Last Updated: 11 July 2022
The special thing about crypto-assets is that you can keep them completely under your own control in an independent wallet. The downside of this is that you are responsible for the security of these, which sometimes goes wrong. Beetlejuice, via Dune Analytics, has listed the amount of capital that has been alienated from Bored Ape and Mutant Ape NFTs, and the results are staggering.
130 Bored Apes and 268 Mutant Apes
According to the dashboard designed by Beetlejuice on Dune Analytics, a total of 130 Bored Apes and 268 Mutant Apes have been classified as stolen. In practice, this means that the owners of the NFTs have contacted OpenSea to identify them as stolen. The value of those 398 NFTs, at the current rock-bottom prices, amounts to more than 18 million euros.
The floor price for a Bored Ape NFT at the time of writing is 92 ether, which already brings the total for the 130 Bored Apes to 11,960 ether. Mutant Apes are currently going for a floor price of 18 ether, which means that with the 268 NFTs, a total of 4,824 ether has been stolen. This adds up to an ether value of 16,784 Ethereum. Please note: this only concerns the Bored Ape and Mutant Ape collections.
However, the Bored Ape and Mutant Ape collections are not the only ones where tokens have been stolen for large amounts. There are also 153 Azuki NFTs, 202 CloneX tokens and 70 Moonbird gone. At today’s rock-bottom prices, this adds another 6.76 million euros in stolen goods to the total. This means that almost 25 million euros’ worth of NFTs were stolen from half of the top 10 collections on OpenSea.
The policy of OpenSea
OpenSea is the largest NFT marketplace in the world and has a policy of freezing stolen tokens on the platform. This means that they can still change hands on the blockchain, but OpenSea no longer recognises that ownership. Some traders like “Franklin,” the popular Bored Ape collector, point out that it is still possible to use other marketplaces like LooksRare.
This problem also exposes the shortcomings of NFTs. Many users are unable to manage the security of their wallets themselves. This raises the question whether, in some cases, it would not be better to have NFTs traded on a centralised platform. After all, what is the added value of decentralisation in this kind of project? In principle, a Meta or Twitter would also be reliable parties to manage the NFTs.
Abuse of OpenSea policy
Another criticism of OpenSea’s policy and power is that it is ultimately difficult to determine whether an NFT has actually been stolen. In theory, you can sell your NFT and then tell OpenSea that the picture was stolen. Franklin even writes a whole plan for this on Twitter.
In any case, it is clear that NFTs are a relatively new phenomenon, for which a lot of things still need to be worked out. In itself, this is not surprising because with the rise of bitcoin, there were also a lot of problems with exchanges that could not be trusted. Look at the collapse of Mt Gox, for example, where creditors are now only getting part of their bitcoin back after eight years.