It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the NFT world.
An NFT collector by the name of Pranksy seemed to have some prophetic sense about his chosen online moniker. Pranksy was alerted through a Discord channel of the existence of an NFT page on the official website of famed graffiti artist, Banksy. Upon visiting the page, Pranksy was led to OpenSea, a digital marketplace for NFT. There, they were greeted by a digital avatar smoking a chimney, with similar chimneys smoking away in the background. The CryptoPunk-esque avatar, plus the link from the official Banksy website, led Pranksy to believe this was a genuine, first-of-its-kind Banksy NFT. Titled Great Redistribution of the Climate Change Disaster, Pranksy purchased the NFT for an equivalent of roughly $336,000 in the cryptocurrency Ethereum.
But of course, the story did not end here. As it turns out, the whole thing was a scam. A spokesperson for Banksy told BBC that “any Banksy NFT auctions are not affiliated with the artist in any shape or form.” Soon after the purchase, the NFT section on Banksy’s website was taken down. Pranksy, and several others who fell for the scam, were robbed of their cryptocurrency.
And yet, there is another twist to the tale. Pranksy tweeted that a significant portion of their Etherium has been returned to them, minus OpenSea’s $5,000 transaction fee. This led Pranksy to assume that the hack was done by an ethical hacker who wished to highlight the danger of making hasty purchases of NFT. Either that or the scammer got scared of all the press surrounding the scam.
Either way, as Pranksy pointed out themselves, this serves as a reminder and a lesson to us all who are excited about this new technology. There will always be people looking to take advantage of a quickly growing trend. Do your research and be wary of deals. “If something seems too good to be true, it normally is, and always verify with official sources before placing such high bids,” says Pranksy.