The day before NFT.NYC launched this week, the world of Web3 experienced a seismic shift – NFT guru Noah Davis announced he was leaving Christie’s, where he helped organize the 69.3 record million dollars from Beeple. Every day sale, leading the NFT CryptoPunks collection, which was purchased by Bored Ape Yacht Club parent company Yuga Labs last March.
Insider trading rumors spread quickly during the Web3 conference as space watchers noticed that trading volume for the CryptoPunks collection increased by more than 957% in the 24-hour period. (compared to the previous 30-day average) before Davis’ announcement.
Public trading data on CryptoSlam!, an NFT industry data aggregator, shows that CryptoPunks recorded 115 trades on June 18 for a total trade volume of $8,120,614. In the previous three months, exchanges never exceeded 34 total transactions per day and were mostly in the teens and single digits. Selling prices during this period never exceeded $6.7 million and were most often between $500,000 and $2 million.
Key buyers like Gary Vaynerchuck, an investor in YugaLabs, and BeanieMaxi, a huge influencer in the space who has been repeatedly accused of fraud and shady dealings, were among those picking up CryptoPunks in the hours leading up to the launch. announcement from Davis.
Vaynerchuck denied having access to special information in a Tweeter.
Those who cry foul play claim that someone must have leaked the news to a select few, even going so far as to draw a comparison to recently arrested Nate Chastain, who the FBI charged with wire fraud and money laundering earlier this month in connection with NFT transactions made during his tenure at OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT platform.
For now, however, this is just speculation. There is no evidence that Davis or anyone else has leaked any information about his impending transfer to CryptoPunks. Either way, the timing left some in the NFT community frustrated and claimed that “alpha groups” were manipulating the market.
But what are these “alpha groups”?
WazzCrypto, an NFT community member who first posted a thread about his investigation into the punk peak preceding the announcement, described them in a private message.
“Usually, alpha groups are private chats (on telegram or discord for example) that you only have access to by invitation or by holding a certain NFT. Lots of big collectors and influencers hang out in these chats, that’s why there’s ‘alpha’ to be had from there,” WazzCrypto wrote at ART news. “Some information definitely leaks to these places before anywhere else. Someone feeds or leaks information there, and then it eventually trickles down to subgroups or the public, causing momentum in the market.
These alpha groups range from accessible to simply legendary. On the accessible side, you have groups like Admit One or the Proof Collective, launched by NFT influencers Gmoney and Kevin Rose respectively. Each group can be accessed by owning a limited edition NFT, after which the holder will have access to a private Discord server and hopefully influencer-traders who are themselves tapped into even more exclusive networks through which valuable information.
Others in the Web3 space said other factors could have contributed to the spike.
“It was a good time to enter the Punk ecosystem as the floor price is almost half of what it was a few months ago, and the ETH rate against the dollar is in a good position,” said Fanny Lakoubay, owner of Punk. ART news. “So it was a good opportunity for collectors to come in, but maybe that’s a bit naive. It’s just a very, very big coincidence.
Lakoubay, however, said she was not worried and indicated that the punk holders she knows and met during NFT.NYC were happy with the choice to bring in Davis to lead the collection. .
“They could have chosen anyone, even a rapper,” Lakoubay said, referring to the decision announced Wednesday to hand Pharrell Williams the direction of the Doodles NFT project as brand director. “The fact that they chose Noah is, in my opinion, a very positive thing.”