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Fake Banksy NFT Sold Through Artist’s Website For £244k

By Joe Tidy
Cyber reporter

image sourceElliptic

image captionThe fake Banksy NFT was advertised on the artist’s official website

A British collector says he feels “burned” after spending $336,000 (£244,000) on a fake Banksy NFT advertised through the artist’s official website.

A link to an online auction for the NFT was posted on a now-deleted page of banksy.co.uk.

The auction ended early after the man offered 90% more than rival bidders.

Banksy’s team told the BBC “any Banksy NFT auctions are not affiliated with the artist in any shape or form”.

With NFTs, artwork can be “tokenised” to create a digital certificate of ownership that can be bought and sold.

They do not generally give the buyer the actual artwork or its copyright.

The duped buyer thought he was buying the world-famous graffiti artist’s first ever NFT.

The 30-year-old, who wanted to remain anonymous, explained over Twitter direct messages that he now suspects Banksy’s site was hacked, and that he was the victim of an elaborate scam.

He says he was first alerted to the auction by an anonymous person in his community on the social network Discord.

Banksy’s official site had a new page called NFT which included a link to an auction site selling an NFT called Great Redistribution of the Climate Change Disaster.

The man, who describes himself as a professional NFT collector, entered a bid around 90% higher than others.

The auction swiftly ended and the funds – in cryptocurrency Ethereum – were sent to the scammer.

‘Feels like a hack’

“It does seem to be some hack of the site. 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,” he said.

Banksy’s team did not respond to questions about how his site was compromised but said: “The artist Banksy has not created any NFT artworks.”

Despite admitting that the NFT “probably won’t find a buyer” now it’s been revealed as a fake, the buyer says: “It’s fine, it’s a good story.”

The buyer suspects the person who alerted him and others to the Banksy NFT sale may have been the hacker themselves.

He says he has tried to contact them online but has not had any response since the sale.

‘Irreversible’

Tom Robinson, from cryptocurrency analysis company Elliptic, confirmed there was nothing the buyer could do once he has placed his bid on the auction platform OpenSea.

“OpenSea is the eBay of NFTs – it allows anyone to sell digital art that they own, or have created themselves. Once a bid has been placed, the seller can accept and the cryptocurrency is irreversibly transferred,” he said.

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