Today we cover an issue with “influencers” in web3 (generally Twitter Spaces and youtube hosts) and their ability to abuse people with zero repercussions. As web3 and blockchain/NFT technology grows over the years, this is a huge problem that must be addressed. Let’s use a recent example of a physical threat of violence against one of our journalists (me) by NiFTYQ (real name Zach Quezada). We can start with the history.
History of Interactions on NFTLive and W3BTHR33
I happened upon their youtube channel, and saw they had a twitter spaces so would join on the occasion. They did not have any developer insight, or really anything outside of eth and tezos coverage. No ordinals btc, no solana nft coverage, nothing that was relevant and trending (that their community could actually make money on vs the older eth bags they promoted – see how majority of their past episodes mention and spend significant time on ON1 and Bored Ape Yacht Club – seen here in NiftyQ’s Open Sea activiy – https://opensea.io/NiftyQ/activity – which most of the time was never disclaimed to the audience) Beyond that, they had segments or whole videos about “Ranking the BEST NFT Projects Right Now!” which is deceptive, as they actually claim it as “Rate my Bags” but not in the title of the youtube… and guess what are on top? Not the top collections by price, volume, or popularity, but often only and specifically the ones they invest in. I often joined to speak and inform them about new technology, about disclosures, wash trading, how some chains like polygon are still centralized, and how ordinals and solana nfts can be very lucrative. I stressed multiple times I am a developer, designer, builder, and person with a name, but they liked to offensively refer to me as “the sol maxi” I found that silly, because even after I explained to them that I work multichain and was on btc, eth and other chains before them, and before solana. I even introduced them to cryptoslam and notified them of the heavy wash trading of many of the collections they were recommending. I believe it was Gifdead who said “is wash trading really bad though” Jesus Christ. Many times they had me on as speaker, and eventually they even invited me to be on as a guest. But before that happened, NiFTYQ had a violent mental breakdown in DMs with me.
NiFTYQ Violent Threat and Followup by Gifdead
It started as a simple conversation or debate, something I have often and have had on many podcasts and spaces, with no real issues. Most adults I find can discuss topics, even around money, without getting offensive or unhinged. That’s not true with NiFTYQ. What did I say that caused him to threaten me? “Every time you share blur you hurt your own bags” – with a link to an article explaining the wash trading and manipulation on blur. His response “Pray that we never meet in person” – which I consider a direct and violent threat. I live near LA, and I have seen them frequent events, and I’m not about to take a threat like that lightly. So yes, I informed the police. Yes, I informed Gifdead, his co-host, who decided it was okay by his standards, said I had mental issues, and blocked me. Yes, I informed their only advertiser NFTGo of this threat (they met with them in person to ask them to justify this and apologize to me, which they refused so lost their advertiser) Yes I informed the cryptocurrency community at large.
It doesn’t stop there, I found a pattern of abusive behavior by NiFTYQ and Gifdead (real name Rich Beeman). I went around to a few event organizers and owners of local startups in LA and surrounding areas. What did I hear about the NFTLife/W3BTHR33 crew, and I quote “They’ve unfortunately have had other controversies with other web3 communities. Seems like a pattern. Thank you for bringing attention of others so they can be aware”
How NFTLive/W3BTHR33 Make Money
This image below is from their website page – https://www.w3b3.life/partner – and shows grossly inflated numbers. Not sure where they are pulling these 3500 – 5000 weekly video views from, as I see less than 2k views on their latest week+ of youtube. This isn’t even taking into the fact that some views are naturally occurring youtube bots, and the views the team has itself. Things don’t add up when you see they have 11.6k subscribers, but videos average less than 400 viewers. In my experience, this is often due to someone purchasing youtube subscribers, who are not actually real people.
From https://www.w3b3.life/form – “Included in the W3BTHR33 network are a range of Twitter, Instagram, Discord, and YouTube channels with memorable show formats that have garnered a hyper-targeted following already reaching an average cumulative audience of 100,000+ viewers and listeners every week, and is growing. This is one of the most valuable, organic audiences of web3 enthusiasts, collectors, and builders in the space.” – This seems crazy as I don’t see 100k cumulative throughout any of their channels. Maybe I’m missing something but this also seems blatant false claims for advertisers to consume.
You can also see here likely manipulation of Youtube votes, the number of “Likes” on the video significantly outweighs the views (14 Likes vs 7 views) How does that make sense? Seems like someone is buying Likes, or gaming them with multiple profiles (without viewing)
It gets worse. We joined their discord previously, and found out they had a token, $LADZ, and a “DAO” called LADZ DAO. None of this is supported any longer, and when brought up in their discord, quite a few people had questions about it. We can only assume that they rugged the coin and DAO, and it’s all onchain and tied to NiFTYQ (real name Zach Quezada) and his wallet.
Ladz City Twitter account – gone – https://twitter.com/ladzcity
LADZ DAO voting – not updated for over 2 years – https://snapshot.org/#/ladz.eth
From their website: “$LADZ social token will continue to be an integral part of this larger ecosystem with plans to restructure utility in Q1 2023” – as far as we can tell this never happened, and it was abandoned. Unfortunate as the repeatedly made claims of success on their youtube and other social media. Here is the etherscan for the token: https://etherscan.io/token/0x1287c0509df9a475ef178471ab2132b9dfd312b3
That’s not all, GifDead also launched or directly helped launch “Deebies” – https://www.niftycastle.io/deebies (see his name as founder in footer) Their last update? July 8, 2022, a very long time ago – https://www.niftycastle.io/blog/x-ray-deebies-cursed-one-year-mintaversary-comic-airdrop and you can see right now, on 2/2/24, they only use their twitter to pump their own bags (seen retweeting gifdead recent SEI purchase, which they have been coordinating together to potentially manipulate those markets – https://x.com/gifdead/status/1753521523984572462?s=20 ) – this minted for 0.1 ETH but now is 0.014 ETH. Seems like a failure to me and he is just using that network to pump his own bags now. He also launched “Coffins by Gifdead” you can see here – https://opensea.io/collection/coffins-by-gifdead – seems like serial failures and lack of any commitment to a community. Here is his Opensea wallet, where you can see many of the Deebies, Coffins, and lots of questionable transactions related – https://opensea.io/Gifdead
They are now running a new show in a new blockchain ecosystem (likely because they don’t find success and are abusive to people in their previous communities) called “Sei What” about SEI blockchain. Zach Quezada seems to be the ringleader of this influencer network that fails to deliver and he doesn’t seem to have a problem with threatening strangers with violence. Be careful friends.
I’ll followup on this article with any further updates. We will have breakdowns of their wallets, their funds, and their business model. We have one update coming soon with the tokens and NFTs this team also launched, and what was told to buyers, and what they actually received, as well as some potential fraud related to their advertising packages.