More than $2.2m worth of NFTs were stolen from the New York-based art collector and gallerist, Todd Kramer, according to a series of now-deleted tweets.
Kramer, of Ross+Kramer Gallery, called for help via social media in the early hours of 30 December, saying: “I have been hacked, all my apes [have] gone." He described the night as the "worst of his life".
The 15 NFTs which disappeared from his wallet were from the highly prized Bored Ape Yacht Club and the Mutant Ape Yacht Club collections, in what is believed to have been a phishing scam. It is reported that the NFT marketplace, OpenSea, later intervened by preventing further trade on the items.
The Twitter community was quick to respond to Kramer’s call for aid, with his comment receiving more than 500 retweets. While some users were supportive and active in helping the collector determine who the tokens had been resold to, others joyfully mocked his misfortune via memes.
Kramer did not respond to our request for comment.
The incident is the latest in a string of high-profile cases highlighting the vulnerability of buyers in a largely unregulated market, including the disappearance of the creator of the $2.7m Evil Ape series last October (leaving investors out of pocket) and the theft of three Bored Ape tokens from a collector the following month.
“Episodes like this one reveal an important dividing line in the crypto community,” says Jon Sharples, an art and intellectual property lawyer with Canvas Art Law.
“Some say the opportunity of self-governance comes with the responsibility of self-education and so those who make mistakes have to take the lessons, no matter how hard they are. Others say it shows the need for some regulation and/or the need for better warning systems and user interfaces as part of the offerings of trusted service providers.”
A spokesperson for OpenSea said in an email statement to The Art Newspaper: "We take theft seriously and have policies in place to meet our obligations to the community and deter theft in the wider ecosystem. OpenSea is a blockchain explorer, meaning our goal is to provide the most comprehensive view into NFTs across different blockchains. 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. Since this issue emerged, we’ve built security tools and processes to combat theft on OpenSea. 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.”
UPDATE 10 January: This article was updated to include a statement from OpenSea