Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Just when you thought you might have got away with ripping some images from the internet to make a cartoon about a fake crypto paradise island that some people seem to believe might actually one day exist and flogging some NFTs on the back of it for millions of dollars’ worth of strings and 1s and 0s, the video falls into the wrong hands and people start mocking you and calling you scammers and before you know it your video has gone viral and has landed on the screens of us friendly folk here at FT Alphaville.
The full promotional video has now been removed from Cryptoland’s official YouTube channel, but fear not, you can still watch it here.
Now as you might imagine, the team behind Cryptoland was not too happy about the reception to its fantastic(al) video, and took issue with some of the things we said. We have amended our original article to reflect their objections. In case you are interested, the two corrections we have made are as follows: first, Connie is just a cartoon coin who also founded Cryptoland (duh, makes total sense), not the native coin of Cryptoland as we wrote. Second, when someone asked them on Twitter what the age of consent would be on Cryptoland and its account replied: “Mental maturity should be more than enough! ;)” well that wasn’t in reference to the age of sexual consent, just, um, general consent, (again, duh!) so we have removed the word “sexual”.
To be fair, given they are non-native English speakers, we are happy to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one. As this anonymous Twitter account points out, even Cryptoland has boundaries.
Everyone, please don’t mistake @Cryptoland‘s words. They aren’t about the promotion of pedophilia or other ugly topics. They’re simply about good old fashioned Ponzi schemes involving a fraudulent fantasy land purchase. They may be aspiring criminals. But, they have boundaries. https://t.co/sy24fRxYUW
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) January 9, 2022
But we are apparently not the only ones the good people at Cryptoland are upset with. Take a look at the email Molly White, the software engineer who first brought attention to the video via a Twitter thread, was sent from the Cryptoland “Legal Department”.
— Molly White (@molly0xFFF) January 9, 2022
Now we wouldn’t want to be guilty of any libel-via-defamation, but it does strike us as a little unusual that there are no names of people or law firms in the sign off, or any of the usual bumph that we normally see at the bottom of legal letters from lawyers. But when someone on Twitter suggested that perhaps this was not sent by a real lawyer, Cryptoland responded in rather menacing fashion, with the following (our emphasis):
We are not impersonating anyone. Sending a letter of cease and decease is a perfectly legit tool to ask a person to stop spreading misinformation.
We did ask Cryptoland about the letter and they told us they do indeed have an internal lawyer. We asked why they hadn’t used their name in the sign off and they told us:
We will respond to this over time.
So that settles that then.
We also asked why the video had been removed from their YouTube channel and they told us:
Because a friend kindly asked us to do so.
Another issue is that some of the images used in the cartoon — the cartoon that Kyle Chassé literally says in the promotional video was a key reason for his interest in the project — don’t seem to have been created by the Cryptoland geniuses themselves. One of these digital images was created by someone called Kamila Bianchi. The moving 3D image is of what Biachi calls “Seagull Rig”, which you can see here.
Now we asked Cryptoland about this, and they didn’t deny using the image. Instead they said:
Many people have worked on the video and at this point I cannot remember who was in charge of that sequence. We commissioned the creation of many of those assets and others were bought. But upon a quick search, I’ve found that the rig is free for everyone to use. So maybe there’s been a misunderstanding. We will keep investigating this.
But we also contacted Bianchi and asked her about this. She told us:
My asset is free for non-commercial use. I contacted them on Twitter asking [for it] to be removed, as it’s clearly an ad for their product. They blocked me straight away and I didn’t hear anything else from them.
Sounds like a great misunderstanding indeed.
Some of the other images also appear to have been ripped from various parts of the internet — Motherboard has done a good piece on the whole debacle going into some of the detail which you can read here.
The decency, integrity, and intelligence of the cryptoverse truly knows no bounds.
Cryptoland: a glimpse into the future we all deserve — FT Alphaville
Crypto Private Island Posting Through Widespread Backlash — VICE Motherboard
For the latest news and views on fintech from the FT’s network of correspondents around the world, sign up to our weekly newsletter #fintechFT
Sign up here with one click