back to article Crooks steal NFTs worth '$3m' in Bored Ape Yacht Club heist

Crooks stole non-fungible tokens (NFTs) said to be worth about $3 million after breaking into the Bored Ape Yacht Club's Instagram account and posting a link to a copycat website that sought to harvest marks' assets.  The bogus post promised a free airdrop – basically, a promotional token giveaway – to users who followed the …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Bits

    So some crooks stole some random bits which some random idiots had paid $3m for.

    There's a whole lot of nothing to see here.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Bits

      Sounds a bit like the Cat, who blew +4B$ on Twiter. He must have seen something it it, that I have, as yet havent. All the same I hope Twitter get a baddly needed tuneup. As to the the other cat with .jpgs well now he knows whats its like when your HDD of Pictures starts to CL-- Cl-- CLICK.

    2. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Bits

      No they stole URLS that linked to bits that may not be there tomorrow.

      Yeah that's what a NFT is, a freaking "exclusive" URL.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Bits

        Ok if I got downed for that.... Its cool I guess I learnt something. So it was someone else Drive that decide to click off then.... Fools meet Money I guess..

      2. seven of five

        Re: Bits

        How do you steal an URL?

        How do you steal a digital image?

        I don't get it. This crime is completely beyond my imagination.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Bits

          It works like this. I'm going to grant you the right to own a URL on my server. You give me a public key and I'll sign a document in a prearranged form indicating that you own it. If you want to sell it later, you can sign a similar document. Nobody without your private key can sign that, so you're the only person who can sell it unless, as in this case, someone steals a copy of your private key and uses it to sign away your receipts. Meanwhile, anyone can load the URL, anyone can download the file at the other end, and I can shut down the server without you. I might also have signed some chunk of data that I can't take down as easily, but even then, everyone who wants a copy of the data you "own" can get that copy for free. That's how an NFT works.

          How much for this bitstream? You will be the official owner of such a nice big number. You can sell it again at any time, assuming you can find someone else stupid enough to think it means something.

          1. seven of five

            Re: Bits

            Sooo. Thanks. I now understand how it works. It just does not make any sense - so I don't get it :)

        2. Blackjack Silver badge

          Re: Bits

          Digital data gets stolen all the time, including entire movies, information of millions of people, bank accounts, you name it.

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: Bits

            Yes, but the difference is, that data is actually worth something.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Let me get this straight…

    No.

    On the other hand, don’t bother.

  3. Mayday
    Stop

    Said this before, I'll say it again.

    Why? Is the first thing. I'm completely lost on the attraction to NFTs. If you're intp art (for example) then you are seeing the value in the artist's skill and expressionism, and your own tastes of course. Similarly with a baseball card or some other tangible piece which you can hold in your hand. With these you can secure them as you see fit, in your gallery, safe, or behind a locked door. Way too much risk with these "assets" to theft and the like too.

    NFTs = No Fucking Thanks.

    1. Sampler

      Re: Said this before, I'll say it again.

      Hold in your hands? And affect the PSA Grading? I think not good Sir!

    2. sev.monster Bronze badge

      Re: Said this before, I'll say it again.

      It doesn't take much research in the space to see that the majority of people interested in these art/digital item NFTs are any selection of the following:

      • Very young and impressionable
      • Without a social group and desire somewhere to fit in
      • Too unintelligent to actually understand the technology but think they do and that makes them feel self-important
      • Trained by Big Videogaming and pop culture to think microtransactions, lootboxes and in-game item economies are a great way to spend a lot of money and have lots of value
      • Want to make money and don't actually care about improving the technology, underlying economy, or other humans

      Any practical use of NFTs has been completely eschewed by the cryptobros shilling their latest disgusting art project (implemented using URLs to images rather than on-blockchain image data because that's expensive as hell), or trying to replace some perfectly functional existing technology for largely no real benefit (see NFT-based game items, DAOs, many bullshit cryptocurrencies).

      Crypto could have been revolutionary. But instead it's turned into one giant Ponzi scheme.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Said this before, I'll say it again.

      I'm not the right person to clear up your confusion, because I not only agree about the complete uselessness of NFTs, but also of most physical collectable things. If you have a baseball card, it's a piece of cardboard with writing on it that I could duplicate with some ease. Somehow the scarcity of cardboard printed by whoever manufactures such things makes them valuable, but I don't get why. At least with art there's a chance that you like how it looks and can't find a reproduction that is as faithful (though that won't last), and the art market doesn't appear to work on the appreciation of the aesthetics for establishing value. I was already confused by people who collected things like that, and when people started collecting things that didn't exist, it did not clear it up.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Said this before, I'll say it again.

