back to article Landmark case recognizes Bored Ape NFT as an asset

For the first time, a court has issued an injunction to stop the sale and transfer of a non-fungible token (NFT) at the request of a previous owner. NFT digital art seen on smartphone. Bored Ape Yacht Club (or BAYC) is the collection of the most expensive NFTs NFT digital art seen on smartphone. Bored Ape Yacht Club (or BAYC …

  1. Craig 2

    Crazy times!

    A sizable percentage of the words in this article didn't even exist a couple of decades ago...

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Crazy times!

      And most of them are registered and cost money to use. The article has quite an extensive list of licenses for various letter combinations and letter organization. I heard a rumor that soon, El Reg will censor these registered letter combinations and organizations unless you pay up for a subscription.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Crazy times!

      "freeze a Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT sale on the blockchain against a Metaverse personality"

      A classic example of where I understand what these words mean individually (although "Metaverse" is a bit sketchy) but now that they've been assembled into a sentence I'm just left scratching my head

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Crazy times!

        Your turbo-encabulator inductive capacitors might be in flux and need calibrating so you do not burn out the spurving bearings.

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Crazy times!

        That's intentional, I think. They could have used normal words: "make a ruling to disallow use of a digital thing that it's possible to sell against someone who isn't here so we had to send the messages over the internet", but that doesn't sound as complicated. This lawyer wants this case to look revolutionary. Admitting that it's a very basic loan case and there was no expectation that the court would refuse to recognize this as an asset when they already deal with every other kind of asset wouldn't help with that.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Crazy times!

          "there was no expectation that the court would refuse to recognize this as an asset "

          Absolutely! After all, it had already been recognised as an asset by the party granting the loan and accepting it as collateral.

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Crazy times!

        A classic example of where I understand what these words mean individually (although "Metaverse" is a bit sketchy) but now that they've been assembled into a sentence I'm just left scratching my head

        I understand the phrase just fine, which I think is sadder. I may have no interest in participating in this madness, but I still seem to have dedicated far too many brain cells to understanding it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crazy times!

      I think its fraud.

      I see a lot of worthless crypto companies claim assets in the tens of billions of dollar, yet are suing to hide the nature of those "assets".

      These things are NFT *collections*. Fake transactions in one or more of those NFTs give you a fake valuation for others in the "collection".

      I think these crypto coins are buying NFTs in collections, with their fake currency, treating the fake valuations as the actual value. Thus they are able to simply inflate their "asset" value by doing another transaction on other items in the collection, using some other third party crypto currency.

      e.g. buy 1000 NFTs from CheekyMonkey NFT collection for $1000 each.

      Get an agent for them to buy a few CheekyMonkey NFTs for $1 million

      Now claim you have assets 1000x greater than you previously claimed based on the now inflated value of the NFTs in that collection.

      There will be more layers of obsfucation on it, but that is the core at work I think.

      Ask yourself, did anyone actually pay hundreds of thousands of *USD* for a link to a url in some blockchain list? Occams razor.

      The other trick that I've seen is Crypto #1 buying Crypto #2 as assets. Which buys Crypto #3 as asset which buys Crypto #1 as asset.

      Suckers buy into one or more of those Crypto, to inflate its value, which propagates around the circle. Crypto 'billionaires" cash out slightly less than the suckers buy in. Thus the vast majority of the suckers money can be extracted before the system collapses.

      The auditor can stamp Crypto#1's assets as assets because he never gets to see the full picture. To him, they are invested in "Crypto#2" and if Crypto #1 is an asset, then so is Crypto #2..... Have no doubt, that the auditor is in on the con, he is simply given plausible deniability.

      These are not crazy times, these are simply another new twist on an old fraud.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Crazy times!

        Re circular asset inflation: "The other trick that I've seen is Crypto #1 buying Crypto #2 as assets. Which buys Crypto #3 as asset which buys Crypto #1 as asset." - It doesn't work!!

        Think about it - every time you use one crypto to buy another, you're selling the original one, and if it's circular you are buying the same amount as you're selling so it has no effect on price (and actually, you would be down by the transaction fees). Or to look at it another way, someone else (your counterparty) is buying #1 with #2, then buying #2 with #3, then buying #3 with #1. You can't both be making money *solely* on the circular transaction. You could only make money if some or all of the currencies is gaining value independently of your transactions.

        I've no doubt there are pump-and-dumps going on all through the space, but they rely on additional inputs.

      2. John D'oh!

        Re: Crazy times!

        When the guy bought the first ever tweet NFT he paid in cryptocurrency. It was never worth $2 million nor did he pay that much, just swapped it for some imaginary money he and his mates invented. The con is that they then try to sell this shit to marks for real money.

  2. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Not sure which is sillier

    "The case is also unique as it allows for the service of court papers to be effected via social media such as Twitter ..."

    "a collection of pictures of apes in costumes with varying facial expressions .... Their price peaked at $434,000 ..."

