) apply to a lot of the crypto bros I've seen online.
posted by May Kasahara at 3:31 PM on August 1 [3 favorites]


Never has something not surprised me as this.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 3:41 PM on August 1 [7 favorites]


The DAO celebrates and immediately starts brainstorming their 11 hour anime version of Dune with celebrity casting and Grimes scoring and everyone's going to get to go to the premiere and it's going to prove all the haters wrong ...

man, this all seems like something that happened on the Something Awful forums in the 2000s
posted by Countess Elena at 3:42 PM on August 1 [24 favorites]


Man, nobody has ever tried to interest me in any of this web3 shit.

I guess this is how I know I'm old and uncool?
posted by aramaic at 4:11 PM on August 1 [9 favorites]


I can imagine Neal Stephenson thinking, “Yes, I did foresee this, but I never imagined it would be this stupid.”
posted by jonp72 at 4:13 PM on August 1 [50 favorites]


i hate that Lain has anything remotely connected with this irredeemable embarrassment of scam, even if it is merely through some utter garbage humans previous project appropriating it without any official connection.

on the other hand, it really can't be any more "present day, present time" than this, can it?
posted by glonous keming at 4:15 PM on August 1 [12 favorites]


I can imagine Neal Stephenson thinking, “Yes, I did foresee this, but I never imagined it would be this stupid.”

Bad news about Neal Stephenson, he's bought in on NFTs & has signed on with venture capitalist/Bitcoin Foundation guys to huck his own blockchain network.
But I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about nightmare scenarios, specifically about the Metaverse, because I don’t find that’s a productive way to start a project. The successful projects emerge from a more positive frame of mind, like, “Hey, this is going to change the world.”
posted by CrystalDave at 4:21 PM on August 1 [31 favorites]


alex_skazat: "All these NFT dramas just read like failed bottom tier cyberpunk book pitch meetings."

I was thinking this reads more like one of those stream-of-consciousness stories told by a 7-year-old.

"And then, and then he says he's going to make the book into a movie but someone says he can't so he says he'll make a different movie instead but decides he doesn't want to so he sells the book."
posted by adamrice at 4:22 PM on August 1 [34 favorites]


So, who gets the proceeds of selling the book?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:37 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


I find it fascinating how DAOs and NFTs in general lend themselves so easily to hype and wildly optimistic projections. Intellectual property is complicated and doing real stuff is hard. Even if the correct IP rights were associated with the book sale (and obvs this wasn't even close), the probability that a non-sucking movie could be produced is infinitesimally low.

My favorite though are these hyped NFTs that promise some idealized game world based around them. Again, creating a non-sucking game is hard AF. Thinking that the NFT you just bought will give you access to the game of your dreams is like expecting to get to the Moon by jumping up and down. But somehow people buy into the hype.
posted by microscone at 4:38 PM on August 1 [8 favorites]


So, what happened to all that money?
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 4:39 PM on August 1


Bad news about Neal Stephenson

Stephenson's no stranger to dodgy financial things; there's the time he took in $500,000 for CLANG, a Kickstarter videogame that never shipped. They kept the money.
posted by Nelson at 4:40 PM on August 1 [19 favorites]


Earlier discussion about Charlotte Fang and Remilia.
posted by betweenthebars at 4:49 PM on August 1 [2 favorites]


Stephenson's no stranger to dodgy financial things; there's the time he took in $500,000 for CLANG, a Kickstarter videogame that never shipped. They kept the money.
Getting in over your head one a project and spending all the money without being able to deliver, is very different than "keeping the money". Is there any reason to believe that it was not spent on development?

These sorts of DAO/Web3 schemes also seem to to have a heavy dose in incompetence/failure to deliver on over-promising. But the Web3 stuff also has a lot of clear-cut scamming as well.
posted by 3j0hn at 4:49 PM on August 1 [9 favorites]


I wouldn’t describe CLANG as dodgy. They didn’t keep the money, they spent it on trying to make the game. Lots of creative projects die in development hell or produce something that is just a huge disappointment. I don’t get the sense that the CLANG team was attempting to scam or grift people. Perhaps I’m missing some more backstory though.
posted by interogative mood at 5:00 PM on August 1 [7 favorites]


So, what happened to all that money?

