The Lil Hippo NFT collection by Rundown Media was recently accused of stealing from a separate project. The CEO of Rundown, Kiarash Behain reportedly swiped artwork from Hip-Hop Hippos, which released a limited supply of 26 NFTs in October of last year. Undeniable similarities & evidence backing the claim by the founders of Hip Hop Hippos have users voicing concerns about Lil Hippo’s legitimacy. However, as accusations of the Lil Hippo NFT scandal pile up, the collection is still set to mint on March 8th.
Hippos & NFT Scandals
On October 18th, 2021, Hip-Hop Hippos released a tweet showcasing their artwork. Additionally, the team released a limited collection as a test run to the public market. With overwhelming positivity from buyers, the team decided to increase the supply to 4,000 with plans on launching in 2022. However, the new year came with hard blows as Behain filed a trademark agreement for the Hip-Hop Hippos name on January 19th. In the same month, Lil Hippo started their official Twitter account. Three months after Hip-Hop Hippos released their limited collection in October.
In February, Lil Hippo continued with their project, controlling the legal rights to both titles. Nevertheless, Hip-Hop Hippo’s claims could be valid. Additionally, proof of first use could effectively push the verdict in their favor.
Behind Lil Hippos
As noted above, the official owner of Lil Hippos is a social media agency named “The Rundown” based in California. The agency’s CEO, Mr. Behain, started Rundown Media back in 2006. According to Forbes, Behain might be “Social media’s best-kept secret.” As a businessman, Behain seems to be a model for success. However, the reputation of a thief travels fast as information regarding the supposed scandal comes forward. One thing is for sure; the Lil Hippos NFT will be one to remember. Scandals in the NFT space are nothing new, and with an increase in collections in 2022, we are sure to see more.
*Updated details clearing false information regarding Lil Hippos*
Recent information regarding Lil Hippos’ legitimacy has proven the allegations pushed upon Kiarash Behain are false. Moreover, Mr.Behain consistently and exclusively utilized the Lil’ Hippo name since releasing the NFT project on OpenSea and other NFT marketplaces. Furthermore, Mr.Behain’s earlier trademark filing for the Hip-Hop Hippos title was entirely coincidental. As Rundown Media only used the Lil’ Hippo name, they bare no ties toward the Hip-Hop Hippos.
During a recent interview with one of the owners of the Hip-Hop Hippos, Marce Ayala, stated the two projects bear no similarities, and each project stands independently from the other.
“I want to make it very, very clear: the art is not the same.” – Marce Ayala Cofounder of Hip Hop Hippos