As with all the stories involving Banksy, the elusive street artist, this one is also quite bizarre. A collector paid almost $336K in Ethereum for a Banksy NFT, which turned out to be fake. A spokesperson for Banksy confirmed that the artist had no involvement with NFTs. What’s more bizarre is that the scammer seemingly refunded all the money paid for the NFT back for no reason whatsoever.
What’s an NFT?
NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a one-of-a-kind digital object owned by anyone who pays for it. It is based on blockchain, the same technology as that of cryptocurrencies. With the help of blockchain, it becomes easy to keep track of who has ownership of the file.
Take this story with a grain of salt, as Banksy has a history of doing elaborate stunts/pranks like these. In the past, the artist has even shredded his own painting moments after it was sold. To make matters more suspicious, the buyer coincidently goes by the name Pranksy.
While many consider this a publicity stunt, the buyer denies it by saying he wouldn’t want to risk a possible future relationship with Banksy. From the looks of things, he could be a fan of the artist, or we all have been duped by Banksy yet again.
Fake Banksy NFT
The NFT in question depicts a person smoking in front of an industrial smokestack. The buyer told the BBC that he found out about the auction from someone on Discord. The buyer then purchased the NFT, which is verifiable on his OpenSea page (NFT marketplace). He even posted a link to a page on Banksy’s official website, which showed the picture.
The seller accepted the buyer’s bid for over $300K in less than an hour. This was when the buyer suspected that it was a scam. The NFT page also disappeared from Banksy’s official website. Banksy’s spokesperson told the BBC that the artist hadn’t created any NFT artwork, which confirmed the buyer’s suspicion. The most outrageous thing about all of this is how the NFT link ended up on Banksy’s official website.
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Usually, the story ends there but not this one. Apparently, the original scammer returned the 100 Ethereum paid for the NFT. In scams like these, getting your money back is almost unheard of. This is reminiscent of the Polynetwork hacker who stole cryptocurrency worth $600 million for fun, only to return it.
It’s not the first time that a high-paying customer has bought a fake NFT. The NFT market is slowly becoming a new frontier for scammers and hackers, targeting the wealthy. Considering the people involved in this story, this might not be the last time we hear about it.