Earlier this month, Metalabel created an NFT collection in collaboration with the Web3 funding platform Gitcoin, and it briefly became a lightning rod of speculation for its connection to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin.

The collection paid homage to the concept of quadratic funding—a mechanism that underpins how around $70 million of donations have been distributed between projects on Gitcoin so far. It included a digitized version of a 2018 whitepaper that pioneered the subject, penned by Buterin, along with economists Glen Weyl and Zoë Hitzig.

Twelve limited-edition NFTs were signed by the authors and were sold via a Dutch auction format. Speaking on Decrypt’s gm podcast, Gitcoin Founder Kevin Owocki said it was disappointing to see degens on Crypto Twitter latch on to the collection as something Buterin created.


“I was really dismayed to see on Twitter that people were calling it a Vitalik NFT drop,” he said. “It was basically an artifact of internet history.”

The fervor surrounding the NFT collection reached a boiling point on March 8 as its open edition mint came to a close. The project was represented on Twitter by vocal NFT influencers as something Buterin was behind.

The collection’s standard, unsigned NFT—which could’ve been minted in an unlimited quantity for 0.05 ETH—traded on secondary markets like OpenSea for 10 times their original price as influencers touted the project.


Owocki said that Buterin’s involvement in the project was fairly limited, lending his signature as a gesture of kindness after he was approached by members of the Gitcoin DAO’s marketing work stream.

“He had nothing to do with the drop, as far as I know,” Owocki said. “He just signed the paper to be nice to Gitcoin and to help out a little bit.”

The project’s inaccurate portrayal captures how speculation can quickly build behind NFT projects due to the fear of missing out as well as the sway that big names in Web3 like Buterin can have. 

Though the collection ultimately raised $781,000 to fund public goods projects on Gitcoin, Owocki believes the project’s intentions were outweighed by a sense of misdirected hype.

“To see people shitposting about how this is gonna get you access to Vitalik or his decision making or anything like that kind of—It made me feel like the degens kind of ran away a little bit with the narrative there.”

Listen to the full episode and subscribe to the gm podcast.

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