The book was originally valued at $35K, and they paid $3 million for it. They won't be able to resell it for that much, so I guess the money is gone.

I imagine whomever runs this shonky company they set up will pocket the sale proceeds and whatever loose change is left, and the DAO members will be left with nothing for their contributions. Scammers gonna scam.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:08 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


IIRC, CLANG was done at the time the whole Mongoliad project was spinning up with people like Greg Bear. The idea was to create a sprawling setting in which fiction, art, and games would occur, and CLANG was an effort to get "real" swordfighting into video game format as a demo piece--take CLANG and the Mongoliad setting, throw VR in and off you go.

The whole Mongoliad project sputtered out for lack of interest. Aside from the core people, no one else showed up; CLANG proved unworkable after $500k of rented space, motion capture equipment, swordfighting instruction and attempts to code it all up. I recall a postmortem that essentially said there was no workable control scheme, given current technology, to take what was mocapped and make it playable. So no, it wasn't a scam, it was an earnest attempt that went nowhere in the context of a larger project that... also went nowhere.

I kind of respect them all for being as transparent about it all as they were, and controlled. They didn't try to go back to the well for more kickstarter money, they said "we realized it can't work today" and called it a lesson learned.

That said, Stephenson is no longer on my reading list because I'm tired of the last third of his books being entirely unrelated to the first two thirds except as prologue.
posted by fatbird at 5:13 PM on August 1 [26 favorites]


...the ultimate direction the DAO has taken does not align with my goals for a productive, profitable and successful enterprise. The DAO under Soby's direction has led to a lack of value creation...
I find myself repeatedly fascinated by the way people involved in these schemes and proposals seem to fundamentally misunderstand what the role of money is in capitalism. They see financial markets as bafflingly complex black boxes in which you can add money and through equations see that money make more of itself, like the magic pudding; which is not unreasonable, since a suspiciously scammy bafflingly-complex-black-box is about right for finance in 2022. But what they do is try, instead of understanding what it is about money that reproduces itself, to imitate the baffling complexity and the arcaneness! It's as though they see finance and money as a matter of magic words, mathematical alchemy, and spells. The question of 'what's being produced here' isn't ever really addressed.

The principle of arranging a reliable supply of money for productive activity is extremely old and bone-simple. You don't need computers or novel code arrangements to do capitalism. But you do need to understand the idea of producing something people want—even if what's being produced is money itself.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:15 PM on August 1 [20 favorites]


"Bad news about Neal Stephenson, he's bought in on NFTs & has signed on with venture capitalist/Bitcoin Foundation guys to huck his own blockchain network."

This goes to prove that competency in one field prepares one for deep incompetency in another.

Hello, Matt Damon and the scores of other celebrities who've been shilling crypto.
posted by storybored at 5:22 PM on August 1 [7 favorites]


It's as though they see finance and money as a matter of magic words, mathematical alchemy, and spells. The question of 'what's being produced here' isn't ever really addressed.

Oh it's the financial equivalent of sovereign citizens, who treat laws like magic spells so if you say enough of the right Latin, you get out of parking fines
posted by Merus at 5:25 PM on August 1 [26 favorites]


I read the first few sentences and still don't quite understand what any of it means. Cryptographic indeed...

Wake me up when any of this makes sense. Until then, I'm happy to be missing out on the acronym economy.
posted by Chuffy at 5:26 PM on August 1 [7 favorites]


Amateurs. While this thread has been up - looks like upto $190m has been taken in “the first decentralized robbery” from another Web3 project - Nomad. Seems like the exploit became known and people were just taking random amounts and running - like the back door of an armored clown car being left open.

How muck of this is rug pull or “white hats” taking money to hand back later, or just people grabbing cash while they can because the cash was just there. But holy cow.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:01 PM on August 1 [9 favorites]


NFT BRO
posted by lalochezia at 6:02 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


So, what happened to all that money?

