Investigation Findings and Decision Regarding NFTEarth Grant Funding
Dear Community Members,
We wish to notify you of a dispute regarding NFTEarth during the Arbitrum on Gitcoin Grant Funding Fest. The purpose of this document is to share the outcomes of our investigation and the subsequent decision.
Multiple community members flagged a “bad actor” in the grant round. Additionally, their STIP proposal was flagged.
Plurality Labs* has decided to exclude NFTEarth from receiving the matching funds payout from the recent Gitcoin on Arbitrum Funding Fest. Remove eligibility from all Plurality Labs grant programs and recommend the same for other Arbitrum grant programs.
The investigations centered on identifying projects that exhibited behaviors falling into the following categories:
Proven bad actors within the web3 community.
Misuse of funds, improper representation, farming
Grant emulations, fake projects that simulate the behavior of genuine grants.
Other malicious activities, including projects involved in sybil attacks, round farming, or other extractive or prohibited actions as per our eligibility criteria.
Out of the 51 approved projects, one project, in particular, has been actively pursuing payouts while invoking multiple reasons. This raised concerns that the project may fit into the scenarios outlined above (1 and/or 2). After thorough scrutiny of the project, specifically NFTEarth, we uncovered the following:
Improper representation - The leadership of NFTEarth is closely linked to that of L2DAO, a known bad actor in the web3 community. (Reference: L2DAO Grant Usage Final Summary)
Inappropriate reaction - threatening round admins and using alternate accounts to simulate the appearance of an upset community
During our investigation, multiple individuals, some associated with the grant program and others not, came forward and indicated that NFTEarth is known for its unfavorable reputation within the web3 ecosystem. We also reached out to multiple Arbitrum delegates and Optimism community members familiar with the incident there.
NFTEarth’s reaction to our inquiries was hostile. First, the NFTEarth team initiated contact with our team members and exerted pressure to expedite the distribution of matching funds. Upon presenting the evidence linking them to L2DAO and the allegations of misconduct, NFTEarth’s response was to assert that they were being unfairly targeted due to their innovative and competitive approach. Subsequently, they resorted to making threats against our team members in our Telegram channel.
Additionally, tweets were posted from an account primarily used for retweeting NFTEarth posts, accusing our team of involvement in various unfounded and illogical malicious activities.
It is important to note that all grants within Plurality Labs programs are subject to the discretion of both the round manager and Plurality Labs*. While we aim to maintain transparency to the extent possible, we reserve the right to withhold specific reasons for our decisions. Our overarching commitment is to promote fairness and ensure the integrity of our grant programs.
We appreciate your understanding and continued support as we work diligently to uphold the principles of transparency and fairness in our grant allocation processes.
*Plurality Labs holds the right to disqualify any grant from a program it manages. These grants always reserve the right to appeal via snapshot vote. Plurality Labs will always uphold the results of a direct vote on Snapshot which reaches quorum.
Also adding our formal proposal for investigation posted to the Arbitrum DAO 3 days ago, long before this post was just made here, so it does not get lost:
We uncovered behavior clearly showing @DisruptionJoe is not suitable to be leading a grants program of this nature, and have - since posting - now received this response.
Are there any Delegates that will look into this situation that genuinely care about the decentralized nature of why we are all here? These abuses of power shouldnt be tolerated in web2, and especially in web3 - we hope to shed insights on how to grow the Arbitrum ecosystem. Grants will be a huge component no doubt, but if said program is managed by the wrong party, it could have serious and negative long-term consequences to the Arbitrum community and ecosystem.
Since raising our concerns: 1. we have been made aware we will not be receiving our earned $ARB matching funds, and 2. banned from the Telegram group.
I wanna remind the Arbitrum Community of a few important things that haven’t been mentioned by @ZER8.
All of these outragious claims refer to one single Forum post over on Optimism that has been written by a person that has been paid for it.
People like @Dicaso & @FractalVisions defamed and attacked the NFTEarth Team for almost a year now. (There is a reason that they have been suspended from OP and there are hundreds of sceenshots of them acting maliciously towards NFTE)
Delegates like @ZER8 & @DisruptionJoe let this defamation continue in their official Telegram groups without stepping in.
