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AI project buys own NFT for record price, tops OpenSea


A generative AI art project has taken advantage of a zero fees offer on NFT marketplace OpenSea to buy its own asset for more than $200m, briefly sending it to the top of leaderboards and increasing the floor price of its collection.

MechMinds took a flash loan of 126k ETH (over $210m at time of writing) and engineered the purchase of MechMind #7689 for 125k ETH. This resulted in the sale sitting at the top of OpenSea’s influential Top/Trending leaderboard, for around 30 minutes, according to one of the project founders.

The manipulation was made possible by OpenSea dropping its usual 2.5 percent secondary sale fee to zero if creators are also taking no commission. The sale was also listed on OpenSea competitor marketplace Blur, where it also briefly topped the leaderboard.

MechMinds founder Mr. Roboto told Polemos they had made the loan/purchase to highlight the problems of zero fee marketplaces and also to gain attention for the project.

“We’re happy we got eyes on the project,” he said.

MechMinds #7689

“I think OpenSea is kinda annoyed, but at the same time we didn’t do this at an hour where they wouldn’t have eyes on it. I think their reaction to remove from Top/Trending was totally justified.”

MechMinds created over 8000 robot NFTs last week and offered them for free. The NFT artwork is AI-generated oil paintings of robots.

Each robot is linked to a generative AI (OpenAI’s GPT3) that is tweaked to the personality dimensions indicated by the NFT’s traits. Owners can communicate with their robot through a chat interface.

They can also merge base-level robots to create smarter robots that access higher competencies in the GPT3 engine.

“It’s an idea I had two weeks ago,” said Mr. Roboto. “(I had) an existing tooling set up. So it was a week hackathon between three people to build, and as soon as the MVP (minimum viable product) was ready we just launched it on chain as a free mint.”

Mr. Roboto said the flash loan had effectively been free, aside from gas fees associated with the transaction.

The MIT AI graduate and former platform company employee said he had decided to remain anonymous “for now”. Mr. Roboto is listed with GLaDoS and Mr. One Way as creators of MechMinds.

OpenSea has been contacted for comment.

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Polemos staff

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