Mad Lads has become the hottest NFT project in the market! Its buzz is surging through the roof, but it’s also being known for leading the way in fighting against bots. To explain – the project mint experienced significant drama as bots overwhelmed the mint stage. This caused a 24-hour delay in the process. However, the Mad Lads team tricked the schemers! They lead bots to a fake mint that demanded payment in SOL, worth over $250,000.
Mad Lads: How to Win The War Against NFT Bots
So, bots were tricked into paying a quarter of a million dollars in SOL. However, Mad Lads are not greedy, and refunded the money. Still, this clever move prevented bot-dominated mints and kept more of the NFT drop supply for genuine collectors. Sometime before the mint date, Coral CEO Armani Ferrante received Telegram messages from an anonymous party who attempted to extort Coral. They threatened to take down Coral’s Backpack app and botch the drop. Ferrante described it as a “fight for the future of the project”. He believes in building an organic community of collectors that goes through the mint.
High-profile NFT mints are usually targets of users wielding bots. These bots flood the mint program with requests to purchase an excessive amount of assets. These attacks cause problems, such as taking down the Solana network. The situation gets worse when the mint is bot-dominated because it makes it impossible for genuine collectors to participate. To prevent bot attacks, Coral implements curated allowlists of authorized wallets, but also introduce inequities into the minting process.
The Mad Lads mint went according to plan on Wednesday. But on Thursday, when the public mint for the rest of the NFT supply was about to begin, Ferrante said that DDOS attacks began immediately. Coral then postponed the mint several times on Thursday to mitigate the attacks. Although the Solana network stayed online, other issues emerged as RPC providers had problems and CoinGecko’s pricing API went down.
Ferrante describes it as a “domino effect” as billions of requests went at the Mad Lads mint and wreaked havoc. Coral pushed the mint by 24 hours until Friday night, instead of letting botters claim an unfair share of the NFTs. Ferrante’s team spent the extra time working out how to better protect against botting attacks. This included a new kind of strategy.
How to Brew A Honeypot Like a Mad Lad
As the Friday mint was about to start, the DDOS flood began anew. This time around, Coral sent two back-to-back updates to the minting app. One legitimate link that points to the real NFT mint process, and another that could only be found by reverse-engineering the code. The second points to a “honeypot.” To clarify, a “honeypot” is an isolated distraction designed to trick botters. This resulted in bots blowing their SOL on a fake mint and receiving nothing valuable in the process. The fake contract soaked up over $250,000 worth of SOL. Moreover, those users who tried to gain an unfair edge in the mint were not in the mix when the legitimate public NFT drop began moments later.
It’s possible that some legitimate users took the bait in the fake mint. Some users on Twitter said that they followed the rules and ended up with a useless NFT. But in the pseudonymous Web3 world, it is difficult to vet the legitimacy of complaints on social media. Even so, Ferrante said he’s confident that it was mostly users trying to game the mint. The honeypot move was to distract and thwart botters and not steal away funds. And hence refunds were processed hours after the mint concluded.
Mad Lads’ success has fueled buzz around the project as it topped the NFT charts over the weekend. Ferrante believes that the surprise tactic helped Mad Lads reach more of its intended audience. Furthermore, the drama and excitement fueled more interest in the project. However, whether this type of strategy will work again for future NFT drops is unclear, as the cat-and-mouse game between bots and NFT drops continues.