        It's the scarcity argument. For some reason, humans value things that have natural (or in this case, designed-in) scarcity. It's the same reason people are suckers for Veblen goods so they can show off.

        We make jewellery out of gold, not because it is shiny (other more abundant shiny metals are available), or because of its colour (it's the copper in "rose gold" that makes it pink for example), but because of its scarcity. The same reason that Platinum or Palladium are pricier (and not because of their industrial usefulness). The reason why rubies and sapphires are sought after, despite essentially being coloured versions of compounds of the first and third most abundant elements on the planet (oxygen and aluminium).

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Said this before, I'll say it again.

          It's the scarcity argument. For some reason, humans value things that have natural (or in this case, designed-in) scarcity. It's the same reason people are suckers for Veblen goods so they can show off.

          But when a NFT has been "minted" for a crudely drawn image of a monkey, there is absolutely nothing to stop another one being minted for precisely the same image. Or another million. The scarcity only exists for as long as no-one decides to make another one, and any who does decide to make another one doesn't have to own the image or any rights to it.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Said this before, I'll say it again.

            Oh, I'm not arguing that they are actually worth anything, but I think the thing that would prevent what you are saying would be the copyright infringement, assuming the image is copyrightable, and the rights go with the NFT. Not that it would stop it from happening, but it would punish the person doing it.

            In the same way that twonks who go on about free speech are still perfectly free to say whatever they like, they're just not free from the consequences of doing so, just because they think their "free speech rights" somehow override social responsibility and lawfulness.

            1. sev.monster Bronze badge
              Alien

              Re: Said this before, I'll say it again.

              An important aspect to the idea of "scarcity" and resultant value of virtual items in general can be explained by comparing to the ship of Theseus. For example, when an NFT is minted, what is gained is a specific, original, and non-reproducible token—its not the contents or target of the NFT or anything related to it that is one-of-a-kind, it's the transaction it makes up on the blockchain. Sure, you can copy the shitty monkey PNG the NFT points to, you can even fork the blockchain and potentially duplicate it, but your copy will never be that specific piece of data at that specific time in that specific place. That uniqueness is confirmed and held sacrosant by others in the crypto community, regardless of the actual artistic value of the shitty monkey.

              Sadly there is no shitty monkey icon, so take an alien instead. If you squint hard enough...

  4. JimmyPage
    Stop

    Why the hate ?

    The "T" in NFT - "token" should be a clue that it's not cash.

    In Italy, you used to have "gettone" which were tokens for public telephones. Similar idea really. The only difference being they actually had value ....

    (tongue very firmly in cheek)

    1. gerdesj Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Why the hate ?

      "In Italy, you used to have "gettone" ..."

      In the UK we still have tokens called pounds and pence. They used to have some value too.

      1. Flywheel Silver badge

        Re: Why the hate ?

        You can "lend" one to Sainsburys and get the use of a shopping trolley for a while...

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Why the hate ?

        "In Italy, you used to have "gettone" ..."

        In the UK we still have tokens called pounds and pence. They used to have some value too.

        You can exchange some of those tokens for "Panettone"

    2. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

      Re: Why the hate ?

      In my country, there were some tokens - basically plastic coins - you could use to buy a weekly paper. This was well before the free (fake?) newspapers were a thing.

      As kids, we used these tokes at the dumbest vending machines that sold chewing gum. If the machine only passively checked for size, and the token was sized like an actual coin, then the machine vends.

      This did not last long, though.

      1. foobird1

        Re: Why the hate ?

        When I was a young lad (1960's) in NYC there were ice cream machines in the subway where you could get a pop or sandwich for a dime. We went to chem lab and put some pennies in a beaker an boiled them down with nitric acid and feasted on cheap ice cream, Those were tokens!

    3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Why the hate ?

      In Italy, you used to have "gettone" which were tokens for public telephones.

      In school French lessons we were taught about the need to buy a "jeton" before boarding a Paris bus.

      1. bpfh

        Re: Why the hate ?

        This actually rings a bell... but the only evidence of a "token" for Paris transports Ive found was a commemorative token coin made by the French Mint for a Châtelet Les Halles station in 1977, and certainly not in the last 25 years where it's all been paper tickets and slowly moving contactless...

        i wonder if some of the editors of the textbooks ever even visited France !

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Why the hate ?

          Oh please. Next you’ll be trying to tell me that not all Frenchmen wear berets and striped sweaters, have a string of onions round their shoulders, smoke Gauloises and shrug non-stop whilst loudly discussing Proust and scoffing snails in garlic?

          1. bpfh
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Why the hate ?

            Nobody really eats snails for the snails. And since I've found the garlic butter stuffing they use, I just buy that and forget the gastropods.

  5. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Dumb and dumber

    Some people have way to much money to buy air out of nothing when many haven't the bare minimum.

