Everything We Know About The Fake Banksy NFT That Sold For 100 ETH
Everything about the fake Banksy NFT story fits together like puzzle pieces. And it’s mysterious. And no one gets hurt. A feel-good story with a twist, if you will. First of all, the person who bought the fake Banksy NFT is known as Pranksy. That’s right, Pranksy. What are the odds? And it just gets weirder from there.
You see, Pranksy is a notorious NFT collector. Twitter gave him a blue checkmark. His prominence in the NFT community is what elevates this story. Was this person targeted? Pranksy bought the piece “Great Redistribution of the Climate Change Disaster” knowing full well that there was risk involved. Even though Banksy’s official site hosted a page linking to the auction.
“The forged piece of digital art popped up on Banksy’s official site on Tuesday morning under the now-deleted URL “banksy.co.uk/nft.html.” The only thing on the page was a JPEG of what was presumably Banksy’s take on the $1 billion dollar CryptoPunk hype train, featuring the artist’s usual kind of social commentary, this time about the awful carbon footprint that NFT artwork leaves behind.”
To be fair, Banksy’s “usual kind of social commentary” is usually much more poignant than what this piece offers. The fake Banksy NFT, “Great Redistribution of the Climate Change Disaster,” is basically a CryptoPunks rip-off barking at the wrong cause. The NFT collector knew something felt off from the very beginning; “Is this… real?” was Pranksy’s first reaction.
“Suggestions that gaakmann could be Banksy because the artist used the pseudonym “Bryan S. Gaakman” when he entered a work into the RA summer exhibition in 2018 seemed far-fetched.”
Since that’s a known Banksy pseudonym and the link came from the official site, Pranksy proceeded. The NFT collector bid 100 ETH, orders of magnitude more than the highest bid at the time. The offer was immediately accepted. That’s when Pranksy knew something was wrong. “The link was removed from his website so it could have been a very elaborate hoax, my guess is that is what it will be, only time will tell!”
Then, someone at the BBC contacted Pranksy and informed him that the fake Banksy NFT was indeed fake. “Hopefully I can get in touch with the team who represents him, if not it was fun entertainment for us all today,” Pranksy said via Twitter. Banksy’s Pest Control authentication team told the BBC, “any Banksy NFT auctions are not affiliated with the artist in any shape or form.”
ETH price chart for 09/01/2021 on Bitfinex | Source: ETH/USD on TradingView.com
“Then, in perhaps an equally strange turn of events, the scammer returned 97.69 ETH to Pranksy a little more than eight hours later. “No idea why [he returned the funds],” Pranksy told Decrypt. “I think I tracked him down, and he was made aware.”
Pranksy gave the BBC a more detailed description of what “tracked him down” means
“The refund was totally unexpected, I think the press coverage of the hack plus the fact that I had found the hacker and followed him on Twitter may have pushed him into a refund.
“I feel very lucky when a lot of others in a similar situation with less reach would not have had the same outcome,” he said.”
This is where the tables turned and Pranksy turned into the main suspect. The Art Newspaper accuses:
“The question, then, is who has masterminded the sale. Pranksy’s cover photo on Twitter is of a pixelated red and white aeroplane, not dissimilar in aesthetic to the crudely rendered NFT. When asked if he was in on the hoax, Pranksy denied any involvement. “No prank at all,” he told The Art Newspaper. So was he scammed? “I think so, but I wasn’t forced to bid. It’s the risk I took. No refunds on the blockchain!”
Pranksy is a pro. He was aware of the risks from day one.
Just to add a comment, to those who feel this may have been some sort of stunt. I would never risk a future relationship with Banksy or any fine artist by hiring someone to hack their website and then buying an #NFT from myself, what an unusual day!
A mysterious stranger Direct Messaged Pranksy to let him know about that one-in-a-lifetime auction. In the Decrypt story, they have screenshots of the DMs. Was Pranksy targeted by Banksy and his team? If Banksy wanted to create worldwide headlines and comment on the NFT boom at the same time, a notorious art collector was the missing ingredient. Pransky’s prominence in the NFT community mixed with his name makes him an ideal target.