The NFT space reached fever pitch yesterday following a series of events that lead to popular NFT whale Pranksy inadvertently buying a “fake” Banksy NFT for $350k (100 ETH).
The saga started when the collector was first made aware by an anonymous user on Discord of a potential Banksy NFT up for sale on OpenSea – the leading NFT marketplace.
The message regarded a link that led to Banksy’s website, which displayed the same NFT that was up for sale in the auction.
Concerns were voiced over the legitimacy of the link and the artwork, with the notion that, as the image was hosted on Banksy’s official website, it must have been authentic.
The image was also listed under the “gaakmann Collection” – a name that is tied closely to the artist. Banksy has previously submitted work to exhibitions under the pseudonym or alternative identity of ‘Bryan S Gaakman’ – an anagram of “Banksy anagram”.
Pranksy proceeded to bid 100 ETH on the piece, saying he expected a three-day auction. However, the bid was instantly accepted and the auction closed a short time later.
Once the bid was accepted, the link to the website was removed from Banksy’s website and redirected back to the homepage. On OpenSea, once a bid is accepted by the seller, it cannot be reversed. This meant that Pranksy was left with the seemingly fake NFT in his wallet.
Pranksy noted that the NFT may have been a “very elaborate takeover of the http://banksy.co.uk website”, and remained light-hearted about the series of events, later tweeting that “it was fun entertainment for us all today”.
Later that evening, the saga took another twist when the seller of the piece returned 97.7 ETH to Pranksy.
“The refund was totally unexpected, I think the press coverage of the hack plus the fact that I had found the hacker and followed him on Twitter may have pushed him into a refund,” he said.
It was later confirmed by the Banksy team that “any Banksy NFT auctions are not affiliated with the artist in any shape or form”.
Meanwhile, in homage to the shredding of the infamous Banksy piece “Girl With Balloon” artist “Jakethedegen” created an artwork of the “fake” NFT in the same format.
The auction is due to end today, with the current winning bid sitting at 2.5 ETH ($8.8K).