    A 50% tax on NFT transaction could help transferring from those having too much to those having not enough to live.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Dumb and dumber

      In which jurisdiction to you apply the tax? Where the Buyer is? Where the seller is? Where the exchange is? Where the environmentally damaging processing of the blockchain (Blockchain woohoo!) transaction was done?

      It's a nice idea, but impossible to sort out in reality.

      Much easier to follow the chinese example, ban all banks and other credit institutes from interacting with the various digital funny moneys and see how quickly it dies when people can not actually spend or reclaim real money for this bollocks...

      1. Jonathon Green

        Re: Dumb and dumber

        “In which jurisdiction to you apply the tax? Where the Buyer is? Where the seller is? Where the exchange is? Where the environmentally damaging processing of the blockchain (Blockchain woohoo!) transaction was done?”

        All of them. Plus a few randomly selected locations which could use a bit of a handout, and a couple which don’t actually exist. If people are willing to pay money for something which doesn’t actually exist in any meaningful way then there’s no reason for them to worry about the money they’re paying for it goes… :-)

        1. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

          Re: Dumb and dumber

          Like in the olden days, when a travelling merchant had to pay taxes and tolls at every town, bridge, etc.

    2. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

      Re: Dumb and dumber

      Some people actually buy air: https://www.evairy.at

      As they say, every day a sucker get's out of his bed ...

      1. ElPedro100

        Re: Dumb and dumber

        I actually thought about a similar idea. Walk up into the Scottish Highlands with a case full of empty bottles, take the lids off, leave them for 5 minutes and then put the lids back on. With a nice label on them I'm sure they'd sell on certain well known auction sites as "Fresh Air from the Highlands". Then I thought why go to all that trouble? Just sell empty bottles with labels and a disclaimer saying that opening the bottle may compromise the quality of the product (so that no-one can smell that you didn't wash the fizzy drink residue out of the bottle before they bought it). I'm sure they would have sold.

        It seems some people have more money than sense and it would also appear that they don't have a lot of money, at least not now...

        1. Joe W Silver badge

          Re: Dumb and dumber

          Reminds me of the Perry-air (cannot be arsed to look up the spelling) in Spaceballs

        2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Dumb and dumber

          It's like homeopathic pills. OK, so the idea that water remembers is clearly ludicrous, but the pills are dried out, so there isn't even any water to remember anything. My strong suspicions is that the only thing that differs between homeopathic pills is the label.

  6. sebacoustic
    Happy

    Made my day.

    Thank you. I laughed out loud through the whole article, that's got to be healthy.

  7. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    NFT? Err ... no

    Just no ...

    10 engage brain

    20 goto 10

  8. The Dogs Meevonks
    Trollface

    Google search for images stolen

    Right click

    Save As

    FOUND THEM, how do I return them to their rightful owners and will there be a reward?

    Oh for a sarcasm icon

    1. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

      If you do that X many times, and there is a non-zero percentage of Y people who actually pay out a Z percentage of finders fee, you might actually make money for a large enough X.

      You should automate that process, though

  9. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    miscreants stole four Bored Apes, six Mutant Apes, and three Bored Ape Kennel Club NFTs, plus "assorted other NFTs estimated at a total value of ~$3m."

    The fact that this sentence exists just sums up how f***ed up the world has become

    1. Blank Reg Silver badge

      it seems that the average intelligence on this planet has plummeted in the last decade or so.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Go

        No it's still the same intelligence levels as previously, but the scum who previously might have gotten away with ripping off a couple of neighbours before being tarred and feathered, can now run all the scams they want online without fear of comeback, and the village idiots who previously could only shout at the moon, or have a whinge down at the pub (until they were kicked out of said pub for being a nuisance), can now shout there idiocy out on to social media and have it amplified by all of the other idiots (and the algorithms which focus on the idiocy because it draws views and ad clicks).

        So its not that intelligence has gone down, its that stupidity has gone up in volume...

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        People have always valued useless things and convinced others to do so as well. It's just that this time, the things have a technical-sounding system. Before, people still valued many things that either didn't exist or held little value. People have repeatedly valued stock in companies because they didn't check what the company was doing or whether it did anything, and while they keep switching which kind of companies they're doing it with, it's been happening since stock markets were a thing. It also has been done with lots of ordinary goods during that time and probably happened before there were stock markets. NFTs don't indicate a loss of intelligence. We've been here before and we will see it again after this wave breaks and leaves a lot of people with useless bits.

  10. TheProf Silver badge

    Tank Girl

    Just waiting for Jamie Hewlett to sue them for ripping of his artwork.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Tank Girl

      I've had conversations with Martin (the other one of TG) They get seriously pissed off with whack-a-mole of copyright Infringment on so many sites.

