Should Web3 millionaires be able to hide behind a pseudonym to evade public scrutiny? With no clear solution, the community has reacted angrily to Buzzfeed’s publication of the genuine name of the BAYC NFT collection’s creators.
Buzzfeed, an American Internet media and entertainment firm, has discovered that “Gordon Goner” and “Gargamel,” two of the four original Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection founders, are Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow in real life.
The piece, titled “We Found The Real Names Of Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Pseudonymous Founders,” was written by journalist Kate Notopoulos on February 4th.
By searching the publicly available records of Yuga Labs, the firm behind the collection, Notopoulos was able to discover the pair’s names. Yuga was incorporated in Delaware, with Greg Solano’s address and other data pointing to Wylie Aronow.
Got doxxed against my will. Oh well.
Web2 me vs. Web3 me pic.twitter.com/uLkpsJ5LvN
— GordonGoner.eth (@GordonGoner) February 5, 2022
“There are reasons why the CEO or creator of a company uses their own name and not a pseudonym in the traditional business world,” the tech writer stated, adding that “the folks behind BAYC are wooing investors and running a business that might be worth billions.”
“How can you hold them accountable if you don’t know who they are?” says the narrator.
Executives of publicly traded firms must be named in disclosures and reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In many circumstances, banking restrictions and “know your customer” legislation require executives of smaller private enterprises to use their true identities.
“These regulations are in part designed to keep terrorists, criminals, and sanctioned countries from doing business in the United States,” Notopoulos wrote.
The non-consensual publication of Aronow and Solano’s identities, on the other hand, has sparked outrage among Web3 users, who are calling the storey “doxxing” rather than proper journalistic technique.
Got doxed so why not. Web2 me vs Web3 me. pic.twitter.com/jfmzo5NtrH
— Garga.eth (@CryptoGarga) February 5, 2022
Crypto podcaster “Cobie” dubbed the storey “standard Buzzfeed rubbish” and that it was “doxxing people for hits and ad income” in a Feb. 5 tweet. “There was simply no justification to dox these folks,” remarked venture capitalist Mike Solana, adding, “they’re essentially cartoon apes.”
Messari founder Ryan Selkis expressed his dissatisfaction with the report by releasing a 2009 tweet from Notopoulos that included a homophobic slur.
Notopoulos, on the other hand, appeared unconcerned about the criticism. Someone threatened to make her personal information public, including her “location, place of employment, parents’ home, and siblings’ addresses,” according to a screenshot she provided.
In response to the threat, she inquired if the individual was a “large powerful male,” to which they responded, “no, I’m a degen.” “Ah sucks,” she said. They need assistance transporting a large dresser to the garage.”
Yuga Labs announced on Feb. 4 (the same day as the article’s publication) that the NFT collection was in talks for investment with A16z, one of Silicon Valley’s top VC firms, which valued the collection at $5 billion.
Solano and Aronow aren’t the only prominent crypto figures to be publicly outed this year. Bitcoinsupports reported on Jan. 27 that ‘@0xSifu,’ the genuine name of DeFi protocol co-founder “Wonderland,” also co-founded the now-defunct Canadian exchange QuadrigaCX.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.