One of Singapore’s newest and biggest NFT drops has been mired with controversy, despite selling out in just four minutes of its public mint.
With its Twitter following surging from 14,000 to over 523k overnight, Imaginary Ones (IO) rapidly caught the interest of the local NFT community.
Comprising of the team from digital video agency Offset Singapore, the Imaginary Ones team has been transparent about their identity. Jerome Kwek, Caleb Hoon, Gregory Poon, David Lee and Clement Chia are all named on the project’s website with their respective roles and Linkedin pages listed. Co-founder Chia has been credited for the ASMR inspiration behind the 8,888 NFTs, having previously worked on animations of a similar style.
The project garnered support ahead of the public mint, with fans competing for a whitelist position and jumping at the 0.6ETH public floor price.
Setting the cat among the pigeons, Twitter user Nate Rivers went out of his way to throw shade at the project following an AMA.
“I’m disappointed, truly,” Nate tweeted with a screengrab of the Imaginary Ones project page. “I thought we were all maturing and coming into our true selfs, but then I see this. How many times are we going to give the same serial rug squads our pay checks before we’re truly ngmi fren.”
“Fren: “Nate, is this a rug?” Nate: “Does a bear shit in the woods?””
Rivers even expressed his disapproval of the music used by Imaginary Ones. “Bear with me on the multiple posts today, but i truly believe everyone should listen to the opening song on the @Imaginary_Ones website. It honestly moved me and made me feel a way i’ve never felt before,” he tweeted.
“It made me want to take a good look at myself in the mirror before clawing my ears off. I’m not a 13 year old anymore who wishes for the days when classes had a scheduled nap time.”
Wizard Of SoHo
Another Twitter user who goes by the name of Wizard Of SoHo also attempted to amplify the FUD by accusing Imaginary Ones to be linked to previous rug pull project Squiggles.
“So one of the wallets that swept the 250 NFT sweep on Imaginary Ones is the same wallet mentioned in the 75 page Squigglies rug document. And they have the same type of stories on instagram as squigglies was popping bottles in the club. Lol Same kinda energy overall. Seems sketch,” the Wizard Of SoHo tweeted.
The allegation excited the aforementioned Nate Rivers who responded, “LOLOLOLOL we’re to a point where I can tell it’s a rug with 100% conviction before seeing this type of concrete evidence. Looking for the billboards now.”
Generally the community seems confident in the project despite the backlash. “I think the founders’ company is pretty legit…like an actually ad agency,” wrote a Telegram user. Others highlighted how the team is “self-doxxed”, which provides reassurance to supporters.
Responding to the IO backlash, the community has accused Nate of “fudding” and dismissed his unwarranted criticisms.
“I mean this the same nate river [sic] that tweeted that he wanted to tear his ears off when he hear the IO website music, how’s anyone gonna take any argument from a guy who makes this kind of tweets abt [sic] the project?” Wrote one Telegram user in a Singapore-based crypto community group.
“Hence why he sort of tarnished his own reputation and is known in the space for fudding projects so he himself can get in at a low entry, by leveraging on his influence and 100k followers. But not really a good objective reference when looking at fud imo,” replied another.
One Telegram user higlighted how Nate Rivers is the “type of person cannot engage in a meaningful discourse.”
Indeed, Rivers has earned a notorious reputation in the community for “fudding” projects to get in lower. Most recently, Rivers even went after Moonbirds.
“nate rivers fud = buy signal most of the time actually,” wrote one Telegram user.
With regards to Wizard Of SoHo’s allegations, the community is also skeptical. In a Twitter thread, a channel moderator reiterated confidence that the allegations are false.
Addressing the allegation that a wallet that purchased over 200 IOs, Twitter user Oxbaked said the wallet “is owned by one of our OGs who had 2 whitelist spots which he/she minted, verifiable through etherscan. An individual who felt the project was undervalued and had the funds to purchase that amount was scrutinised by the masses looking into his/her wallet activity.”
The Twitter user then dismissed the claim that the team was linked to Squiggles, calling it “another baseless accusation.”
“If this was true, I have no doubt the document would have been posted instead of an Instagram story,” the mod tweeted.
“Further, no solid conclusion can be made about the story except; that someone was at a party in LA with a banner promoting Imaginary Ones – anyone could’ve done this. Founders are based in Singapore and have barely left their office, let alone the country, esp during mint.”
Although it’s often too late to know if a project is a rug pull or not, the team at Blockhead is not convinced by the concerns surrounding Imaginary Ones. The team behind the project has put in remarkable effort in building up the project and organically grew support by being active on Discord.
Yes, IO’s walking gif is somewhat resemblant of Invisible Friends but to disregard the project as a copycat is short sighted. Chia’s artwork – even prior to the project – is of an impressive standard and it carries through to IOs.
Perhaps the project’s only blunder during their mint was their response to the criticism. Whilst IO held a Twitter Space to “address the FUD that’s been going on about [their] team” and to reassure people that their team is “in no way associated to Squiggles,” the recording seems to be unaccessable to those who did not participate.
The Blockhead team is reaching out to Imaginary Ones to find out more about their project and their response to their allegations.