Calvin Becerra, the owner of three iconic Bored Ape non-fungible tokens (NFT), lost all three tokens on social networking platform Discord in what many believe was a foolish way to give up $1 million worth of digital artwork.
“The people posing as buyers in Discord are helping me with a problem that we think happened,” Becerra said of his encounter on Oct. 31.” He complained, “They showed me the language settings in my MetaMask, told me to choose an option, and then took everything.
He said the three apes were part of the Bored Ape Yacht Club series, worth a total of nearly $1 million. Becerra bought one of the apes only two weeks ago for 65 ETH, or about $300,000 at the current market price. In total, he spent 185 ETH or $854,000 on the three items, according to his transaction history on OpenSea.
To lose the Bored Ape NFTs, the motivational speaker doesn’t appear to have sent his seed phrases or anything like that to the scammers. He simply allowed the transfer to happen, giving the online criminal full control of the artwork through a simple chat on Discord.
Some critics argue that what happened to him doesn’t qualify as hacking at all. They say that Becerra was fooled.
Social media platforms aren’t always a den of snakes, but are often filled with scammers hoping to make easy money, even by posing as legitimate administrators of official company channels. Becerra fell for this old pawn, and cryptocurrency Twitter was unkindly critical of his perceived naivety.
The bored ape of all people pleaded: please, let’s make a deal
Becerra became more comical in his desperate attempt to retrieve his expensive monkey. He wrote an NFT note to the thief, pleading.” Please let us make a deal. It’s better than nothing.” The entrepreneur hoped that the threat of the apes being blacklisted for stolen art would change his mind.
The thieves ignored his pleas and responded by listing the note for sale. Eventually, Becerra enlisted the help of the NFT community.
If you can help me get your bids on these stolen apes removed and boycott the sale, it may cause them to have to drop the price so I can at least get my PFP (file photo) apes back at a cheaper price. I don’t know what else to do here.
This collector even called the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to report the theft.
“Officer, they stole my apes!” One Twitter user taunted.” If you gave someone your bank username and password and they stole the funds, do you think the FBI would come to your aid?”
Another chimed in.” Hello, police. Someone hacked into my internet and stole my monkeys. No, not the monkeys themselves – they’re worthless – but the certificates of ownership that prove they’re mine. They’re very valuable. Those certificates.”
It did end up getting some help. Unforgivable token marketplaces OpenSea, Rarible and NFT Trader banned the sale of stolen apes on their platforms. on November 3, Basella got one of his apes back and thanked “his captors for negotiating for his safe return.”
The theft has exposed serious security gaps within the NFT industry – and not everyone is excited about the intervention in the NFT market.
“As such, these platforms have proven they are capable and willing to disable tokens and make them inaccessible,” @Asmodean_ inquired.
“Isn’t NFT supposed to be the solution to the potential meddling problem? If platforms can interfere with access to the blockchain, what difference do they make?”
Becerra has the last word for fans and collectors of tokenized digital art.” Beware of Discord account names that match the moderator’s name and the exact Discord ID number,” he cautions.” Don’t answer DMs (direct messages) or click on any links. They took over a million dollars of apes and NFTS from me.”