Scam vs NFT – Can Code Still Be Law?

In theory, the cryptocurrency industry is based on the immutable principle of “code is law. But since no one lives in these utopian countries, it is the sad reality that imposes itself on the users. Because building a universe where the principle of operation is self-evident , is like a digital Care Bear delirium. The real world is indeed not ready for these kinds of scenarios to work well. A matter of education, some will say. An anarchist model that others say is impossible to maintain. But in the end there is only one real question, who owns the rights to a stolen NFT…

The cryptocurrency industry is based on: a freedom that has nothing to do with the absence of rules† And an empowerment of individuals that does not go well with the spread of scams and other problematic behavior of all kinds. Because this universe with libertarian aspirations requires an active and community participation of all its actors, to protect its foundations. And it is more likely that the impostors and other greedy profiteers will eventually kill the ghostat the same time fueling the repressive tendencies of regulators.

Because the inevitable downside of this long-awaited adoption and the planned dilution of the fundamentals of this digital economy. All this makes “code is law” the best ally of those who want to circumvent the rules in their favor, without worrying about destroying an entire ecosystem. Because an error in a protocol doesn’t justify everything, simply because it was accidentally encoded. And stealing an NFT after a phishing attack doesn’t make the thief its new rightful owner. Except…

Phishing – Actor Seth Green Loses 4 NFTs

Freedom only has value if everyone respects it. Otherwise it just becomes the playground of those who take advantage of the benefits it provides by repeatedly ignoring it. With this perverse effect of then claiming that the victims are stupid and/or responsible damage they suffer. Especially since there is no going back on the blockchain, with permanent losses no matter what. Or not…

A painful experience recently led by actor Seth Green, a victim of a phishing attack several weeks ago. With the loss of 4 NFTs from prestigious collections such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), their Mutated Version (MAYC) and a Doodle. That is an estimated damage of 182.5 ETH (about $365,000) if we are to believe the latest selling prices on the Opensea platform. Because since then, the NFT from the BAYC collection has been sold effectively – and very quickly.

And an unsolvable problem arises: Who owns the rights to this stolen NFT – and then obtained without knowing its status – by a certain Darkwing84? Because BAYC #8398 actually switched portfolios on May 8, at the trifle of 106.50 ETH (about $210,000). And that before Seth Green made the information about his flight official. However, this sale was made without his permission. And howeverhe had used this NFT’s image as part of his next TV show titled White Horse Tavern. And this is where it all gets complicated…

NFT – In Search of Lost Rights

Because in the first place the license attached to each Bored Ape Yacht Club clearly states that “When you purchase this NFT, you fully own the underlying Bored Ape, its Art. † Which for some means that even if it’s stolen, the ownership rights transfer after purchase as well. But is it that simple?

A legal opportunity, since, as Eric Goldman, a professor of intellectual property and technology law at the University of Santa Clara, reminds us, buyers are protected. And this even in the case of the acquisition of a stolen object, if they are not aware of it. Which would mean that Seth Green has lost all his rights to this NFT, due to the effective resale. And that if he uses the image, he could be prosecuted… and fined to his new owner.

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A scenario refuted by Jake Chervinsky, security manager for the Blockchain Association. Indeed, according to the latter, any court would rule in Seth Green’s favor. And that for the simple fact that in this case “the code is not the law”, as some would have you believe. Because it is the character of justice that predominates, with its human dimension and adaptable from case to case. Especially since Seth Green has clear and irrefutable proof of his actual ownership of this BAYC. And that even in the absence of information about the fraudulent nature of this sale, registration of the phishing operation remains immutable on the Ethereum blockchain† But could this make it possible to refute Seth Green’s absence of denunciation on May 8?

Seth Green – Legal proceedings initiated?

Whatever, Seth Green is threatening the new owner with legal action if he does not return this NFT as soon as possible. But if he was not aware, he is also a victim in this case. And there is no reason for him to be the only one to suffer the loss of this 106.5 ETH. Because nothing mentions the thief behind this phishing attack, the only real person responsible for this grotesque situation.


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Please note that it will still be necessary to identify this pseudonymous account. And once this is done, adjust the procedure started to the geographic area where this DarkWing84 is located† Bearing in mind that the latter has already transferred the famous BAYC #8398 to another wallet registered as “GBE_Vault. Good luck, Seth Groen!

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