Given how things are going in the NFT space, we here at MSQ decided it’s high time to put together a little NFT Survival Guide to help both new and seasoned NFT enthusiasts to navigate the turbulent world of NFTs with a little more confidence. For this reason, in place of today’s Discovery of the Day, we bring you some useful checks and procedures to apply before committing to any kind of NFT-based project. Let’s get into it!
Rise of the Scamsters
A couple of weeks ago I was approached by an NFT creator on Discord regarding a new NFT project by the name of MetaBulls . I was a little taken aback because it was the first time an NFT creator had actually approached me about covering their project. Moreover, they were quite aggressive in their pitch and even wanted to compensate me for creating a detailed video about MetaBulls. Naturally I declined the offer and simply stated that I would be happy to look into their project and create a Discovery of the Day for free. At first they seemed a little displeased, but after showing them an existing MSQ article, they seemed satisfied. I informed one of my more experienced colleagues at MSQ about the offer, to which they replied, ‘Just be careful Brynn…some of these projects could be scams.’
I thought this reply somewhat odd but couldn’t really shirk it off. I had scheduled the Discovery of the Day for MetaBulls to coincide with their launch day, which, if memory serves, was October 11th 2021. I had joined their Discord prior to commencing further research on the article and found the number of announcements and general activity strange, even disconcerting. Anyway, when the time came to finally look closer into the project, I checked out their website, their team and their upcoming ‘game.’ Needless to say…I started getting cold feet.
I then proceeded to look them up on YouTube and actually found someone who had covered them. I checked out the comments on the video talking about how terrible the devs were and how it was a rug pull…not a good sign at all. I then decided to look around Twitter and saw the same sentiments being echoed there. Probably the factor that really turned me off the project the most was their so-called ‘game’ that they claimed to have already developed. Look at this…
If you actually saw the ‘gameplay’ video from this, you’d know it’s a load of Meta-Bull
A project that had just launched with an already complete game and anonymous devs with no social media links? And a ‘Roadmap’ that was poorly written and only posted in their Discord? Nope. I was out!
What’s faster than a speeding rug pull? Me dropping MetaBulls, of course…
I momentarily forgot about MetaBulls, and, a few days later, I found out that their Twitter and Discord had been deleted…it was an out and out rug pull. I also need to draw your attention to this great post-rug analysis by Matty which is one of the first posts I encountered after the MetaBulls Rug Pull. It has also served to inform much of the content within this survival guide, so thanks and kudos where it is due:
Life After Death?
The MetaBulls website is still up and running (for now) and, if viewed in the right light, is an excellent case study for anyone wanting to improve their skills when evaluating NFT projects. That said, MetaBulls is by no means a particularly sophisticated rug pull. Chances are also good that, as we get smarter as collectors and enthusiasts, these scams will inevitably become more nuanced and harder to spot. For this reason, to my mind, Rule 1 is:
If anything about a project gives you the heebie-jeebies…Do. NOT. Get involved!
Yup, it doesn’t actually matter what everyone else says. All your friends like it? Everyone says it’s gonna moon? While it’s tempting to buy into hype, you absolutely don’t have to. Does it mean you could miss out on some opportunities? Certainly. Does it also mean you might make some really good calls and protect your hard-earned crypto in the process? Also, certainly. At the end of the day, if you don’t feel confident about getting into an NFT project, or if you don’t like x or y, then simply don’t get involved. Unless someone is coercing you and holding a gun to your head, if you lose out on a project, it is, as much as I hate to say it…your fault.
If you can accept and understand Rule 1, you then qualify for the remaining procedures and tips in this guide. So, are you ready? Here we go!
The MSQ NFT Survival Guide
Right, so, you don’t have to necessarily follow these checks and procedures in order, but this is more or less how I carry out a preliminary check on a project. Here goes:
Step 1: Check out the Project’s Twitter Page
The reason I think it’s best to start here is because so much discourse around NFT projects happens on Twitter. It’s kinda the first port of call since you can see what a project is about, its social media links, how long it’s been around for and what the community is saying. Now, before I begin here, I want to provide you with this…
Disclaimer: The sentiments expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions or attitudes of MSQ.io as a whole. Moreover, the following example’s legitimacy is questionable, but it is not a proven scam per se. You are free to disagree with this appraisal, but based on existing evidence and sentiments around this project, I have reason to believe it is extremely risky to get involved in and is not something I would ever actively promote in any way, shape or form.
