back to article Star loses $500,000 NFT after crooks exploit Rarible market

Miscreants exploited a now-fixed design flaw in the Rarible NFT marketplace to steal a non-fungible token from Taiwanese singer and actor Jay Chou and sell it for about $500,000. That's according to folks at Check Point, who on Thursday said the vulnerability could have been abused by crooks to gain full control of victims' …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still say that someone who spends real money on a digital artifact that does nothing other than exist on a ledger isn't dealing from a full deck.

    Virtual assets like music licenses, video licenses, and so on make sense; they have real-world counterparts behind their model.

    But NFTs require a leap of insane logic where you claim a digital thing is unique. Sorry, but as a programmer, I find that absolutely laughable. Digital data is easily replicated and copied. You own nothing for your money but a crypto-key to identify your nothing. There is no real world concept in counterpart to an NFT; it is all in people's heads.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      It's a bit more subtle than that.

      ...NFT creators also can earn up to 50 percent in royalties when someone resells their NFT on the secondary market...

      It's really just a disguised pyramid scheme.

      1. Joe W Silver badge

        Sounds lucrative. Do you, as "art", uhm... "creator" have any upfront costs? I'll just upload a corrupted shot of a vegetable or something. If you cannot understand the meaning of that art piece you are a cretin, dear Sir, and....

        or something.

        1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Anyone remember the Reg article on take meteorite make cast, melt meteorite down and pour into cast, send back to space. ITS ART!!!!

        2. MrBanana

          On one visit to Tate Modern I saw a glass of water on a shelf, with a sign that said "this is not a glass of water on a shelf'. Another visit involved explaining to my 80 year old mother the art installation of a life size, slow motion, video of naked man with a very non-small penis, dancing to trance music. I explained that it was art, her reaction was - "is the end of it attached to a piece of string?".

          Anything Non Fungible in the above?

    2. ecofeco Silver badge


      There is an old saying: "Never buy a pig in a poke."

      A pig in a poke is a thing that is bought without first being inspected, and thus of unknown authenticity or quality. The idiom is attested in 1555.

      1. jake Silver badge

        I hear the Emperor has a new set of clothes ...

        1. Richard Pennington 1


          ... but I haven't seen them.

      2. chivo243 Silver badge

        So, A fool and his money are soon parted? Thought so!

        1. Danny 14

          I always see these "NFTs are in demand". Surely this is just idiots selling the first NFTs? Im not sure on the demand for NFT resales, wasnt the 2.9M first tweet NFT recwntly pulled from resale due to a top bid of a few thousand?

          Certainly snake oil territory.

          1. Mark 85

            Surely this is just idiots selling the first NFTs?

            Idiots? Not the selling, that's the con men but the buyers are definitely idiots. After the initial sale, it's idiots all the way to the bottom.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The sheer demand for NFTs also makes them an attractive target.

            Well, now I want one. /s

    3. Persona

      Where the NFT concept fails to match real world ownership is that very first step linking the digital data to the NFT. There is nothing to stop anyone taking that identical digital data and representing it with a NFT from a competing implementation. Then you have two and potentially many many more "unique" and tradeable NFT's which both "prove" ownership of that same blob of data. Real world common sense then steps in to tell us that none of the NFT's have any validity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It goes further than that: the "sale" of an NFT has no obvious legal basis. In the absence of a proper sales contract it isn't clear what is being sold - probably you own the right to appear on a particular website.

        Do you actually own anything more than that? Probably not, unless there is a chain of valid contracts that explain what is being bought and sold. Just because you don't read the Terms and Conditions doesn't mean that they aren't very important when you buy something on a website...

    4. AndrueC Silver badge

      But NFTs require a leap of insane logic where you claim a digital thing is unique. Sorry, but as a programmer, I find that absolutely laughable.

      I do worry though every time I type var guid=Guid.NewGuid(); I'm using up a finite resource :D

    5. jmch Silver badge

      It might be more subtle than that though...

      Say its possible to create a copy of the Mona Lisa that exactly duplicates the original to a standard undetectable by the naked eye, even to an expert.

      Thought exercise : the Louvre actually exhibit an undetectable copy, no one would ever know since its impossible for visitors to examine it closely. The actual original is stolen and resold, it would still not fetch the original's price.

      Thus the value of the one hanging in the Louvre is based on 'everyone knowing'* that it's the original painted by Leonardo (whether that's actually true or not ) . So even in the physical world there is the equivalent idea of an original being worth much more than a copy even if the copy is, in any respect that matters, identical.

      The value isn't in the item, it's in the human belief attached to it. But then we already know that art has much less intrinsic value than the value assigned to it by humans willing to pay for it, whether that's millions for an original painting or 10 bucks for a copy of a CD.

