March 22, 2023

🥛 NFTs face a big threat 🚨

GM, this is Milk Road. The daily newsletter that gives you crypto news more often than you floss. And you don’t have to lie to your dentist about us.

Here's what we're serving up today:

  • NFT wash trading is up BIG 📊

  • Visual of the Day: Celsius lawyers’ $140M bill 💰

  • Web3 Wednesday! 📋

  • J.P. Morgan’s nickel turned out to be rocks

Today's edition is brought to you by Awaken, the first tax software built for web3.


Crypto is the digital Wild Wild West. It attracts some of the most brilliant engineers & investors… and the most brilliant scammers & risk-takers too.

(Which is why we average ~5 hacks, rug pulls and/or empty promises every week)

And now, there’s another activity to keep your eye on: Wash trading. It’s when one or more traders artificially raise the price of an asset by buying & selling it multiple times.

According to CoinGecko, NFT wash trading across the top 6 marketplaces totaled $580M last month. It’s the fourth straight month wash trading has increased and a 126% rise from January. Check it out…

So why is wash trading on the rise? One word…. rewards.

X2Y2, Blur, and LooksRare all incentivize people to trade NFTs on their marketplaces by giving out rewards (i.e. free tokens) to users for every transaction. Earlier this month, Blur gave out ~$400M worth of tokens to its early users.

Those 3 marketplaces accounted for 92.5% of all wash trading volume last month. They’re the Laundromats of NFTs.

All the top collections have been put in the washer at some point – BAYC, Azuki, etc. And earlier this week, we saw it LIVE in action again…

This time it was: CryptoPunks. The OG NFTs were listed on the Blur marketplace for the first time last week, and we’ve already seen some wild stuff happen:

  • 10,000+ ETH in CryptoPunks volume (worth ~$17M) was traded in a 15-minute span

  • Certain CryptoPunks have been traded 30+ times in 1 week (Milky Fact: In the 6-year history of CryptoPunks, the most any Punk was ever traded was 16 times)

  • CryptoPunk floor price jumped from 65 ETH → 75 ETH in a few days

But as with all wash-traded pumps, then comes the dumps. It’s like when you eat too much Taco Bell at 2 am, you know you’re gonna feel it the next morning…

Just check out the floor price since CryptoPunks started trading on Blur:

Why this matters: Wash trading has a lot of nicknames – round-trip trading, the rinse-and-repeat, the double dipper, the roundabout, but most governments just call it… illegal.

Which is why wash trading is illegal in the stock market. But remember, this is the Wild Wild West of crypto – where there aren’t any rules and everything goes. So for now, wash trading is just frowned upon.

But if over 25% of monthly NFT volume continues to be wash trading, it’ll only be a matter of time before regulators come after the industry. The more NFT trades get washed, the dirtier the stain.

Which is why some people think marketplaces that issue volume rewards like Blur, X2Y2, and LooksRare have been the worst thing to happen to NFTs since Trump launched a collection.

So we wanna know….how do you feel about the rise of marketplaces that give out rewards for trading volume?

Milk Road Question of the Day:

A/ I’m all for it – I should get rewards for giving them my business.

B/ These marketplaces are the worst thing to happen to NFTs.

C/ I could care less about the JPEGs. We got banks collapsing, eggs cost an arm & a leg, and my March Madness bracket is busted.

Hit reply to this email with your answer and we’ll share the Milk Roaders' Opinion later this week!



A new crypto tax software that *actually works* has launched just in time for tax season.

Unlike other crypto tax solutions that are 4-6 years old, Awaken was built for today’s Web3 world. That’s why they have the best support for NFTs, staking, bridging, LPing, and so much more.

If you already paid for a different crypto tax product, Awaken will fully match your payment so you get a massive discount (just email with proof).

And if you haven’t already paid for a different crypto tax product, you can claim $30+ of free credits by using code “milkroad”.

If you’re hesitant, just remember that you might be overpaying thousands of dollars to the IRS by miscalculating your taxes. Awaken helps solve that problem.

The choice is yours. 👇


Celsius is bankrupt, and its users are owed billions.

But the lawyers working on the company’s bankruptcy proceedings? They’re due to be paid a cool ~$140M in fees so far.

A software developer added up all the reported and projected fees that the lender will have to pay:

So what? All of the lawyer’s fees will be taken from the funds owed to the victims of Celsius’ fraud. Celsius is estimated to owe its customers ~$4.7B.

Unfortunately, that’s how it works across the gaggle of crypto companies that have gone belly up.

As of early February, FTX lawyers and advisors had billed $35M+… for just 51 days of working out the company’s bankruptcy mess.

BHB (billable hours, baby) is crypto lawyers’ newest fav token.


The middle of the week is here, so you know what time it is…

It’s update-your-resume o’clock.

Check out the cool Web3 gigs we rounded up for you this time:

P.S. – Are you trying to hire in Web3? Learn how to get your open jobs in front of 250k+ crypto enthusiasts here.


The nickel that JP Morgan said it owned and had stored in a Dutch warehouse is actually just a bag of stones, per The Wall Street Journal. What was that again, Jamie Dimon, about crypto being a “pet rock?”

Metamask and its parent firm ConsenSys are teaming up with MoonPay to enable investors in Nigeria to buy crypto via instant bank transfers. Who needs CEXs…

Over 50 whales have bought ~420M XRP tokens worth $155.4M. Looks like investors are optimistic that Ripple will win its case against the SEC.

The IRS is thinking about taxing NFTs like physical art and collectibles like coins and antiques. Uh-oh…



That's a wrap for today. Meet us on Twitter to talk all about it. It’s kinda like a family BBQ but better – no screaming kids, awkward photos, or drunk uncles telling weird stories (@MilkRoadDaily)


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DISCLAIMER: None of this is financial advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. Please be careful and do your own research.