Scammers Steal Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs
There were many smiling apes around when non-fungible tokens erupted out of the cryptocurrency realm to become quite the pop culture phenomenon early last year. However, after several months, these avatars, procedurally created apes wearing hats and glasses, and designed in the frenetic aesthetic of a Gorillaz video, became the image of not just NFTs, but the greater cryptocurrency hysteria in certain ways.
Bored Ape Yacht Club Avis are essentially just jpgs saved on a digital ledger, ready to right-click and save for anyone on the internet. Yes, although much of the remainder of the NFT sector has tanked, the apes remain a symbol of status, fetching roughly $20 million in the last week at an average cost of $188,000 per NFT, as per the website NFT Stats.
From April 20, 2021, once the Bored Ape Yacht Club collaborative launched its first NFTs, substantial sections of Twitter and other social media platforms have resembled a zanier ape world. On national television, celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton flaunted their BAYC-created primates. Shaq’s Twitter profile photo is of his NFT. Justin Bieber got himself an ape, despite the fact that he presumably didn’t pay for it. You’ve probably also heard about Seth Green’s bizarre and terrible Bored Apes narrative by now.
If consumers were into it, they earned more than just bragging rights in exchange for having these monkeys. One’s personal ape token served as a ticket to special online and in-person events. You may obtain an Ape Coin and use it to purchase a unique hamburger or a costly property title in the metaverse.
Then there were the hacks. Todd Kramer, the proprietor of a New York City art gallery, tweeted a plea that immediately went viral on the internet near the end of 2021, stating that all his apes had been stolen.
‘All of my apes have vanished’ was a cry for help in these strange times. What happened to the apes? When you buy and sell NFTs on an online market such as OpenSea, you can keep your assets in a digital wallet, which are essentially certificates confirming your digital ownership of specific images, not the artworks themselves. It can be a hot wallet, an online data storage space, or a cold wallet, which allows you to save the passcodes for your tokens on a protected, offline storage. Before Kramer’s scenario, hot wallet hacks via spam emails or access to individuals’ wallet codes were not unusual. However, his public complaint—along with his interesting choice of syntax—drew more awareness to this specific con.
Even after his “all my apes gone” tweet had become its own token, Kramer, like other ardent believers, has not renounced NFTs. Even though there were plenty more ape theft incidents around the same period, leading OpenSea to temporarily halt transactions, BAYC’s reputation hasn’t dwindled. More apes in the marketplace implies more apes on the verge of extinction. How many apes have vanished? Enough that many lawsuits have been brought against OpenSea as well as BAYC parent firm Yuga Labs for the scale of the theft.
Users mimicking other traders have been known to steal NFTs. However, in January, some fraudsters pretended to be the whole BAYC system on OpenSea, complete with worthless tokens. A substantial sum of money was lost. Subsequently, in March, scammers used Twitter to mimic BAYC creators and distribute bogus ApeCoins. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Even Instagram was not immune to the attack.
The sale of digital land rights for BAYC’s future Metaverse project, Otherside, began in April (which appears to be like an MMORPG-style online universe for various forms of NFT avatars, such as CryptoPunks and Cool Cats). Due to the demand for these titles, trading fees skyrocketed, and the blockchain network became jammed, resulting in a lot of money being wasted—and an opening for scammers. Some dealers pretended to be Otherside title sellers on Twitter, luring consumers by promising reimbursements or direct “links” to land purchases. After the frenzy, nearly $5 million in apes had been sold, putting a hole in BAYC NFT selling prices.
The Bottom Line
With the Bored Ape Yacht Club being infiltrated by scammers, it brings up a lot of negative stigmas about NFTs. If one of the most lucrative NFT collections can be infiltrated in this way, then it raises serious security questions for other collections. The NFT space as a whole has dropped substantially in value since its inception, as many investors fear staking huge amounts of money into tokens that can be so easily stolen.