A hacker sold a forged Banksy NFT for 100 ETH by creating a fake page on the famed street artist’s website.
You have to wonder if Bansky was amused by the antics of a crypto scammer who sold a forged NFT
artwork decrying the pollution caused by Bitcoin mining for nearly $340,000 — and then returned the funds.
The anti-establishment, anti-consumerist street artist’s official website
was apparently hacked yesterday morning by a scammer who added a new page announcing the sale of a Banksy-esque NFT artwork on the non-fungible token marketplace OpenSea
The NFT — which looks remarkably like a monotone CryptoPunk smoking a red and white striped cigarette against the background of a factory with similar-colored smoke stacks — was promptly snapped up for 100 ETH, worth nearly $340,000, by a well-known NFT collector who, ironically enough, goes by the Twitter handle “Pranksy.”
Pranksy, who started his Twitter day at 8:39 a.m. UTC on August 31 by saying, “Is this… real?” noted that the NFT sale announcement was up on Banksy’s website. “So could be genuine, one to watch over the next three days,” he added
a few minutes later.
Even though the Banksy link was briefly
taken down, the auction remained live on OpenSea, which ended up being good enough for Pranksy, whose bid was 10 times higher than any other. That was, in turn, good enough for the scammer, who accepted the bid and collected the ETH.
At 10:01 a.m. UTC, Pranksy announced that his bid had been accepted. He added: “The link was removed from his website so it could have been a very elaborate hoax, my guess is that is what it will be, only time will tell!”
A Strange Turn
It was, in fact, a hoax, Banksy’s team later told BBC News
Pranksy, who apparently has a quite a lot of Ether to burn, took the news in stride — at least publicly — saying
that BBC News had confirmed the bad news, calling it “fun entertainment” and adding the hashtag #PranksygotBanksyd
Things got even stranger at 5:51 p.m. UTC, when Pranksy received a transaction returning 97.699 Ether — everything but the gas fee — echoing
Mr. White Hat’s rather larger August hack and return of $612 million from Poly Network.
"The refund was totally unexpected,” Pranksy told BBC News “I think the press coverage of the hack plus the fact that I had found the hacker and followed him on Twitter may have pushed him into a refund.”
He added: "I feel very lucky when a lot of others in a similar situation with less reach would not have had the same outcome.”
While Banksy had not been known to have worked in the blockchain-based medium before, his work has popped up in the NFT world before. In May, Sotheby’s first accepted bids in cryptocurrency for an auction that included Banksy’s (real) work “Love is in The Air.”
Besides, the whole episode had a very Banksy feel to it. The street artist, who in 2013
set up a booth in Central Park selling prints estimated to be worth up to $30,000 for $60, certainly enjoys pranks.
In blogging about its investigation of the incident, blockchain analytics firm Elliptic said
: “In this case it is unclear to what extent Banksy himself was involved, and whether this episode was itself a pre-planned work of art.”