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TIME, an American news magazine notable for its bi-weekly publication, yesterday announced the launch of its NFT, dubbed “TIMEPieces,” which would give users unlimited access to its site’s content.
While this piece of news is undoubtedly good, the media house saw its 4676 NFT pieces sell out within a minute leading to some believing that bots might have been involved. The TIME president Keith A. Grossman first came with the news of the TIME NTF on Thursday when he wrote that:
TIMEPieces is our latest foray into NFTs, this time with the goal of also fostering community, loyalty and rewards. While many of the NFT drops that have happened to date within the media space have focused on high-end single editions or multiple versions of collectables, the release of TIMEPieces marks the first time a major media brand has taken on a Web3 approach toward building community and using this technology as an innovative extension of our current Digital Subscription efforts.
However, the public was able to have access to these collections immediately. The gas fees skyrocketed reaching as high as 9000 gwei, and at the end, about only 700 people were holders of the NFTs.
”Bots” Involved in Time NFT Sales
In a tweet by a researcher at Paradigm, Anish Agnihotri, said bots are responsible for the incident. According to him, “Any NFT drop that is First Come First Serve is bound to experience the same level of bot activity and push the auction into the gas markets.” He added that “Additional on- or off-chain information only makes botting easier.”
Bots are common in the event sector as they are commonly used for high-profile sales for concert tickets. Individuals or teams behind these “bots” usually use their machines to purchase a high number of the supply within seconds so that they can be able to sell for higher prices in the secondary market. This way, they are able to charge unreasonably high fees.
That could be what transpired on the site yesterday especially as TIME was yet to reveal what each buyer got. All NFTs in the collection only pointed to a red logo of the magazine. According to the president, the collection buyers would only know what they bought by 6PM Eastern time today, and they would have to use the “refresh metadata” button on OpenSea to unveil their purchase.
When Keith Grossman, TIME president was reached for a reaction, he posited that though the gas fees were not ideal, it is part of the things that cant be controlled. He continued that the magazine had decided to cap the number of NFTs that each address could mint in order to deter bot actors, however, the plan did not work.
Regardless of this, Grossman maintained that he was proud of the launch despite of the chaos.