An art collector has paid 100 Ether for an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) by artist Banksy:
Ether is a cryptocurrency, with 100 Ether being worth around $340,000 in USD. Which for a Banksy is very cheap!
However, the Banksy NFT turned out to be fake… And bizarrely, the person that bought the Banksy NFT goes by the online username Pranksy.
This means Pranksy got pranked into buying a fake NFT from Banksy. A reality that could only happen in the new world of NFTs and cryptocurrency.
The Full Story
In an interview with BBC, Pranksy stated that he heard from someone on Discord that an auction was being held on an NFT marketplace called OpenSea.
The NFT was titled the ‘Great Redistribution of the Climate Change Disaster’. A retro-punk image of a person smoking a cigarette in front of a factory in 8-bit style art.
In the world of Banksy art, this piece fits as the elusive Banksy has been vocal about the climate crisis in the past.
Pranksy first became skeptical of the online bid when his initial bid of 100 Ether ($340k) was immediately accepted.
Alarmingly, to make the auction look more authentic, the scammer had supposedly created an NFT page on Banksy’s website. Which was later deleted from Banksy’s website.
According to the BBC interview, Pranksy believes Banksy’s website was hacked.
After Pranksy’s NFT purchase hit the news, Banksy’s spokesmen publicly came out declaring that the artist was not involved with NFTs and that what Pranksy bought was fake.
This made Pranksy’s fears a reality.
Sadly, since this story broke, others have been trying to sell artists’ work as their own via the NFT market.
A Happy Ending
Thankfully there is a happy twist to this story. As Pranksy told the Verge journalist Mitchell Clark that the scammer had returned the money…
That’s right, to make this story even more bizarre, the scammer gave back the money. And this is evident via Etherscan, a blockchain explorer that shows all public Ether transactions.
Simply put, a scammer returning the money is unheard of. Which makes Pranksy one lucky art collector. Or does it?
A Publicity Stunt?
This refund has some people thinking that maybe this was all a publicity stunt by Pranksy. Which Pranksy has denied, stating that they would never want to risk a future relationship with Banksy.
Plus, reversing transactions on the Blockchain is impossible since the system is designed to do a permanent transaction from one wallet to another.