Blockverse claimed to be a fully on-chain NFT PvP (Player versus Player) game featuring unique play-to-earn mechanics and skill based gameplay hosted within an already established game, the massively popular sandbox game Minecraft.
It first showed up on Twitter on January 13, opened its official Discord server on January 18, and raised around USD $1,300,000 in its public minting on January 24.
On January 25, Blockverse deleted their discord, website and minecraft server.
This is what is colloquially known in the crypto space as a rug pull. According to CoinMarketCap.com, a rug pull is “a malicious maneuver in the cryptocurrency industry where crypto developers abandon a project and run away with investors’ funds”. Usually, executors of a rug pull will seemingly disappear off the face of the earth never to be heard from again.
However, Blockverse resurfaced on Jan 29, 2022 issuing the following statement:
A statement from the Blockverse Team
— Blockverse (@Blockverse_NFT) January 28, 2022
In the statement Blockverse communicated the intended legitimacy of their project:
“Hey all. We feel that we owe everyone an apology, and more importantly an explanation. Blockverse was supposed to be a great project, as before our launch we invested an enormous amount of time and resources working on it. Everything was fully legitimate: our contract was verified, the game infrastructure was fully set up, and our launch went well, albeit with some small bumps along the road”.
Later on, as they began work on the project, they stated that they failed to realize and contain the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) that they ran into and that quickly became its downfall.
“In the midst of our continued development, we failed to realize and contain all the FUD that was going on through a multitude of issues, including but not limited to: gas fees being high, MC server not being able to hold everyone at once, and the lack of utility of $DIAMONDS. Eventually, things started spiraling out of control.”
They continued to state that there were more issues that they deemed were out of their control. It all spiraled and eventually felt too overwhelming and Blockverse decided they decided to delete everything to prevent the continued harassment.
“18 hours after launch, the FUD quickly descended into harassment, threats, and doxxing. The team noticed all this and panicked, deleting the discord server on impulse. Everything else was closed to prevent the continuation of harassment that had occurred so far. Even then, the plan was to reopen once everyone had time to calm down. There is absolutely no reason for us to leave permanently, as all the technical work and infrastructure for the project thus far has already been put in place. It was actually more work to take things down than to leave it up, but again, everything was done in the interest of protecting personal safety.”
Speaking to PCgamer, members of the Blockverse support discord server disclosed that they are now negotiating with Blockverse developers to hand over control for the project. Now there’s only the small matter of the devs wanting to keep a significant portion, if not all of the 500 ETH from their sale, to compensate the work they’ve already done and the FUD they suffered.
Negotiations are still currently ongoing and Blockverse promises to open everything up in the days to follow.
“Needless to say, our team is fully on board, and we’re currently waiting for discussions to conclude. We’d like to apologize to our supporters and loyal patrons for the inconvenience we’ve caused. Staked Blockverse tokens are to be immediately unstaked so owners will have full access and control over everything they purchased, and the Discord and MC server are set to be open in the next few days. Updates will continue on twitter in the vein of continued transparency.”
United Gamers Guild: Analysis and Perspective
Make no mistake, what Blockverse did was a rug pull. They deleted their Minecraft server and their Discord within 24 hours after minting. They were also unresponsive in the 24 hours after minting. The website listed in their Twitter bio is still down at the time of this writing. Blockverse did a rug pull.
It just so happens that, through whatever reason between a possible crisis of conscience or rumors of getting tracked down and fear of litigation, its creators resurfaced and were willing to negotiate with the community to hand over the project and a portion of the raised money.
While It’s certainly unusual for the executors of a rug pull to just resurface like this — usually they’d be content with making off with the cash that they grifted from unwitting investors — this does very little to mitigate the offense.
Instead of straight-up highway robbery, Blockverse now appears to “just” be holding the money and project hostage.
Moving forward, it’s also very worrisome that it was almost possible to establish a Play-to-Earn game within another game, using its resources and infrastructure to effectively host it without the apparent knowledge or consent of the game’s actual developers. This sets a very dangerous precedent.
If other NFT/blockchain game developers follow suit, legitimate or not, using highly moddable games such as Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto V or Skyrim as inspiration to establish their cryptogaming platform, then we might see mainstream gaming tighten up restrictions, enact stricter policing and overall solidify its stance on the burgeoning new industry — which may or may not be a good thing.
United Gamers Guild writers offer their unique Analysis and Perspective as expert opinions to help readers understand the context of the facts. These opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publication or its principals.