    1. Jedit Silver badge
      Joke

      "apes in costumes with varying facial expressions .... Their price peaked at $434,000"

      I'm pretty sure that Elon Musk will have to pay more than that for Twitter.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not sure which is sillier

      apes in costumes with varying facial expressions .... Their price peaked at $434,000

      That sounds very much like a description of a minor league rugby team that I one knew.

    3. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Not sure which is sillier

      Doesn't matter if it is "silly" or not. Chefpierre accepted the NFT as collateral in a real-life monetary loan, therefore chefpierre [him]self treated the NFT as a direct equivalent of an asset worthy of being considered collateral. The court only decided based on this fact - the second party accepted the terms of how the NFT should be considered in [their] contract, and the court could only follow this lead.

      This isn't so much as "landmark case" as "contract law".

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Not sure which is sillier

        And given how NFTs are crashing in value, the longer his sale is delayed the less it is worth. That's probably why he acted to foreclose as quickly as possible instead of extending the loan knowing that eventually the "collateral" he was dumb enough to accept will be worthless when the NFT "collectibles" fad subsides.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Name a star

    It's like the "Name a Star" game.

    A company sets itself up as "Galatic Star Register" or whatever, then sells the naming rights to stars. "Be among famous celebrities, like Albert Einstein, and have a star named exclusively after you! Buy quick, the best stars are going fast! On our site, you can also auction your star's name. Get in early, buy a popular star, sell it later for big big profits! Meet Bob, Bob bought 'Totalynotmadeup' for only $200, and sold it for $1834000. 'Trevor Totalynotmadeup' it's new owner thinks it can only be worth more due to the laws of supply and demand".

    Of course its worthless shit, anyone can name a star, anyone can set up a registry for those names, nobody is obligated to use any of those names and nobody buys anything of value there. "Trevor Totalnotmadeup" is party to that to create a false perception of value there, he's there to trigger the "get rich quick" mentality. Albert Einstein can be gifted anything which he then 'owns'.

    Once "Galatic Star Register" con is busted, he'll move on to "Universal Star Register Tampa",... so much for scarsity.

    An NFT is nothing. You bought nothing, not the copyright, not an exclusive usage, its often just a salted encoding of a URL to a webserver with the image. Sucker, might as well have bought the name of a star on some blokes list of star names in an excel spreadsheet.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    BAYC

    Oh, those images I can find in an instant on Google Images ?

    And some people paid money for that ?

    The depth of human stupidity knows no bounds - especially when they're full of money.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: BAYC

      You can find, and purchase, copies of Van Gogh's Sunflowers on Google, but someone still paid nearly $40 million for the original, which frankly makes no more sense to me than people buying NFTs.

      1. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: BAYC

        A fool and his money....

        1. Locutus_of_Borg

          Re: BAYC

          I keep my BAYC on Amazon. It’s a Prime ape.

      2. seven of five

        Re: BAYC

        van Gogh's Sunflowers can not be remade, once you have the physical sample in you possession, it is yours only.

        Unlike the apes, anyone can generate a billion unique links to a file on a server.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BAYC

          > van Gogh's Sunflowers can not be remade, once you have the physical sample in you possession, it is yours only.

          Same as the BAYC NFTs. Cryptography ensures you can't make duplicates of the NFTs, and each NFT is associated with a single owner (wallet) in the shared ledger (blockchain).

          Note: The JPEG is not an NFT. The NFT is just the record that is registered in the ledger, which happens to also contain a URL.

          1. DS999 Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: BAYC

            The NFT is just the record that is registered in the ledger, which happens to also contain a URL

            Good thing URLs live forever then!

            I wonder how much it would cost to buy the domain where all those bored ape URLs point, and replace them all with goatse?

          2. Alumoi Silver badge

            Re: BAYC

            The NFT is just a URL registered in the ledgder which happens to prove a fool parted with a lot of real cash to gain bragging rights to a freaking string of 0s and 1s.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: BAYC

          But you can, in fact, make copies of the painting. I can go buy a copy if I want. I'm sure that there's a sufficiently good reproduction if I just like how it looks and want to put it on the wall.

          The only thing the original painting gives you is the knowledge that this was actually touched by the painter, unless someone's swapped it. This is the same with the NFT; you know that this URL (or data, sometimes it's not a URL) was signed by the creator's public key, so if you do the basic effort of checking that it was the artist's and not someone else's, you can have the knowledge of that unique ownership. I don't consider that worth anything, but I don't see the original painting in a sea of copies as any different.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: BAYC

            You are Walter Benjamin, and I claim my £5.

            In all (well, some) seriousness, Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" does a good job of analyzing the psychological attachment to "original" works and how reproduction interacts with it, even if he indulges in his penchant for somewhat obscurantist language.

            If you read his use of "aura" as referring to some real, measurable property of the object, it seems like rubbish; but understand it as an attitude people tend to have toward what they believe is an original, and it seems quite apt – more so now, even, than when it was written. It's also important to read the whole piece because there's a critical tone shift near the end that reveals his actual political thrust, in something of a twist ending. (I've heard plenty of people cite the essay in support of claims not justified by the text.)

