To say that NFTs has begun to stir up controversy in the video game world would be to say the least. Some see the technology as an opportunity to make money, while others consider it another form of monetization that will only hurt the industry and players’ wallets. Even prominent gaming companies have come out on both sides of the debate, with Konami selling commemorative NFTs to celebrate the anniversary of Castlevania and Yooka-Laylee developer Playtonic issues a statement against the technology.
One of the most prominent NFT gatherings is called Bored Ape Yacht Club, or simply Bored Ape. Launched in April 2021, the collection consists of 10,000 unique digital avatars built on the Ethereum blockchain. In the year since its introduction, many celebrities such as Stephen Curry, Jimmy Fallon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Eminem have purchased some of the monkey avatars and shared their acquisitions on Instagram. Bored Ape has also launched two other collections, Bored Ape Kennel Club and Mutant Ape, which are significantly less valuable.
Ironically, Instagram happens to be one of the apparent weaknesses of Bored Ape and non-fungible technology in general. On April 25th, a hacker or hackers managed to gain access to the Bored Ape Instagram account and posted a link promising a free allotment of land in an upcoming Bored Ape MMORPG metaverse called The other side. This wasn’t necessarily suspicious behavior because Bored Ape was giving away free Mutant Ape NFTs when that collection launched in August 2021. Unfortunately, the Instagram link was just a phishing scam, and people who unwittingly clicked on it connected to crypto- their wallets, had bored Ape NFTs stolen.
Bored Ape immediately removed all links to Instagram from its platforms; OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, put a “suspicious activity” label on the stolen monkeys. However, that hasn’t stopped the hacker, who simply went to another marketplace and has already started selling the loot. According to Bored Ape, the Instagram hacker got away with a total of 13 NFTs. Others estimate the number to be closer to 50 or even 100, which includes Bored Ape, Bored Ape Kennel Club and Mutant Ape NFTs. Due to uncertainty surrounding the numbers, it is estimated that the hacker got away with a haul worth between $2.57 and $13.7 million, or more.
Being contained solely in a digital space does NFTs and cryptocurrency particularly vulnerable to hackers. Just last month, an NFT game called Axie Infinity fell victim to one of the largest decentralized finance hacks to date when a group of hackers stole $625 million from the Ronin Network, the Ethereum-linked blockchain platform the game was founded on. The vulnerability of NFTs in general makes even supporters of the technology feel uneasy. With companies like Ubisoft promising more NFT games in the future, players should be aware of the potential strengths and weaknesses of the technology before investing large sums.
MORE: Ubisoft’s NFT Initiative Crashing and Burning is the best case scenario
Sources: CNET, CoinDesk