I guess it's gone

The previous owners have the money
posted by B3taCatScan at 6:20 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


Cryptoschadenfreude is the best schadenfreude.

Also, "Metafilter: a lack of value creation for token holders."
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:23 PM on August 1 [5 favorites]


NFT BRO

there's a cool little cafe I like to go that has a handwritten sign on its door explicitly refusing entry to fascists and Crypto bros
posted by philip-random at 7:15 PM on August 1 [26 favorites]


The details are complicated, deliberately, IMO. A large part of this con is information asymmetry. Crypto is genuinely complicated as a subject, and complex in its many, many details as turned into currency tokens. This gives it a shine of both Secret Knowledge and of Legitimate technical value. Added to the counterculture aspect, this is perfect bait for oppositionally defiant marks who believe in tech as the solution to all problems. It's just fancy baits for the hooks.

The 50,000 ft broad strokes though aren't much different from any con that's 1000s of years old: pump the marks up about something they believe in, that validates their self-image, get them to pay for it, then fold your tent and move on. Tech changes but humans don't.
posted by bonehead at 8:14 PM on August 1 [8 favorites]


Just skimmed through the post and assumed it's more of the same. But the story is, kids, if you want to make money dealing with intellectual property, stay in law school.

A friend of mine just closed all his short-positions in bitcoin-related securities and is retiring at 45. I wish I had figured out how to take advantage of this mass stupidity, but most of me looks at mass stupidity as an unpredictable wave and it's better to stay out of its way than try to ride it.
posted by morspin at 8:17 PM on August 1 [5 favorites]


Y'all are dishing on NFT's and crypto - but this is exactly the same shitty dude-bro narrative that governs actual wallstreet finance. I mean it. New medium, same shit.
posted by metametamind at 8:34 PM on August 1 [12 favorites]


most of me looks at mass stupidity as an unpredictable wave

I think you’re right. I mean, good for your friend, he was lucky, but if bitcoin is basically gambling, so is shorting bitcoin.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:39 PM on August 1 [4 favorites]


Yes and no. "Legitimate" financial instruments can be just as toxic and stupid, but at least they burn down rainforests the old fashioned way.
posted by rikschell at 8:40 PM on August 1 [7 favorites]


I find it fascinating how DAOs and NFTs in general lend themselves so easily to hype and wildly optimistic projections. Intellectual property is complicated and doing real stuff is hard. Even if the correct IP rights were associated with the book sale (and obvs this wasn't even close), the probability that a non-sucking movie could be produced is infinitesimally low.

My favorite though are these hyped NFTs that promise some idealized game world based around them. Again, creating a non-sucking game is hard AF. Thinking that the NFT you just bought will give you access to the game of your dreams is like expecting to get to the Moon by jumping up and down. But somehow people buy into the hype.
This is where the overlap between extremely-online-angry-but-enthusiastic-fandom and the NFT universe comes in. There's a baseline conviction that Doing X is easy if you have the resources, but nobody CARES enough to do it the right way — like WE would. The barrier to making things (including 'more money') is seen as purely one of gatekeeping. Sometimes that is a problem, but as anyone who's earnestly tried to get a project off the ground can say, sometimes you're just not lucky or people just don't want what you've got or your abilities don't match your ambitions.

Admitting that is hard; it's easier to believe gatekeepers are the only problem — and that the exciting world of cryptocurrency has dethroned them.
posted by verb at 9:03 PM on August 1 [6 favorites]


CLANG proved unworkable after $500k of rented space, motion capture equipment, swordfighting instruction and attempts to code it all up. I recall a postmortem that essentially said there was no workable control scheme, given current technology, to take what was mocapped and make it playable. So no, it wasn't a scam, it was an earnest attempt that went nowhere in the context of a larger project that... also went nowhere.

They could have just asked anybody who has worked on a fighting game instead of blowing 500K to discover it wouldn’t work, ah I forgot devs are lazy.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 9:11 PM on August 1 [8 favorites]


Just gonna post the link to the article on Charlotte Fang that betweenthebars posted again.