            Matt Scala's "What color are your bits?" blog post is another great rumination on how these sorts of parasitic attributes can be attached to digital artifacts by (what people believe to be) their provenance, regardless of their actual content. You might have to grub about in the Internet Archive to find that one, though.

        3. jmch Silver badge

          Re: BAYC

          "van Gogh's Sunflowers can not be remade...."

          That's only true to a very high degree of precision. I'm sure a highly skilled forger can make a copy that's almost identical, enough to fool pretty much anyone who is not an art or antiques expert (so that's probably 99.999% of the world population)

          Any billionaire buying a work of art most probably can't tell the difference either, they are relying on a trusted 3rd party expert to tell them it's real. That trust can, of course, be misplaced. And what the billionaire is paying millions for isn't so much for the painting itself (which can be reproduced almost undetectably), he's paying for the painting combined with a certificate issued by an expert that certifies that it's the original.

          In this respect the NFT image isn't THAT different from a painting. It's much easier to reproduce of course, and can be reproduced 100% faithfully and undetectably, but what's really being paid for isn't the image, it's the certificate of authenticity that's implicit in the blockchain (which, as has been pointed out many times before, can be easily recreated on a different blockchain so it's not necessarily unique either).

          So yeah, I think anyone paying thousands of $$$ for an NFT is nuts. But then again, I think anyone paying millions for a painting is nuts. That doesn't mean that NFTs are necessarily going to crash and burn, though. The art world seems to have kept itself going because there are enough people who believe in the value of paintings. There's no reason there won't be enough believers in the value of NFTs to keep that bandwagon rolling.

    2. Locutus_of_Borg

      Re: BAYC

      Complete monkey business

  5. Plest Silver badge
    Pint

    Still don't get NFTs?

    If you still don't quite get NFTs then watch YouTuber Joshua Strife Hayes video "What the hell are NFTs?".

    LINK == > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwMjPWOailQ

    He starts off with the premise that "What's the best way to make money with no effort? Find a way to sell people nothing for large sums of money but make them think they have something of value.". About half way through Joshua poses the question, "So after all you've learned so far about NFTS, why do people still keep buying them? The main reason is that people are idiots!".

    It's probably the best explanation of why NFTs are absolutely fricking, 100%, A-grade horsecrap and I encourage people to watch and share it with anyone, it's non-techie and completely safe for work.

  6. Howard Sway Silver badge

    the first in the world to freeze a BAYC NFT sale on the blockchain against a Metaverse personality

    Yeah, well just this minute I was one of the first in the world to twirl a coin on my finger whilst balancing a sock on my head and humming the theme tune to Terry & June, but I don't make a big deal out of it, because doing something unique is not actually all that fucking difficult.

    The NFT crowd are so hyped up about the supposed value of the rarity of their unique items, they're totally ignorant of how trivially easy it is to create unique stuff.

  7. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I think NFT would be of value if it was a record of a digital license or copyright that was being transfered to the buyer so they could do whatever they wanted with the image afterwards. As if you gonna spend thousands on an image id want to be printing T-Shirt, hats, mugs with it on and selling them to get some sort of money back from my purchase.

    But then again im not the sort of person who would spend thousands on a traditional painting just to hang on my wall either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That would be legally tricky as it isn’t clear what is being purchased with NFTs, without that boring 4000 page License you click through….

      Well, worst case, you’ve bought the right to appear in a list on a website.

  8. Blackjack Silver badge

    Again, a NFT is not the image, is an "exclusive" URL.

  9. FF22

    Monopoly money

    What's next? An injunction to stop sale of monopoly game money, recognizing the latter as an asset?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Monopoly money

      This is an asset. It is something that you can buy and sell and there exist people willing to pay for it (for some reason). It was obviously one and there was very little chance the court would disagree. Courts have dealt with lots of nonmonetary assets before, from property rights to patents or contracts. They would have little issue figuring out this one.

      As for monopoly money, if you can find some that people are willing to think is tremendously valuable to the extent that they'll give you real money for it, then congratulations, you now have an asset. Even if they're willing to give you a tiny bit of money for yours because their set is missing some cash and they don't want to buy a new set, you've got an asset. Assets are common.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Monopoly money

        Of course Monopoly money is an asset.

        If you take a quick look on various online tat bazaars, you'll find Monopoly money for sale.

        Seems to be about £10-£15 for a full set, so there might even be a business model in buying up classic board games to resell the Monopoly money...

      2. Blackjack Silver badge

        Re: Monopoly money

        The problem is wording, because when you buy a NFT you don't get a picture, you get a exclusive url that may or not link to that picture. How do you prove that has any value? A lawyer can argue that technically speaking no pictures were stolen.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Monopoly money

          It's easy to prove that something was stolen (or in this case, sold without permission which is similar but not identical). At one point, you used to have the ability to sell this signed URL, and other people didn't. Now, you don't have that ability, and someone else does. You have clearly lost something. How much that something was worth is a different thing, but we don't have to figure that out yet. We were just asking whether it was an asset, not how valuable an asset it was.

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