Also noted that these people had nothing to do with the ongoing Grant Round, they we’re invited by someone to systematically attack the NFTEarth Team again.
Last but not least, @ZER8 called NFTE a scam infront of other protocols and continues to do so on the Forum.
I wanna end this with a short fact check:
Official Statement from Optimism about NFTE breaking rules and dumping Tokens
There is none.
Official Statement from Optimism about misuse of funds
I am responding on behalf of the NFTEarth Team. This has not been a pleasant post to write, and this entire situation has just gotten so unbelievably out of line - that it needs to be put to bed once and for all - which I will be doing in this post.
The action you have taken today demonstrates lack of integrity, goodwill towards others, and competence in performing the necessary due diligence to successfully navigate the work you have been tasked with completing. What you did here by singling out an innocent team is undeniable grounds for an escalation of this matter to the farthest possible extent - until the real truth is revealed for all to see, which our team is fully committed to seeing through. My intent is that this post leads to a swift resolution.
It’s important for anyone reading this to understand some context first off. For you to deny a grantee their matching funds after opening a proposal for an investigation into your behavior directly against you - is not only retaliatory in nature, but downright predatory. It is absolutely unacceptable tolerated by the community here at Arbitrum, or in any web3 community.
In your report you have laid out 3 points, I will go through them all one by one, and address each with irrefutable proof that discredits them, and then I am demanding ACTION needs to be taken by Delegates and Admins for this malicious attack and the opening of a discussion for an immediate vote to suspend @ZER8@DisruptionJoe and Plurality Labs from managing any additional Arbitrum Grants as well as clawing back all funds awarded to Plurality and any other grant program these individuals are associated with.
As you will see, the due diligence and care they put into their investigations is not thorough, it is highly inaccurate, and is without any doubt, not a representation of how a credibly neutral party would act - as they are intentionally targeting a specific group. These are all the characteristics a grant committee should NOT possess, and define what it means to not be credibly neutral, yet you have put them all on clear display with this report.
Your Reasoning falls into these categories:
Proven bad actors within the web3 community Misuse of funds, improper representation, farming
Then specifically, you cite 3 examples that support this reasoning, which are all lacking in substance, and factually incorrect. Let’s go through them 1 by 1.
L2DAO is not a known bad actor in the web3 community. Is this a factual statement? L2DAO received a grant from $ARB for supporting Arbitrum over the past couple years and has one of the strongest communities in all of web3. Your reference is to a report written by no one on the official Optimism Foundation, it is a summary thread written by someone with their own opinion on an accusation made, nothing more than this. This cannot be, nor should it ever be considered as the basis for making decisions of this nature involved here. This thread you cite cannot be used to discredit L2DAO nor NFTEarth, and by you bringing L2DAO into this matter, you have directly slandered their brand name as well as NFTEarth, spreading damaging libel and slander to both protocols that is unnecessary, and entirely reckless.
I am providing screencap evidence directly from the Optimism Foundation that invalidates your entire claim and that entire report. The FINAL SUMMARY - directly from the Optimism Foundation, which was handled in private, was that the OP Foundation asked the team to consider the entire event as a warning, and to make sure that conduct is aligned with the spirit of the Optimism Collective going forward. This confirms, irrefutably, no wrongdoing by L2DAO nor NFTEarth.
I am providing first a screencap of the members in this chat, which include 6 official Optimism Foundation members, including the founder, and the 3 members from L2DAO. Please see below. I wish I was not forced to share private conversations like this in public forums as this is unnecessary, but this is something you cannot refute anymore now.
Misuse of funds - an investigation you are relying on, again, not formally written by ANYONE at the Optimism Foundation, but rather competitors with a grudge. The source you used is not a legitimate source.
With this screencap below, I am providing evidence to directly refute your statement, proof that this is false: Please see the screencap from the Optimism Foundation issuing the final resolution to L2DAO that was nothing more than a warning to the L2DAO team, and also please note, that there is absolutely zero mention of NFTEarth.
