A tweet went viral today about a dating app for owners of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs getting shut down because it failed to get enough women to sign up. This was very funny, because it seemed to confirm what many people already believe: that NFTs are for sad, lonely, male dorks. The idea that a bunch of horny guys with extremely expensive monkey JPGs all showed up to an app with no women is funny.
Sadly, it isn’t true. It was all a joke. The app never existed in the first place, so it couldn’t have been shut down because there were no women. It was a funny prank — a good joke, a great one, even. The confirmation bias that NFTs are for sad men is strong enough that this tricked a few news outlets into reporting it as if it were real.
I nearly fell for it, too. In mid-March 2022, I saw an announcement about the “Lonely Ape” dating app, looked at the site, and was intrigued (I like to think I was also somewhat skeptical, but I might be giving myself too much credit here). I sent the site owners an email asking about it, to see if it was a possible story. They responded that it was set to launch in two or three months and had hundreds of signups. I didn’t follow up.
As of now, the account has RT’d a few other people making fun of it — a pretty good sign they were in on it.
Over Twitter DMs today, the prankster confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it was a joke. Well, OK, “confirmed” via a winky smiley face, but like, that’s exactly the emoji you’d use to confirm something’s a joke.
The prank may not have quite landed in March when it launched. Perhaps that was ahead of its time. Back then, you, gentle reader, might not have heard of “Bored Apes” or didn’t exactly know what an NFT was.
But now, Twitter has completely coalesced into two camps: NFT enthusiasts and NFT haters, both equally insufferable in their own ways. What made this prank so delicious is that it was able to dunk on both groups — it called NFT people sad dorks and also poked at self-righteous right-clickers, exposing them to be just as gullible as an “all my apes are gone!” phishing victim.
I guess the only way to stop these pranks would have some sort of transparency…some sort of immutable, permanent, transparent ledger of jokes. Hey, maybe in Web4.
Correction: The fake app was announced as “canceled” in May. A previous version of this post mistakenly said the cancellation announcement was previously made in February.