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NFT Artist Exploits Cancer Story, Rug Pulls Pixel Penguins Project

3 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • The Pixel Penguins NFT project was intended to support a woman battling cancer, but it turned out to be a rug pull.
  • Crypto influencer ZachXBT exposes the project's artist as a con artist.
  • The Pixel Penguins project reportedly accumulated a sizeable amount of $117,000 (61.686 ETH).
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In an unexpected turn of events, the Pixel Penguins project, which was supposed to collect money for a woman fighting cancer, has reportedly turned out to be a rug pull.

ZachXBT, a crypto influencer, exposed the project’s artist, also known as @Hopeexist1, as a con artist.

Pixel Penguins Rug Pull

ZachXBT claims that Hopeexist1 tricked the cryptocurrency community and vanished after stealing the money. The mentioned artist’s Twitter account appeared inactive at the time of publication.

Pixel penguin artist @Hopeexist1 Twitter account. Source: Twitter
Pixel Penguin artist @Hopeexist1 Twitter account. Source: Twitter

Despite the condemnation of art theft in the previous year, collectors and supporters are heartbroken by the occurrence.

Collectors and supporters, devastated by the incident, have condemned the occurrence. The project was already under criticism for art theft in the previous year.

The tale came to light after well-known collector Andrew Wang @andr3w tweeted his admiration for @Hopeexist1’s pixel art. He described how the artist had unexpectedly given him a piece of art that he had been saving up for. The artist was said to be battling dacryocyst carcinoma. According to the later tweets, it is a serious type of cancer that affects the tear ducts.

The crypto community was enthralled by the moving account of @Hopeexist1’s struggle and resolve. It appeared that she wanted to make art despite her medical condition. In addition, Wang emphasized the artist’s enormous talent and tenacity. Meanwhile, @andr3w provided an extraordinarily touching account that included chats with the artist’s teacher.

However, the truth came to light within hours. The Pixel Penguins initiative, originally intended to help her fight cancer, now symbolizes betrayal.

Pixel Penguins Twitter Account. Source: Twitter
Pixel Penguins Twitter Account. Source: Twitter

The Pixel Penguins project reportedly accumulated $117,000 (61.686 ETH) in its contract balance. Recent transactions showed that the money was being transferred to two new addresses. According to updates by ZachXBT, the recovery process is complicated. He explained that money had already been moved into the OKX cryptocurrency exchange.

Influencer Fails at Due Diligence Again

The investors expressed their shock at the deception. Meanwhile, the incident raised concerns about the authenticity of artists and projects in the digital art realm amid rising scams.

It serves as a painful reminder of the risks involved in the digital space. And emphasizes due diligence when supporting projects or artists.

The story of the Pixel Penguins project serves as a cautionary tale, but influencers promoting scams are also noteworthy. BeInCrypto previously highlighted that crypto influencers had gained significant steam in shaping market trends and investment decisions.

Want to learn the best ways to promote an NFT project? Check out BeInCrypto’s fool-proof guide here.

However, many influencers have faced accusations of promoting fraudulent crypto projects. And the lack of comprehensive regulation in the crypto market exacerbates this issue.

Previously, ZachXBT has exposed a scam involving the $VIRAL meme coin. It allegedly used a verified badge and a fake endorsement from Argentine model Wanda Nara to deceive investors. The scam reportedly raised over 131 ETH, equivalent to around $242,000.

In a separate incident, crypto influencer Eunice Wong faced criticism on Twitter for promoting a scam token. She hyped THADDEUS without disclosing any affiliation with the project.

Influencers frequently endorse projects without carrying out thorough due diligence. So, the line between endorsing projects and misrepresentation has become blurry.

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Shraddha Sharma
Shraddha is an India-based journalist who worked in business and financial news before diving into the crypto space. As an investment enthusiast, she has also has a keen interest in understanding crypto from a personal finance standpoint.