With my apologies to F. Scott Fitzgerald, there are sometimes indeed second acts in American life. Sometimes they even involve NFTs. This is the case with the Winklevoss twins, who are perhaps best known for their lawsuit against Facebook, and for competing in the 2008 Olympics in rowing. Since then, they’ve been involved in a number of high-profile (and very lucrative) tech ventures.
Last year, the Winklevosse bought a digital art market, Nifty Gateway, from another group of tech-savvy twins, the Cock Foster brothers. Earlier this year, 10 designs by Rick and morty co-creator Justin Roiland sold it for $ 1.65 million, according to a report from Intelligencer. At this point, it’s not clear whether this was a wise investment – or a looming scandal.
In a new investigative report released by Air Mail, Nimrod Kamer explored some of the more controversial elements of the Nifty Gateway deal. He writes that the twin pairs “have retained their image as titans of the tech world while also becoming some of the most hated figures in the digital art world.” Why? This involves a number of factors, from issues with the design and user experience of Nifty Gateway to some contentious policies regarding the sale of artwork.
One strategist in the digital art space called Nifty Gateway “amateurish and riddled with bugs,” which aren’t qualities typically associated with sites where people will spend large sums of money. The Air Mail article also features quotes from several artists who commissioned works but whose expenses were never covered.
This is a disturbing set of events that seem alarming to artists and potential buyers. It wouldn’t be a tension-free second act, but Kamer’s article details issues that seem to go deeper than that.
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