  11. marcellothearcane
    Paris Hilton

    3 million?

    I'm confused by the valuation - surely nobody would pay the $3m for this stolen property*, which is obvious by following the blockchain?

    Like how if someone stole a famous and recognisable artwork, they wouldn't be able to sell it on.

    Unless the theft here is just a dog-in-the-manger style denial of the original owners being able to sell them on; in which case, what's the motive?

    *For an extremely permissive definition of property

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: 3 million?

      "I'm confused by the valuation"

      You're meant to be. The valuation was given by a business that makes money dealing with these [no]things and has a vested interest in giving them high valuations.

    2. anonanonanonanonanon

      Re: 3 million?

      I think they flip them immediately? Before anyone knows it's stolen. But who knows, is it illegal to own fenced NFTs? I don't think this market cares much for the legitimacy of the products it sells.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: 3 million?

        It is illegal to steal them*, so whether owning them is illegal or not, the people who have them can be targeted by law enforcement, assuming that law enforcement has run out of important things they're planning to do first. I'm with the original poster: stealing art doesn't make much sense to me, but at least the thief can put it on the wall and look at it or sell it to someone who wants to do that and never tell anyone. You can already do that with the images in these NFTs legally and easily, so stealing is only useful for reselling on the open market, which isn't very easy.

        * There are two crimes with which the thieves can be charged. By attacking the users directly, they can be charged with computer intrusion. By taking something, which they have clearly done as the original "owners" can no longer transact with it, ordinary theft charges would also stick.

  12. trevorde Silver badge

    NFTs explained

    > imagine if you went up to the mona lisa and you were like "i'd like to own this" and someone nearby went "give me 65 million dollars and i'll burn down an unspecified amount of the amazon rainforest in order to give you this receipt of purchase" so you paid them and they went "here's your receipt, thank you for your purchase" and went to an unmarked supply closet in the back of the museum and posted a handmade label inside it behind the brooms that said "mona lisa currently owned by jacobgalapagos" so if anyone wants to know who owns it they'd have to find this specific closet in this specific hallway and look behind the correct brooms. and you went "can i take the mona lisa home now" and they went "oh god no are you stupid? you only bought the receipt that says you own it, you didn't actually buy the mona lisa itself, you can't take the real mona lisa you idiot. you CAN take this though." and gave you the replica print in a cardboard tube that's sold in the gift shop. also the person selling you the receipt of purchase has at no point in time ever owned the mona lisa.

    > unfortunately, if this doesnt really make sense or seem like any logical person would be happy about this exchange, then you've understood it perfectly

    https://imgur.com/NJirDQp

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Assorted NFTs - $3million.

    Learning by experience - priceless.

    1. Jedit Silver badge
      Angel

      Minor correction needed

      Assorted NFTs - $0.

      Money given to a scammer to claim "ownership" of said NFTs - $3m.

      Crypto bros' faces when the natural results of total deregulation and zero oversight make the scam obvious - priceless.

      There are lots of things that money can buy. For everything else, there's cryptocurrency.

  14. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Bored apes

    Is this satire?

    This explains a lot about humanity

  15. Robert Helpmann??
    Childcatcher

    All the cool kids are doing it

    When I read miscreants stole four Bored Apes, six Mutant Apes, and three Bored Ape Kennel Club NFTs, plus "assorted other NFTs estimated at a total value of ~$3m", all I could think of was this is like a CCG for adults who thought those were a good deal growing up. Before that, baseball cards and before that, tulips with maybe a few other bits of foolishness in between.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but

    I take it there was a crime here, but it's really hard to care. However, hopefully the criminals do more with the funds than trade rich people Pokémon cards.

  17. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    What will they do with them?

    What will they do with them? Overlooking the whole daftness of paying this kind of money for a little icon-sized image... They aren't like jewelry where if it's too hot to sell whole it can be broken down into gold and jewels. I's not like cash or equivalent where it's directly worth money; and it's not like fine artworks where you may find people who just want it in their private collection either to enjoy it's beauty or to know they have an antique item made by a famous artist. The image itself can be downloaded by anyone (without proof of ownership) so the "having it to look at" doesn't apply; and the whole "proof of ownership" property of NFTs means if someone buys it they then have an indelible record of having received stolen property, there is no transferring it privately like there is with a stolen painting or something.

  18. CommonBloke
    Coat

    Good luck

    Selling those things to some greater fool. Anyone paying for that haul deserves to be separated from their money.

  19. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Trollface

    Our resident BOFH and NFTs's

    I take the same stance on NFT's as our resident BOFH.

    https://www.theregister.com/2021/08/13/bofh_2021_episode_15/

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

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022