This is homunculus trollus, the common internet troll, in a position to scam the kinds of people who join fandom cults out of real-world money.
posted by subdee at 9:53 PM on August 1


Sometimes I think man, I can kind of foresee stupid NFT/crypto stuff. Is there a way I can just start an NFT that's stupid like the Dune bible, get crypto bros on board and walk away with $3 million. Then I realize that they're also buying into the idea of something bigger, and won't listen to someone like me. They want someone who thinks buying the production bible to a successful film somehow gives them rights to said film and gets them enough cachet to open a Hollywood studio.

They're not buying the bible they're buying into this whole idea that through the power of the purchase they're going to be something they're not. It is like Office Space come to life. I don't know if they realize that yeah you can be a super rich guy and buy a movie studio but there's very few people with the capital or business connections to do that and keep it running. The fact they hired a music video agency to do mockups either comes across, "Genius outsider!" or "Incredibly naive" and really since they don't have enough capital to float them past their mistakes, it is the last and only mistake.
posted by geoff. at 10:57 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Imho, the real value isn't in Jodworsky's production book, but rather in the inspiring documentary which highlighted its existence. When I first watched Jodworsky's Dune, it felt like the missing film was being edited and produced right then and there in my imagination. In my head canon, that remains the best Dune film adaptation thus far.
posted by fairmettle at 11:08 PM on August 1 [11 favorites]


i hate that Lain has anything remotely connected with this irredeemable embarrassment of scam

Weebs gonna weeb
posted by acb at 1:24 AM on August 2 [5 favorites]


So, what happened to all that money?

I guess it's gone

The previous owners have the money


The guy who auctioned it laughed all the way to the bank. What's the opposite of collateral damage? "Wow, cool, why did these idiots pay so much? Wevs, whoopeeeee!"
posted by Meatbomb at 2:07 AM on August 2 [2 favorites]


this is exactly the same shitty dude-bro narrative that governs actual wallstreet finance. I mean it. New medium, same shit.

Oh, we know. The only difference between NFT bros and Wall Street bros is - the Wall Street bros at least have enough brains to know that the magic doohickeys they're playing with are actually money already, with backing from the U.S. government, as opposed to some kind of vaguely-defined scrip with backing from a guy in a hoodie.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:41 AM on August 2 [4 favorites]


I get the feeling that the con started back at the auction, with whoever the other bidder who bid the price up so high was.
posted by eviemath at 5:40 AM on August 2 [9 favorites]


exactly the same shitty dude-bro narrative that governs actual wallstreet finance

Not just Wall Street, high finance everywhere.

Case in point: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/confessions-of-a-banker-office-porn-drug-binges-25-000-bar-bills-8f0jxcfbt
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:05 AM on August 2


MetaFilter Web3: an armored clown car .
posted by wenestvedt at 6:07 AM on August 2 [6 favorites]




NFTs are an incomprehensible mess: sheer hubris, greed and ignorance wrapped up in the dumbest wrappers imaginable, hawked by soap-deprived caffeine addicts who believe the Internet has always existed, and irrationally fear cold, hard cash simply because they've never seen much of it in their psychotic lives.
posted by dbiedny at 6:53 AM on August 2 [4 favorites]


why did these idiots pay so much?

I've wondered that too. The DAO only raised $700k before the auction. But then Soby personally made up the rest and paid $3M. One big question is who were the other bidders in the auction who drove the price up. Other DAO auctions have suffered from having no secrecy; everyone knows a DAO has $X to pay, so the bidding goes to $X. But in this case they only had 0.25X!

But I'm more interested in what was going on with Soby and his $3M. What was the thought process? It just seems like a weird way to start a scam, to put up 4x as much money as the people you're scamming. Maybe he was expecting a lot more money to come in with the book in in hand? Maybe Soby wasn't intending a scam but was genuinely thinking this was going to really get a film made?

