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Stoner Cats, an NFT-driven cartoon series project launched in 2021, has been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the sale of unregistered securities. But despite the regulatory trouble announced Wednesday, NFT collectors are buying them up on secondary markets, more than doubling the asking price in the process.
Dozens of Stoner Cats NFTs on Ethereum have been sold since the SEC’s enforcement action was announced Wednesday morning, according to data from the OpenSea marketplace. Just one NFT from the project was sold on Tuesday, by comparison.
In the process, the lowest listed price for NFTs in the project shot up from 0.019 ETH (about $30) this morning to a current price of 0.049 ETH (about $79) as of this writing.
Why buy up NFTs for a project—prominently promoted by co-creator and voice actor Mila Kunis—that already concluded its content production in 2022 and has been charged by the SEC? Some people may be buying them as a gag, “for the lulz,” or as a cultural relic as a prominent NFT project that has faced regulatory action.
Others may hope that they will gain secondary market value given the project’s new notoriety—or perhaps that there will be a way to return the NFTs for a refund. The SEC said that the creators of Stoner Cats agreed to create a “Fair Fund” to reimburse investors, but it’s unclear how much money will be available and who will be eligible to claim a refund.
The NFTs were originally sold for 0.35 ETH in July 2021, or about $800 apiece at the time. The project raised more than $8 million in 35 minutes through the sale of 10,420 tokens, with secondary market sales then topping $20 million according to the SEC.
Stoner Cats 2 LLC, the company formed for the show’s production, has agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty in addition to destroying any NFTs that the company still holds.
The show was produced by Kunis’ Orchard Farm Productions studio, and also featured voice acting from her husband Ashton Kutcher along with comedian Chris Rock, “Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane, actress Jane Fonda, and even Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin.
Editor's note: This story was updated after publication to correct the NFT prices.