      *and incidentally, this is unverifiable by pretty much anyone

      1. ChrisB 2

        I think this very much explains it. I have a couple of good quality prints of the work of a fairly famous photographer. Bought in the 90s, they cost a few tens of pounds in a poster shop in Covent Garden. Did the photographer's estate get a share of that, no matter how small? Probably, his copyrighted work is well managed.

        Would I like to own the original negatives so no-one else could ever make another print? Probably not. Would that even work, since anyone competent can take a print already in the marketplace and reproduce it? I don't know, it'd maybe deprive others of the ability to view the work and I'm not sure I would want that.

        Would I like a signed limited-edition print? Sure that'd be nice. Would that change the way the prints look? No. Would it change the way I feel about the print? Maybe. Would it be more valuable? Yes.

        Art is a (funny) business. But it is a business.

      2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        I want to give you lots more upvotes for the penultimate paragraph.

      3. X5-332960073452

        You just described religion

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        In fact a non negligible number of works of art in exhibition *are* copies. Estimations as to the actual percentage vary quite a bit, as they are based on extrapolation and many, though not all, of the copies are not on display intentionally (the museums themselves did not detect the forgery, or works are simply misattributed by experts with no ill intent).

        The public does not seem to mind. I certainly don't. I'm happy just getting a general idea of what the real thing may look like.

    6. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      I fully agree with your first paragraph - I'll upvote you in a sec when I've p[osted this.

      I disagree about virtual assets since in many cases they are not assets (you cannot sell them etc) but simply rented goods. They may have real world counterparts, but unlike say renting a house they're not very secure and can be removed for any or none reason.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "NFTs are here to stay..."

    Apparently not.


    1. bpfh

      Re: "NFTs are here to stay..."

      Here to stay... just possibly not staying with you!

  3. Brian 3

    Given the state of power grids and fuel worldwide, it should be a crime to waste electricity on this crap!

    1. Mark 85

      Reminds me of the old song about "All we are is dust in the wind"... NFT's are just electrons blowing around.

  4. IGotOut Silver badge


    A story to make us smile.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NFT's...

      Mr Estavi has compared the digital asset (Jack Dorsey's first tweet) to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

      Not smiling -- laughing out loud.

    2. GruntyMcPugh

      Re: NFT's...

      It's still on Twitter for everyone to see:

      So I don't see what Mr Estavi paid for exactly. I mean, at least that a-hole Shkreli got an exclusive Wu Tang album for his money, but Estavi didn't get exclusivity,... so, er,... what's the point?

  5. Martin-73 Silver badge

    Given they're just copies of data, he should've backed em up ;)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. jake Silver badge

    It's just another MAKE MONEY FAST scheme ...

    and like all of 'em from time immemorial, doomed to failure.

    "This isn't the moving-fast-and-breaking-things future we wanted"

    But it's what we've got, thanks to the greed of the perpetrators and their sycophants.

    On the other hand, having a brain, I ain't "we" Kemosabe. Are you?

  7. Lucy in the Sky (with Diamonds)

    Maybe Fungible...

    Maybe, this Star's Token was Fungible after all...

    Personally, I choose better stars to guide me, for instance, here we have the Southern Cross, and regardless on inebriation, it helps me stagger home...

    Depending on cloud cover, of course, in which case I find myself in a distant suburb...

  8. nojobhopes

    Star loses $500,000

    Surely star loses $500,000 by purchasing an NFT?

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Working as designed

    > That function authorizes who can control a user's tokens and was created primarily to enable third parties like Rarible and OpenSea to control tokens on behalf of the users

    Never mind, an NFT is no more than a link. Nothing of value¹ was lost

    [1] assuming people understand the difference between value and cost

    1. gotes

      Re: Working as designed

      The real victim is the person who bought the stolen NFT, though I don't have much sympathy.

  11. GraXXoR

    When I saw the title...

    I just assumed the specialty printer company had got hacked... LOL.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Honest question

    > the relatively nascent NFT and cryptocurrency sectors

    Is anyone aware of any actually useful applications of NFTs?

    If you're not aware of any, a reply with a simple "no" would be welcome, just please save yourself any sarcasm (or post it elsewhere), I've probably seen your "joke" already and may have used it myself.

    I've tried hard to come up with an answer to this question (FTR, I'm aware of how Ethereal so-called "smart contracts" work) and I wasn't able to think of any plausible application.

    I've heard of things like concert tickets and boarding passes, but there are already better, cheaper, simpler and more secure solutions to those problems. Even in a decentralised context this NFT thing is just an unnecessary complication, see for instance those vaccination QR codes in the EU, which are indeed decentralised by design.

  13. Glenn Amspaugh

    Used Crater Sales!

    NFTs remind me of those folks selling title to plots of land on the Moon and Mars or selling stars.

    Yay, you gots yourself a fancy certificate!

    Only with NFTs you don't even get a bit of shiny paper.


POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like