Azuki influencer suspends NFT project launch after accusations of plagiarism

Azuki influencer suspends NFT project launch after accusations of plagiarism

The much-anticipated non-fungible token (NFT) drop by pseudonymous artist and researcher Elena, known for her association with NFT collection Azuki, was unexpectedly postponed on Wednesday. The postponement followed accusations of plagiarism related to her latest project, Atomic Ordinals. The allegations have set the crypto Twitter alight, raising concerns about the potential misuse of influence in the Web3 space.

Atomic Ordinals launch postponed

Elena, with a significant online following of approximately 90,000, was once self-proclaimed as the “researcher in residence” for Azuki. However, that designation no longer appears on her Twitter profile.

Her collection, dubbed Atomic Ordinals, consists of 200 pixel-art inscriptions on the Ordinals Protocol. It was initially planned to debut on Magic Eden’s Bitcoin Creator Launchpad.

Is plagiarism a form of flattery or theft?

The controversy sparked when Kemosabe, chief creative at Phase Labs, accused Elena on Twitter of stealing art for her new project. Kemosabe referred to a series of tweets from Nicole Liu, the creator of the Abstract Ordinals NFT collection, who highlighted similarities in the art but didn’t express any direct grievances.

In response, Liu said: “I think imitation is a form of flattery… I don’t have a problem with it.”

Despite Liu’s indifference, she voiced concerns about the artwork’s quality and the hefty $1,500 price tag for the inscriptions, calling it “unacceptable.” As word spread on Twitter about the alleged plagiarism, many users criticized influencers who leverage their stature to earn fast money, a troubling trend in the Web3 community.

Be extra wary about crypto influencers

Countless crypto influencers leverage their popularity to promote rug pulls and other scams. “Time and time again, people amass influence only to cash in on it,” commented Kemosabe, reflecting a widespread sentiment within the community.

Shortly after, the head of community at Chiru Labs, known as Dem, stated that Elena’s contract with them had recently ended and wouldn’t be renewed.

In response to the allegations, Elena announced that she would postpone the Atomic Ordinals drop. She admitted to retracing some source images, an action frowned upon within the artistic community. Elena also revealed that she had received a multitude of hate messages and even death threats following the accusations.

In a more detailed thread, Elena expressed regret and took responsibility for her actions. She also confirmed that the 16 contested images would be removed from her collection.

“I genuinely apologize to everyone. These silo-ed images exist so artists can incorporate them into their work which I know made a lot of people upset.” – Elena

Azuki looking to hire new talent

In related news, Azuki seems to be looking to expand its team. As Yuga Labs and Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) face a surprising decline, Azuki is taking the opportunity to cement itself as one of the most renowned blue-chip NFT collections.

The team recently announced it is looking to fill in several positions within the project, paying over $250,000 per year to employees.

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