A record number of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) were reportedly stolen in July, joining the over $100 million worth of NFTs taken between July 2021 and July 2022.
Although the prices and sales of NFTs have dropped following their surge in 2021, there are still many scams being perpetrated by thieves, according to a Reuters report covering research done by blockchain research firm Elliptic.
The total number of NFT thefts may be higher than what has been reported because not all such crimes are publicly announced, according to the report.
“There is a growing threat to NFT-based services from sanctioned entities and state-sponsored exploits,” Elliptic said, per the report.
In one high-profile theft reported in May, actor Seth Green’s Bored Ape NFT was stolen by a scammer, putting into doubt Green’s plans to turn the NFT into a TV show.
In another theft, NFT collector Larry Lawliet announced Jan. 31 on Twitter that he had lost $2.7 million worth of Bored Ape and Mutant Ape tokens to a hacker.
More recently, NFT marketplace OpenSea sent out a Twitter thread Aug. 10 explaining its policy around stolen NFTs — starting with the blindingly obvious fact that it is against the law to knowingly support or allow the sale of stolen property.
Beyond that, OpenSea said, “In some cases, the purchaser who unknowingly bought a stolen item (at no fault of their own) was inadvertently penalized.”
Changes include requiring a police report within seven days to back up all claims that a stolen NFT is up for sale, and making it easier to re-enable the sale of an NFT that has been returned to its rightful owner.
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