“I have been hacked. All my apes gone. This just sold please help me,” wrote gallery owner Todd Kramer in a since-deleted tweet posted on December 30.
The owner of New York’s Ross + Kramer Gallery had discovered that NFTs worth millions had been stolen from his cryptocurrency wallet. ARTnews reported that a phishing scam had drained Kramer's Ethereum wallet of 15 NFTs reportedly valued at a total of $2.2 million (£1.6m), including four apes from the “Bored Ape Yacht Club” collection. His apes, they were gone.
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The pieces from the popular NFT collection, also owned by the likes of Eminen, Jimmy Fallon and Snoop Dogg, were then sold off by the culprits. Far from being sympathetic, many twitter users took the opportunity to jeer, pointing out that he had chosen to bet on an unregulated, decentralized system and therefore should accept the consequences.
“Man If only there had been some kind of Regulating authority in place that could like Insure your investments against theft and fraud,” wrote the user @anarchy_shark.
Just tried explaining "all my apes gone" to a regular person. Not going well.— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) January 2, 2022
Fortunately for Kramer, NFT platform OpenSea reportedly stepped in and Kramer was able to get back several of the stolen NFTs. Updating his twitter following, he posted in another since-deleted tweet, “Update.. All Apes are frozen,,. Waiting for opensea team to get in,,,lessons learned. Use a hard wallet…”.
A hard wallet, FYI, is physical and will only connect to the internet when plugged in and in use. A hot wallet on the other hand, (which Kramer was carelessly using) is continuously connected to the internet and therefore far more vulnerable to scams.
While good news for Kramer, OpenSea’s involvement sparked major controversy within the NFT community, with some claiming that their intervention in this case goes against the notion of decentralisation on which NFTs are built. Others pointed out that OpenSea had only frozen user’s ability to interact with the NFT through that one site but it could still be bought and sold elsewhere.
Eleanor Rigby— Hagai Palevsky (he/him) (@DialHForHagai) December 30, 2021
Loved NFTs and was shocked when one day she logged on
“All my apes gone”
“We take theft seriously and have policies in place to meet our obligations to the community and deter theft in the wider ecosystem,” wrote an OpenSea representative in an email to ARTnews. “OpenSea is a blockchain explorer, meaning our goal is to provide the most comprehensive view into NFTs across different blockchains. 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. Since this issue emerged, we’ve built security tools and processes to combat theft on OpenSea. 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.”
Just this week, Kramer's original tweet has appeared on OpenSea as an NFT itself, at the value of around $180. What a time to be alive.