You cannot use a lies to justify a this criteria having merit. ie, no round admins have been threatened, and so that voids this rationale in its entirety. You are blatantly lying.
There have not been any threats made, I would suggest we use that word mindfully. I have expressed disappointment in a process that has been emotionally draining, confusing, and promised funding for a hard-working team, and then delivered us absolutely nothing. My reaction to be angry, upset, and confused is absolutely acceptable, and if you argue otherwise, I think you need to take a good look in the mirror. As stated when we joined this round, My goal was to get funding for our team to keep building, because we had our lead dev, who has a wife and children, living in Jakarta, and is LITERALLY starving because we need funding. This is why we came here. Please show some humanity. The last screencap is from our direct conversation with OP Foundation, discussing the hostility in the Optimism community, that we were trying to resolve. My colleague pointed out some clearly inappropriate comments made by Jack Anarak, the Optimism representative you have mentioned as a reliable source of information before, in the public Optimism Discord.
As you can clearly see, our goal when working as a team was only ever to create positivity, inclusiveness, and overall find solutions to sometimes what can become very tricky situations when bad actors get out of line. This report you filed today is an example of a bad actor, behaving inexcusably out of line and we will be pursuing every possible angle to ensure that fair and reasonable resolution provided to the NFTEarth team, myself for the libel I have had to ensure, and our other team-members for the same.
Your points on supporting evidence:
*This supporting evidence you presented is entirely baseless and is literally nothing more than here-say, there is no material here: and I mean zero factual representations or actual proof of wrongdoing in any sort. Multiple individuals? At this point, I take this to mean @dicaso and @fractalvisions is whom you refer to at this point as there has been no one else has seeming to have any issues with us - just competitors with clear motives.
Your next point on asking about funding:
*Expanding on this: Exerting pressure for funding? Please re-read what I posted. We are in urgent need of funding. If you are going to describe us asking where our fairly earned matching funds are, and not be able to provide a reasonable answer, I cannot see any problem with us asking again. If you want to call this exerting pressure to expedite the distribution, feel free to, but it took me 2 minutes to run the quadratic funding calculation and there is no reason we should not have received the funds by now, especially with the circumstances we entered the round under. Both you @zer8 and @disruptionjoe were EXPLICITLY aware of our team situation upon round the beginning of the round application, even before we applied. It is not ok to say we have been exerting pressure when we are in urgent need of funding, have won said funding, and there remains no sign of said funding. It’s called: following up.
Your last comment:
*Tweets from an account that the NFTEarth team has no control over is also baseless because this is outside of the scope of the team or my control, there is literally nothing we can do to control what others choose to say on Twitter. It doesn’t matter what they say, the team CANNOT control another users Tweets. In our team report filed to the Arbitrum DAO about the violations of @DisruptionJoe as a Delegate though, we do go into further mention of these Tweets because the onchain evidence presented is confusing to say the least, and we believe it is in the best interest of all Arbitrum Delegates to have clarity on why Joe is getting $OP payments while managing an Arbitrum grant round. We would challenge the notion that it is possible to remain credibly neutral managing a program for Arbitrum when the managers are being paid in $OP and $ARB at the same time. Think about this for a second please. It is not possible, and what was uncovered regarding Joe’s onchain transactions definitely warrants cause for further investigation at minimum.
I hope this clears things up.
As always, I am available on X, Telegram, and Discord.
Our findings clearly state that you can appeal via snapshot vote. It literally gives you an option to settle this outside of my/our (Plurality Labs) control.
As for not posting evidence and/or citing the actions of a twitter user that you cannot control, here is the account that is posting ridiculous comments. If you look at it’s history, all it has ever done is retweeted you and NFT Earth.
After you cut the NFTEarth off they claimed they were shutting down development due to what they claim is lack of funds leaving users unable to withdraw their locks. Effectively abandoning the project.
While claiming lack of funds to continue to support NFTEarth they apparently have more than enough funds to launch another NFT exchange on Ethereum mainnet under new alt accounts. It is currently going through an LGE on Fjord Factory likely baiting LPs for the same liquidity manipulation we saw with NFTE.