What do you call someone who got scammed over $300,000 for a fake Banksy NFT? Pranksy. No, really.
A collector who goes by the name of Pranksy bought an NFT in the cryptocurrency Ethereum from someone claiming to be Banksy, advertised through the artist’s official website. A link to the online auction for the NFT was posted on a now-deleted page of banksy.co.uk which the prominent NFT collector was alerted to by an anonymous person on the social network Discord. Seems legit right?
The auction ended early after Pranksy offered 90% more than rival bidders. It was at this point that alarm bells began to ring.
The NFT post as it appeared on http://banksy.co.uk/nft.html
"It does seem to be some hack of the site,” he told the BBC. “I confirmed the URL on PC and mobile before bidding. I only made the bid because it was hosted on his site.
"When the bid was accepted I immediately thought it was probably fake.”
The artist’s spokesperson told the BBC that there weren’t any NFT actions associated with Banksy and that the artist hadn’t created any NFT artworks.
With the bid placed on the auction platform OpenSea, there was nothing the collector could do once his bid had been accepted but watch the $336,000 drain from his account.
However, there is a twist in the tale. Whether a product of a guilty conscience or fear of repercussions, the hacker returned all the money the same day, minus the $5,000 transaction fee. A very lucky escape.
When it comes to NFTs, scams appear to be all too easy - with the internet an unruly place at the best of times. NFTs allow you to buy and sell ownership of unique digital items, keeping track of ownership through a blockchain. But with their high-risk associations, potential for scammers, and huge environmental impact, they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Love them or hate them, you can’t deny they keep everyone talking.