Now this project, GunHunter , looks above board since it has links to its website as well as other social media sites. The page has been around since March 2021, and the project has well over 46K Followers. All good, right? Well, let’s take a look at GunHunter’s most recent post…
This doesn’t seem right to me. Over 46,000 Followers, but on this post, less than 20 Likes and a handful of Retweets? Now compare this with their Pinned Tweet:
So just 5 days earlier, and this post has nearly 5,000 Likes and thousands of Quote Tweets and Retweets. Now just look at some of the comments:
And on and on it goes: hundreds and hundreds of generic bot comments repeated ad infinitum. Color me crazy, but this kind of thing doesn’t instill much confidence in me. Does this prove it’s a scam or rug pull? No. But consider that I also couldn’t find anyone saying anything negative about the project either, which is also not a good sign. Unanimous praise for something with this many followers? Not buying it. Also, it doesn’t look like anybody I know is aware of this project, nor have I even heard anyone in my rather extensive and growing circle talk about it. To me, this is a major red flag.
Step 2: Visit the Project’s Website (If Applicable)
While I would say don’t trust a project if it doesn’t have a website, that would be unfair because many great smaller projects don’t necessarily have a full functioning website as-yet. That said, if there is a website, scope it out in its entirety. With GunHunter, the website looks pretty decent: it has a full Roadmap, Tokenomics, even some examples of character designs and stats. However, this is what makes alarm bells go off in my head:
Now I have nothing against an anon team. In fact, it’s very normal in any NFT project. However, the team’s avatars all look like they came out of a weirdo Pixar movie or something. More than that, not a single social media link or anything of the sort. And why the ultra-cringe aliases? This is the only project I’ve seen like this, and I just can’t get behind it. Oh, and check out their partners:
Pretty extensive list of very impressive partners and ecosystems, all in non-clickable low-res images. So this project is based on Binance Smart Chain, but is also going to have players on Polygon, Polkadot and Solana? That’s pretty ambitious. It sounds…unlikely to me. Again, not buying it.
To be fair, according to their Roadmap, it looks like they are only in ‘Pharse 1’ (Farce 1!? Really?) of the project, so everything is still is ostensibly in early development. Maybe I’m jumping the gun here and I’m judging this project too harshly, but I dunno…personally, it’s not compelling to me.
Aptly named? Or am I crazy?
Step 3: Join the Project’s Discord
Right, so I joined the GunHunter Discord to scope out the community’s activity there. This is what their #general channel primarily consists of:
A single admin occasionally responds to messages, or at least, one admin profile, but that’s it. Additionally, there are 9,000 Discord members, but when I logged in initially, there were only 83 members online, which is incredibly low. However, there are numerous announcements and some engagement here, so I suppose that’s one positive aspect:
Previous announcements range between 6 reactions and 2,000+. Seems like a major disparity to me, but maybe I’m just dreaming here. Thing is…where is the substance? I just don’t feel it. I don’t want to be part of this community. I don’t even want to ask anything because it feels so alien and inconsistent. Major red flags here too.
Step 4: Look the Project Up on YouTube
OK, so GunHunter does have a YouTube page with close to 1,900 subscribers and a single video. Here it is:
So there’s a 32 second video with some music, a bunch of static images, some terrible 3D animated graphics and zero actual gameplay. Oh, the video also has 975 Likes and 1 Dislike (99.9% Likes). NOT BUYING IT! The Like to Dislike ratio is totally off, and the video is poorly edited even by an amateur YouTuber’s standards. With a huge team of apparent experts (not that anyone could tell), you would expect the quality of final video to be substantially better. Something’s off here. Yet again, red flags for days!
Step 5: Look at Any Other Info and/or Social Media Pages
GunHunter has a Telegram channel with nearly 60,000 members. So much hype right? I didn’t bother joining because I suspect I’ll get much the same results. Also, the icon I clicked on to get here was an Instagram icon, yet it took me to their Telegram? Huh?
GunHunter is also on Facebook with almost 10,000 followers. I clicked on a post…tons and tons of bot/generic comments. Need I say more?
I’m not going to go on with this because, to my mind, this isn’t a project worth participating in. Again, you’re free to disagree, and maybe I’m wrong, but where are the human beings here!?
Step 6: Make Your Decision
Is GunHunter a scam or rug pull? Well, even if it isn’t, I don’t like it. Even if it is just a poorly put together and run project, I won’t be getting involved. If you can find any evidence to the contrary or know something I don’t, please contact me and enlighten me. I will be eternally grateful for the feedback!
The End of the Journey?
While the above is useful, I feel like this is just a basic guide and doesn’t really cover every type of scam. For this reason I and/or the rest of the team will have to do a follow-up article in the near future. Some other quick tips to help you out:
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably is
- Don’t just click on any link you receive unless you are 100% sure it is legitimate (be super careful in Discord in particular)
- If you’re unsure, ask
- If you’re unsure, wait
- If you’re really really unsure, don’t get involved
- Don’t give in to peer pressure or groupthink/hype and make your own decisions
- Own your mistakes and realize you may not get it right every time (you probably won’t. I say this with love)
I hope all of the above is of use to you. Again, if you have any feedback or information for me regarding GunHunter or any other comments, I welcome it with open arms. I am always happy to learn, and if I really am off-base, please feel free to tell me why. Until next time NFT fans, take care and look after yourselves!