Art Gobblers Allow List Controversy: An Ethical Dilemma?

    The NFT market is currently on a rollercoaster that is only going down. What’s it taking with it? Justin Roiland and Paradigm’s Art Gobblers. Even though the Art Gobblers NFT collection had been high on the NFT sale chart with a floor price of 15ETH for a while, sales have plummeted to a new low. According to Coingecko, the floor price has shot down about 50% to 3.03ETH in the past 24 hours. The crashing market of NFTs is not the only reason behind the drop in Art Gobblers sales. These art-munching NFT creatures are about the gobble more than just art, but a whole controversy! What controversy? Well, it has to do with Art Gobblers’ allow-list ethics. 

    Art Gobblers’ Rise and Fall

    Art Gobblers

    Art Gobblers is an NFT collection created by Rick and Morty’s co-creator Justin Roiland and Paradigm. The collection attracted major BUZZ and hype before it launched on October 31. The NFT project encompassed 1,700 free-to-mint Art Gobblers for those who are on the allow-list. After all the NFTs were minted, the collection witnessed a surge in secondary sales that surpassed tens of millions of dollars! The collection has already made over $26 million in secondary sales. Art Gobblers were more or less an NFT phenomenon that surpassed BAYC and Cryptopunks on Opensea’s Top 10 at the time of launch. Moreover, NFT marketplace Blur has surpassed Opensea in terms of ETH volume and it has Art Gobblers to thank for such achievement. 

    However, recently Art Gobblers has taken a deep plunge in sales as the floor price declined to 3 ETH. It seems that the Art Gobblers’ popularity wouldn’t help them overcome the NFT market crash. At this rate, the only thing these NFTs will be gobbling is their declining self-esteem.  However, the bear market is not the only thing strangling the Art Gobblers. Recent controversies about the Art Gobblers’ allow-list process and its ‘unfairness’. I will explain. 

    Art Gobblers’ Allow-list: An Ethical Controversy

    Art Gobblers NFTs are suffering from MAJOR backlash and debate across all media platforms. The tea is spilling, and it’s spilling all over the internet. The heated discussion is circling around whether or not influencers that hyped up the project were being compensated with free mints – (earning a spot on the allow-list) without proper disclosure. 

    What Are Allow-lists?


    Allow lists are the equivalent of VIPs in the NFT universe. For large NFT projects that secured a massive community and created a major buzz, they will probably have an allow list. Think of it as NFT early access that lets you mint an NFT at launch. For NFT projects that might sell well, collectors will go all ‘hunger games’ in order to secure a spot in their allow-list. Some allow-lists will let you mint an NFT for free. How do you get on one of these babies? Well, there are no rules. 

    Different NFT projects use different allow-lists rules. Some hold contests on social media to see who brings the most followers, hold art competitions or get influencers to promote the project. The latter is the subject of a lot of debate. Influencers will typically be offered spots on allow lists as compensation for their effort. As it should be. However, many concerns surround this method. Transparency is at the top of the list. Collectors urge influencers who are getting paid in an allow-list to disclose the matter upfront, not hide around it. 

    Art Gobblers’ Allow-list Mayhem 

    Transparency is the key to the debate Art Gobblers have been facing. What was the process to get on an Art Gobblers allow list? Simple, the creators handpicked individuals that contributed to the space and whom they admired. Moreover, these individuals nominated others to be on the list. 

    All seems to be going normally til now. However, the NFT community soon noticed many influencers who minted their Art Gobbler NFT for free without disclosing any endorsement. Thus, creating an outrage with some users commenting on the unfair distribution of allow-list spots. People took their outcry to Twitter by exposing a long list of influencers who had early access. The list contained Farokh, Fxnction, Andrew Wang, Vincent Van Dough, Pranksy, Kmoney, and Zeneca. 

    Influencers’ Backlash

    Influencer Kmoney previously hosted a Twitter Space with the creator Roiland to hype up the project. However, after the mint, Kmoney almost immediately flipped his NFT and sold it for 15 ETH. People soon pointed out the hypocrisy of Kmoney, stating that he did not disclose the ‘endorsement’ beforehand. However, Kmoney responded in a Twitter thread that he was not paid to promote the mint, nor did he ‘pump’ his followers. Later he claimed that the money he received allowed him to pay off his debt. 

    Collector and creator Fxnction was more direct in his response to the backlash. He stated that he didn’t promote any Art Gobbler news, and got into the allow list by joining the Discord server early. However, in a tweet, he claimed that he doesn’t have to explain why he sold his Art Gobbler for 15 ETH and that he just did it to earn easy money. Can you blame him?

    However, Devotion co-founder Andrew Wang waited until post-mint to reveal that he has been in close contact with the Art Gobblers team. He even operated a fictional character account for the project on Twitter. Wang however claimed that he did not do anything to secure himself a spot on the Art Gobblers’ allow list. 

    On the other hand, some took to Twitter to remind people that the Art Gobbler allow-list didn’t consist of just influencers. In fact, the money generated from flipping and selling Gobblers’ NFT has changed individuals’ lives. 

    What’s the Fuss About?

    Okay, but did those influencers do something wrong? Getting paid for a favor is not a new concept. Web3’s best quality is to let early supporters benefit from a project. However, the clout is coming from the preferential treatment some influencers are getting to generate more hype. This is an anti-WAGMI approach. WAGMI, we’re all gonna make it, is to promote a fair footing for all in Web3. Not to mention, the Federal Trade Commission FTC has clear laws and guidelines that enforce a social media influencer to clearly disclose paid endorsements in the US. And now, these laws are being implemented in Europe. The European Parliament is to implement such regulations regarding influencers commenting on crypto assets without clear disclosure and profiting off them. 

    However, Art Gobblers’ allow-list is just like any other in the NFT space that doesn’t deserve the hate it’s getting. Influencers deserve to be compensated for their hard work. Web3 is opening a lot of opportunities for people to make a living and thus overdramatic clout is only hurting its reputation. However, on the other hand, people deserve honesty and clear transparency. Therefore, endorsement disclosures are the best way to manage these chaotic events. 


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