The hot topic which made millionaires overnight and started a new era for artists and crypto enthusiasts, of course, I am talking about the buzzword NFT. It seemed like just a bubble in mid-2021, but when the bigshots started to join… oh boy, it became a massive whirlwind of fire in the crypto and tech community. Heck, not only crypto enthusiasts knew, but ordinary people who followed tech news also jumped in to get the sweet, sweet share of the pie.
Now, most credit goes to the giant Meta (formerly Facebook). When they announced the “future of Internet” Metaverse, the digital market bloomed to the roof. Of course, NFT was no exception. NFT skyrocketed to the moon. Metaverse gave new meaning to NFT. Before the announcement, NFTs were something you could only flex on social media, but after, it became something that you can use on virtual worlds too.
By seeing this potential, companies like Nike immediately partnered with the digital shoe designer and NFT maker company RTFKT. Well, the trend has started, and no one in the right mind wants to leave behind on this department. Such other brands like Adidas, Zara, Gucci, etc., joined the hype.
Many well-known bigshots have joined the burning bandwagon. Speaking of Gucci, earlier this year, Gucci and superplastic announced the collaboration to release new sets of NFTs.
Gucci, the luxury Italian fashion house, is the latest to enter Web 3 with the launch of ten non-fungible tokens (NFT) on February 1st. In collaboration with the cult toy trademark Superplastic, the NFTs were co-designed by Gucci’s head of design, Alessandro Michele. Each NFT will come with a ceramic sculpture co-designed by Gucci and handcrafted in Italy. This will be Gucci’s first NFT drop.
Superplastic is a collectables company that has issued NFTs through the Winklevoss brothers’ Nifty Gateway. Kidrobot founder Paul Budnitz founded Superplastic in 2018 and has sold millions of dollars in designer toys and apparel based on the characters Janky & Guggimon, Dayzee & Staxx, Kranky, and ShüDog.
The Superplastic partnership appears to be a turning point. Auctioning NFTs has already brought in millions of dollars for high-end designer houses. In September, Dolce & Gabbana debuted its NFT collection, Collezione Genesi, and the collection sold for $5.65 million. With more fashion labels launching NFTs, many people are wondering whether this is a watershed moment for the industry or just a case of trend hopping.
According to Morgan Stanley, the whole NFT industry is predicted to reach $300 billion by 2030, with brands like Gucci and Balenciaga in the best position to profit from metaverse digital collaborations. Activation in prominent open metaverses like The Sandbox and Decentraland is not part of the Gucci project yet.
Enter the dark side
So when Superplastic and Gucci announced this news, everyone went nuts including some bad actors. In the case of the Gucci release. I followed it about a week before launch and during the date of drop on 1st of February I sat behind my screen and followed the development. I was eating and shitting discord all day long. So the drop was initially phased in 3 timeslots 1-hour delay between them as shown below.
Owners of Super Plastic NFT had early access for the first 150NFT batch and the way it was supposed to work. You need to have a certain NFT of them in your wallet during applying for mint. To obtain such NFT the floor price of superplastic started at around 0.3eth at writing and could go up to 7eth depending on what you fancied.
The Gucci discord group got second dibs with a user password to enter at 11 AM ET and finally public mint at 12 AM ET.
Tragedy or incompetance?
The moment the clock hit 10 AM ET I went inside, I saw from the 150, 148 was sold out already. I thought oh well it’s a hot item and we got a lot of people wanting it, I’m going to roll the dice with my early access. We had 1000 people in the Super Plastic Discord channel and my guess was…. 400 people would want it and have the 1.5 eth minting price. oh yes… you read that correctly…. 1.5eth.
So after hitting the “sold out” wall I went back to discord to see who got it and I opened OpenSea.io and I am seeing the discord is exploding and OpenSea listings of the newly minted Super Gucci NFT for around 7/8 ETH. Even though expensive and almost 5x more than the mint prices, it was still undervalued in my opinion because you would get a handmade Gucci porcelain vase. This didn’t make sense to me so I went back to discord to find the biggest shitshow I have ever seen from an exclusive brand. Now mind you I have been to other drops and brands and collabs so I am not new to hiccups during launch but this was starting to look like a massive shitshow and here is why.
Bot mint started early
The first problem started with the fact the contract was created 1 day before the launch which already leaves enough time and footprint to be spotted and not to mention the creator was testing and doing stuff for days before releasing and well…. the longer you are on the etherscan messing around, the quicker you will be spotted for a potential bot action. And yes if your contract creator account is months active before the mint date, you are just asking for it at this moment then.
