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Bedlam on the Blockchain: How Did Someone ‘Steal’ 2 Bored Ape NFTs?

An NFT collector was in a panic this week when his Bored Ape and Mutant Ape were seemingly stolen on OpenSea.

What’s it like to lose a Bored Ape? Such a catastrophe should be nearly impossible, but it became a living nightmare for one collector this week.

As it turns out, a Bored Ape and a Mutant Ape sold for 100% below their floor prices on March 28 on OpenSea. Calvin Chan is the owner of Bored Ape #835 and Mutant Ape #11670, both of which sold for $115 and $25, respectively. Luckily, he got his NFTs back, per his Twitter account. The transactions happened with the DAI cryptocurrency, a stablecoin on the Ethereum blockchain that aims to keep its value as close to the U.S. dollar as possible. Chan tweeted that he doesn’t know how his OpenSea account under the handle cchan got compromised.

Before jumping into the happy news, let’s break down what happened here.

The floor price of a Bored Ape is roughly $350,000, and the floor price for Mutant Apes is sitting in the $76,000 range. That means that any time these NFTs sell for a penny less than these prices, they are selling under their worth. The Twitter account @boredapebot tweets out every Bored Ape, Mutant Ape, and Bored Ape Kennel Club NFT sale, and it shared the sales early Monday morning, leaving the NFT community mystified.

How could this happen?

After going down a rabbit hole in the threads, I found Chan, who tweeted his experience of temporarily losing his pricey NFTs. Chan keeps his crypto information in a hardware wallet, which he didn’t take on vacation this week when he found out about the hack. He only learned that his Bored Ape and Mutant Ape had been sold after people in the community reached out to him.

“I never travel with my HD wallet and have never signed any transactions or accepted any offers,” Chan tweeted. “I’ve only once listed my BAYC for 200 ETH. I’ve since delisted due to the rampant OpenSea hacks and contract compromises.”

Chan expressed that he was more than shocked to find out his NFTs had been essentially stolen, and to make matters worse, the culprit quickly claimed the 12,136 ApeCoin tokens via crypto airdrop. The $180,000 worth of tokens were attached to the NFTs.

A critical part of NFT sale transactions on OpenSea is that sellers have to sign off on offers before they are made final. NFTs don’t automatically get handed to the highest bidder dishing out the most money, so in reality, Chan could have accepted this offer if he wanted to. But he didn’t, since he was traveling without his wallet, and he would have needed that to approve the transactions.

The unnamed buyer (or hacker?) of Bored Ape #835 and Mutant Ape #11670 put in more than ten offers in DAI for verified Bored Apes, but the account has gone cold since Chan took back his NFTs.

It has been incorrectly reported that Chan accidentally accepted the DAI offers, mistaking them for ETH, but that’s not the case here. It is unclear how someone signed off on Chan’s behalf, but the NFT collector tweeted that he must have been tricked into signing some document in the past that allowed this to happen. He called this a rookie mistake and said it’s essential to read every line of whatever document you’re signing when investing in the crypto and NFT spaces.

Chan has not yet responded to a request from Boardroom to comment on the matter.

For now, Bored Ape #835 and Mutant Ape #11670 are secure under an unnamed Open Sea account, which Chan seems to have access to. He didn’t explain how he got his apes back in his Twitter thread.

Bored Ape #835’s current highest offer is $306,533, and Mutant Ape #11670 is going for roughly $1,600. Both are still performing below their market values.

Who is regulating these mishaps?

This isn’t the first time expensive NFTs have sold under their market values, and in some cases, the owners are the ones who made the mistakes. CryptoPunk #7557 sold for $19,366 in November 2021 when it was actually worth nearly $1 million. Bored Ape #3547 sold for $3,000 instead of $300,000 after the seller accidentally listed it for 0.75 ETH instead of 75 ETH.

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Unfortunately, there is no governing body responsible for regulating these mishaps; that’s the beauty and the pain of decentralization and Web3. Still, some NFT collectors are calling on NFT marketplaces to answer for these incidents.

Timothy McKimmy, the former owner of Bored Ape #3475, is suing OpenSea for $1 million. McKimmy alleges that the platform knows about its security issues and declines to share them with users or fix them. He claims in the suit that he tried to reach out to OpenSea multiple times before taking legal action.

OpenSea does provide support for users who believe there has been fraudulent activity going on with their NFTs, and they freeze items in the process. Bored Ape #3475 has been reported for suspicious activity on OpenSea’s platform, and McKimmy’s OpenSea account has also been flagged.