This Buzzfeed story from December has more
A 25-year-old staking $3 million on the promise that his internet friends will somehow pay him back may sound terrifying, but a day after the auction, Saqib seemed sanguine. ...

A week later, TheSpiceDAO asked its members for $6 million — $3.8 million, after taxes and legal fees, to buy Jodorowsky’s bible, and another $2.2 million to make an animated film inspired by his vision. By the next day, the donations from thousands of friends, well-wishers, and perfect strangers totaled $12 million.

“I woke up this morning and my jaw dropped,” Saqib texted over WhatsApp. “I told you the community had my back!!!!”
Is that really what happened? A bunch of rubes were all so caught up in the excitement of the moment that they coughed up $12M as "donations"?
posted by Nelson at 6:57 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


Is that really what happened? A bunch of rubes were all so caught up in the excitement of the moment that they coughed up $12M as "donations"?

It's like P.T. Barnum said, there's a sucker born every minute.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:17 AM on August 2


Sure but who is the PT Barnum collecting the money from the marks in this story? I'm guessing it's not Soby. Whoever owned the book got $3M; where'd the other $9M go?
posted by Nelson at 7:19 AM on August 2


Maybe he was expecting a lot more money to come in with the book in in hand? Maybe Soby wasn't intending a scam but was genuinely thinking this was going to really get a film made?
I’d believe it with the easy come/easy go nature of cryptocurrency valuations – if these guys are steeped in that world, it’s easy to spend like a rich kid since your “net worth” keeps going up without you doing anything as long as the tokens can find new buyers, and the cost is something you can avoid thinking about as much because you’re dealing with internet points rather than handing over real money each time.

Having seen how many other projects got wild valuations, it’s not implausible to think that something with actually desirable art would get a lot of community involvement, too. If you looked at the average NFT, and especially looked at the much ballyhooed first sales to establish a “market cap” rather than the actual limited demand and, on average, much lower resell prices. I’m reminded of the people who during the dotcom bubble looked at unviable companies seeing huge returns and figured they’d get rich on “just” a percentage of that, with the money making it easy to forget that the most likely outcome was that neither would be worth much in a year or two.
posted by adamsc at 7:28 AM on August 2 [3 favorites]


Apparently yes, we are living in a Neal Stephenson novel: Man who threw away £150m in bitcoin hopes AI and robot dogs will get it back
posted by mubba at 7:46 AM on August 2 [3 favorites]


I heard on the news this morning that Tiffany is now in the business, though they have monetized NFTs by making $50,000 pendants full of jewels that are replicas of some hideous pixelated dudes, Cryptopunks, that people payed $200,000 for… Wear with pride a really expensive piece of jewelry that denotes that you spent even more money for something far less tangible.
posted by njohnson23 at 8:54 AM on August 2


METAFILTER: where'd the other $9M go?
posted by philip-random at 9:17 AM on August 2 [4 favorites]


Apparently yes, we are living in a Neal Stephenson novel: Man who threw away £150m in bitcoin hopes AI and robot dogs will get it back

how about spiders
posted by shenkerism at 9:40 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


They could have just asked anybody who has worked on a fighting game instead of blowing $

tbf a random survey of game devs has a high likelihood of "it coulda been great! If only we had had six more months to develop the $FANCYPART". Quixoticism not rare.
posted by clew at 9:58 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


I heard on the news this morning that Tiffany is now in the business

I'm relieved to hear that's the jewellery brand and not the 80s pop star (who, by all accounts, sounds like a decent human being)
posted by acb at 11:40 AM on August 2 [6 favorites]


mubba "If you help me dig up your landfill, I will donate part of the fake money... to promote itself in our community! What do you mean, no?"
posted by Selena777 at 2:58 PM on August 2 [1 favorite]


Just taking a second to say to the few that don't yet know, that Dan Olson's seminal vlog entry trashing all of crypto, Line Goes Up (slyt) is still out there and still great. For reasons I can't define I have now watched it about 4 times. I want him to explain everything always.
posted by hearthpig at 5:13 AM on August 3 [4 favorites]


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