Art collector loses $2.2 million worth of NFTs overnight 

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On the 29th of December 2021, art collector, Todd Kramer, announced on Twitter that he had been “hacked” and that “all of [his] apes are gone”. When Kramer says “apes” he is referring to the works of the Bored Ape Yacht Club and the Mutant Ape Yacht Club, one of the leading collections in NFTs. Kramer lost a total of 15 NFTs, which cost him $2.2 million. 

NFT stands for “Non-Fungible Token” and refers to a unique, irreplaceable digital receipt of an image, audio file or video. OpenSea, one of “the largest NFT marketplace” founded by Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah in 2017. Some recognisable digital art based NFTs include those of the Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks. Recently, some celebrities have been selling their own NFTs. Most notably (and arguably most shocking), a Linday Lohan Fursona NFT sold for 1.3 Ethereum (roughly $4,408) in October 2021. 

Kramer’s announcement on Twitter received 500 retweets, with some people offering support and others mocking him. One Twitter used mocked Kramer by saying “Hello Police. Somebody hacked my Internet and stole my monkeys. No, not the monkeys themselves — they’re worthless — but the certificates of ownership that prove that they’re my monkeys. They’re very valuable. The certificates.”, a hypothetical situation in which Kramer reports the theft to the police, thus making fun of the nature of NFTs and those who purchase them. Additionally, one OpenSea user took a screenshot of Kramer’s tweet and is currently selling it as an NFT (pictured below) for 0.09 Ethereum (roughly $275.30) by OpenSea seller, ScuffedNFT. 

 

Screenshot of Todd Kramer’s tweet being sold as an NFT on OpenSea by seller ScuffedNFT

 

A similar incident occurred on the 31st of October, earlier that same year, when NFT collector, Calvin Becerra, announced on Twitter that he lost 3 of his most prized Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs were stolen by hackers. This caused Becerra to lose 185 Ethereum (approximately $854,000). In a similar fashion, Becerra also faced some mockery from Twitter. One Twitter user said, “If you gave someone your username and password to your bank and they stole funds, do you think the FBI is going to come help?”. 

He has since retrieved 1 of the 3 stolen Apes. Funnily enough, the same OpenSea seller who is selling Kramer’s tweet as an NFT is also selling Bercerra’s tweet calling for help as an NFT. This seller now has 7 different screenshots (from 7 separate individuals who had their NFTs stolen from them by hackers) “immortalized as [NFTs]”, in the user’s words. 

OpenSea has since enforced regulations in order to prevent the resale of stolen NFTs. Some users have expressed disappointment with the way the situation was handled. OpenSea released a statement saying, “We take theft seriously and have policies in place to meet our obligations to the community and deter theft on our platform. We do not have the power to freeze or delist NFTs that exist on these blockchains, however, we do disable the ability to use OpenSea to buy or sell stolen items. We’ve prioritized building security tools and processes to combat theft on OpenSea, and we are actively expanding our efforts across customer support, trust and safety, and site integrity so we can move faster to protect and empower our users.” This highlighted the fundamental issues within the selling of NFTs that need to be addressed. It brought to light the lack of regulations in terms of security surrounding NFT ownership, knowing how easy it is for them to be stolen. 

This brings into question: are these incidents of theft within the NFT community the fault of the platform/the underregulated nature of the selling of NFTs, or the fault of the users themselves?

A few days later, Kramer personally thanked some Twitter users who helped him recover a number of his stolen NFTs (though not all of them were recovered). He stated that the night he discovered his NFTs had been stolen was “arguably the worst night of [his] life”.