‘Doxxing’ of Bored Ape founders exposes Web3’s transparency issues
The Web3 community is in uproar over a curious case of “doxxing.”
The victims of this exposure are two founders of Yuga Labs, the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC).
The NFT collection has generated over $1bn in sales, but the creators of Yuga Labs had been pseudoanonymized — until now.
The duo, Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow, showed their faces publicly on Friday after BuzzFeed News revealed their identities.
The revelations sparked a fiery mix of condemnation and admiration.
Got doxed so why not. Web2 me vs Web3 me. pic.twitter.com/jfmzo5NtrH
— Garga.eth (@CryptoGarga) February 5, 2022
Some BAYC fans are furious at BuzzFeed — particularly as the investigation unearthed no wrongdoing.
Critics accuse the outlet of journalistic malpractice, privacy invasions, and putting the founders’ safety at risk.
The reporter behind the story, Katie Notopoulos, says she’s received threats to expose her own personal information — including her place of work. (Rumors are circulating that it may be BuzzFeed News.)
Still, not everyone has been so riled by the report.
Supporters of the publication argue that there’s a public interest in revealing the founders’ identities.
The pair are already public figures who give interviews to mainstream media outlets.
They helm a company that may soon be valued at $5bn and is a key player in a market worth an estimated $40bn.
Jeff Bercovic, deputy business editor at the LA Times, argues that this makes their identity newsworthy:
The job of journalists is to bring information about powerful entities and public figures into public view. That’s it. There is no requirement that the subjects want that information made public (they often don’t!) or that they be guilty of wrongdoing.
Are BAYC’s founders powerful? Yes. Wealth is power. That’s why Forbes and Bloomberg publish lists of ultra-wealthy individuals and families. The people on those lists would often rather keep their wealth a secret. Where’s the outcry when they are named?
— Jeff Bercovici (@jeffbercovici) February 5, 2022
The accusation of “doxxing” has also been disputed, as the founders were identified from public business records, rather than confidential information.
Their supporters can still contend that the unmasking was unnecessary, but anonymity makes it hard to hold the powerful accountable.
The disclosure could also prove beneficial to Web3.
BAYC is the foremost symbol of a movement that’s frequently associated with scammers and grifters. If the Web3 community wants the public’s trust, greater transparency may be in its interests.