Wallets without Super Plastic NFT where able to mint during early access
Now, this mistake is one of the biggest and stupidest mistakes ever you could make. So during writing the minting contract you can write that the minting of the first 150 SuperGucci NFT’s can only be done if the owner of the wallet owns a certain NFT before going through with the mint or approving it.
What Superplastic did instead was to put a frontend wallet check with metamask to check if you have that NFT before sending you through to the minting page. Well shitttt sherlock what the hell is it good for to have exclusive early access if there is no security in place to prevent it and especially if there is already a standard way to embed this, why not embed it into the blockchain and opt for a WordPress level security instead dear lord it goes downhill from here now on so grab your popcorn, we are in here for a ride.
Dumping on the OpenSea
So what do you do as a bot with just freshly minted Super Gucci NFT’s ? you drop them on Opensea before getting caught on and that went pretty smooth. so let’s follow the money trail from there and see what’s up.
Round 2, the next shitstorm of Gucci
So while everyone was panicking and scrambling to find out what is happening, a few were looking at the contracts and timing and knew already what is going on. So when round 2 came which was for the Gucci Discord members who would receive a login code to enter at 11 AM ET. However, at exactly 11:02 I received the code as an announcement in the server while between 11:00 and 11:02 the chat was exploding with where is the code and the server also crashed which it shouldn’t have with so little activity. Anyways, at 11:02 everyone got a code and logged in, oopsie… sold out again. This time the bot needed only 1-minute headstart as you can see clearly in the contract the minting started 1 min before.
Again what the hell is the use of a password on the front end when the contract is wide open to mint? let alone some people used brute force to guess the login password and with no captcha in place, any script kiddie could have downloaded a brute force programme and let it loose for the most popular words and some did get lucky and got in at the same time the bot got in and snatched one.
Angry mob starting to take over the Super Plastic and Gucci Vault server
So after round 2 everyone now understood what was happening. And with everyone I mean everyone else, because a few and all superplastic and Gucci team already knew what happened during the first mint but it was already too late, things were set in motion and cannot be changed again. And that is why kids when you start an NFT project you don’t hire from LinkedIn ;). Anyways so people started to become really angry on both servers and rightly so!.
People with the superplastic NFT started being angry in their server because basically a lot of people bought a superplastic NFT for almost 1eth to get early access to only discover the first dozen of NFT’s were minted by addresses with no Super Plastic NFT inside of it. So people started to sell their Super Plastic NFT because they felt cheated and lied to. So the floor price of superplastic dipped a bit. Now mind you Super Plastic and Gucci both as brands and merch are great companies but to think to jump on the blockchain with not enough knowledge about a certain aspect of the blockchain including the darker side is just plain ignorant and even dangerous for the brand name itself. I rather have coca-cola sell only coke than open a restaurant with cockroaches, I would end up leaving AND also never buy coke again. So this is something for the folks at superplastic and Gucci to sort out because people are pissed.
Final round postponed and then changed
So the final round was postponed by 1 hour to 1 PM ET and people waited patiently until the mob started to scream raffle raffle raffle I think this was the point where both teams decided to call it quits and just raffle the remaining Super Gucci NFT’s. By this time the North Korean bot team already cashed out and it was already been traded on OpenSea. So as a moment of publishing this article we are waiting for the raffle conditions to start and to be announced.
Superplastic saves the day
The days following the dramatic start, Superplastic decided to go beyond to make sure the remaining 200 Super Gucci’s be released only to those eligible and also human.
They locked the server and anyone who was in already had a chance of getting a supergucci. There were at the time of closing over 60k people inside. Superplastic started a manual process of making sure everyone in the server is a human and anyone who wasn’t was thrown out. The users with a SuperPlastic NFt were verified and passed the test fairy quickly. The new members however were filled with bots so the scrubbing began.
After scrubbing the server clean the team announced there will be 3 rounds of 15min slots where a channel will become available and where you could paste your address in to enter the raffle. Each round allowed 3500 submissions or 5min channel opening and it would close whichever came first.
After 3 rounds everything was in and now the raffle could start. But JUST not yet because Superplastic wanted to make sure every wallet in that raffle is indeed still belonged to a human and is eligible to enter the raffle. After a lot of filtering the list was shortened to less than 1500 people!.
The live raffle recording
So superplastic wanted to make sure everything went fair so what they did was feed the wallets to a random spinner and everyone could tune in and watch the results! spread over 3 live streams, 192 wallets were randomly picked.
The lucky winners will then be sent a private purchase link to each to make sure nothing goes wrong during the mint.
Superplastic could have solved this in many ways and some might say it went too far, and others might say not far enough. In the end, Superplastic acted swiftly and solved the matter not only for this drop but made sure the future drops will go smoothly. Because if you can thwart such a vicious attack on such highly anticipated drop then that means Gucci made the correct call in partnering with them.