Fake Banksy NFT ‘sold through artist’s website for $335,000’

Collector claims he was duped after online auction claimed to be selling artist’s work

The fake Banksy NFT. Photo: OpenSea
Powered by automated translation

A fake NFT has allegedly been sold through Banksy’s official website after a hack by scammers.

A 30-year-old collector, known as Pranksy, claims he was duped out of £244,000 ($335,560) in cryptocurrency after believing he was buying the Bristol-based artist’s first NFT.

He said he was alerted to the sale by an anonymous user on the social network Discord.

A link at Banksy.co.uk led him to an online auction on the OpenSea marketplace of the NFT Great Redistribution of the Climate Change Disaster.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital certificates of ownership that are authenticated through blockchain technology and can be bought or sold online.

They do not relate to the physical product or its copyright.

The collector offered to pay 100 Ethereum tokens for the piece – almost 90 per cent above rival bidders – bringing the auction to an end.

He told the BBC he became aware of the con almost as soon as he parted with his money.

“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.

He said it is unlikely he will be able to sell the NFT.

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

In March, British artist Beeple sold an NFT of his artwork Everydays – The First 5000 Days, for a staggering $69.4 million in an auction by Christie’s.

Updated: September 01, 2021, 12:59 PM