‘All My Apes Gone’: An Art Dealer’s Despondent Tweet About the Theft of His NFTs Went Viral… and Has Now Become an NFT
The stolen trove was worth an estimated $2.2 million. The NFT of the tweet is going for a lot less.
It really is the Wild West out there.
The internet has been abuzz with schadenfreude after New York art dealer Todd Kramer tweeted a desperate plea on December 30: “I been hacked. All my apes gone. This just sold please help me.” Thieves had hacked his digital wallet and made off with at least 15 artworks—including five from the high-profile Bored Ape Yacht Club collection—worth an estimated $2.2 million.
The cofounder of Ross + Kramer Gallery, which has locations in New York City and East Hampton, has since deleted the tweet. But in yet another sign of the anything-goes nature of the NFT world, it recently resurfaced on OpenSea… as an NFT. Sold by a user with the name CarbonPaper, the NFT of the tweet is priced as of press time at 0.05 ETH ($180.81).
Alongside the NFT, CarbonPaper wrote: “get rekt noob 😉 maybe be a little safer next time crypto bro!! :p” He echoed a wave of users who chided Kramer for falling victim to a phishing scam. According to ARTnews, the works were stolen from Kramer’s “hot wallet,” a tool that is continually connected to the internet, as opposed to the more secure, physical “cold wallet,” which must be plugged in to connect to the web.
The viral tweet drew a dreaded ratio of 711 retweets, 3,582 quote tweets, and 3,375 likes, a surefire sign of being mocked online. Some users advised Kramer to adjust his profile picture since he technically no longer owned or had access to the ape NFT he had used as his icon.
Soon after Kramer’s wallet was hacked, the thief appeared to have sold a number of the works in his collection. But five hours later, Kramer tweeted that the NFTs—including seven Mutant Ape Yacht Club tokens and eight Bored Ape Yacht Club tokens—had been “frozen” by OpenSea, meaning they were unable to be bought and sold on the platform.
Some criticized OpenSea’s decision to freeze the tokens, which they considered an out-of-bounds move for a supposedly decentralized organization.
After the NFTs were frozen, according to a report in the Coin Telegraph, Kramer was able to retrieve a number of his Ape NFTs with the help of several NFT experts. In a tweet, the art dealer thanked two Twitter users for their support on “arguably the worst night of my life,” though he didn’t specify which works were recovered.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Kramer’s OpenSea account had seven Mutant Ape and three Bored Ape Kennel Club NFTs, but only one of them (Mutant Ape 2434) had previously been identified as stolen.
Kramer did not respond to requests for comment from Artnet News. OpenSea did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Kramer isn’t the only collector to have been burned recently. OpenSea’s website includes a page with the heading: “What can I do if my art, image, or other IP is being sold without my permission?” It advises users to fill out a form and submit a dossier of information to the company by email or, incongruously, snail mail.
The art dealer’s now-infamous Tweet came only days after rapper-turned-NFT-entrepreneur Waka Flocka Flame Tweeted a video saying that his OpenSea wallet had been hacked after he solicited NFTs from fans. One of the NFTs he received, labeled as one of the “Desperate Ape Wives,” contained a smart contract that executed when he tried to delete it from his wallet, costing him $19,000, he said.
Update: After publication, OpenSea responded with the following comment: “We take theft seriously and have policies in place to meet our obligations to the community and deter theft on our platform. 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. We’ve prioritized building security tools and processes to combat theft on OpenSea, and 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.”
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