Tovera Acquires SnifflesNFT As It Sues NFT Fraud

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Tovera is one of the companies that detects fraud in transactions involving non-replaceable tokens (NFTs), and is now partnering with fellow anti-fraud firm SnifflesNFT.

Chicago-based Tovera has acquired SnifflesNFT for an undisclosed price. The idea is to screen NFTs in marketplaces like OpenSea for fake NFTs that could scam users out of their money.

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Sniffles has developed technology that detects unauthorized minted NFTs, automates takedown requests on NFT marketplaces, and alerts collectors who have unauthorized digital content.

Tovera has also developed its own NFT image recognition technology for markets and consumers. At the moment, Tovera believes it is the only company to offer a free version of the technology on FNFTF.io. An enterprise version, Tovera Match, is also available for marketplaces.

“We’ve spent the past year addressing fraud and trust issues in the Web3 ecosystem with an initial focus on NFTs,” said Tovera founder and CEO Kristian Kielhofner in an interview with GamesBeat.

As a fraud and plagiarism scandal surrounding OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, continues to unfold, copyminting scams pose a massive threat to the entire NFT ecosystem. Without the proper tools to educate consumers, bots steal digital art and coins on NFT marketplaces without the consent of artists. The Sniffles team joins Tovera to develop image detection capabilities to identify even the smallest changes to NFTs and enable the web3 community to be part of the solution. OpenSea said it is trying to do something about fraud, its new copy protection system and its attempts to hide suspicious NFTs.

Tovera’s efforts

The SnifflesNFT team will join Tovera and work to develop the company’s image recognition technology, which is at the core of Tovera Match and FNFTF.io. FNFTF.io is free and available to anyone who wants to validate the authenticity of an NFT. Together, the companies will help fight NFT marketplaces tampering, NFT creators protect their intellectual property, and prevent NFT consumer scams.

“We launched SnifflesNFT to help artists protect their work,” said Mert Hilmi Iseri, founder of SnifflesNFT, in a statement. “Fraud erodes trust in ecosystems and without trust there is no web3 ecosystem. Marketplaces like OpenSea know they have a huge problem, but they just do the bare minimum to help artists.

He added: “Their latest announcement is just lip service and it doesn’t get to the root of the problem, which is much broader than just blockchain. We are here to set the standard for what it means to be a trusted marketplace for the entire NFT economy.

Fight against fraud

Tovera’s Kristian Kielhofner is on the left. Mert Hilmi Iseri of SnifflesNFT is right.

As the OpenSea debacle continues to unfold, copyminting scams pose a huge threat to the entire NFT ecosystem. Without the proper tools to educate consumers, bots steal digital art and coins on NFT marketplaces without the consent of artists. The Sniffles team joins Tovera to increase image detection capabilities to identify even the smallest changes to NFTs and enable the Web3 community to be part of the solution.

“Tovera is on a mission to instill trust in Web3 while ensuring the authenticity and provenance of NFTs,” said Kielhofner. “By acquiring SnifflesNFT, we will accelerate our mission by expanding our team and integrating advanced image recognition technology. We look forward to building trust with our upcoming partnerships with NFT Marketplaces. †

For creators and collectors, Tovera Match technology can be used for free on FNFTF.io. For marketplaces, Tovera Match is also available via API to enable authentication on NFT platforms. FNFTF.io allows users to upload any NFT and see results based on image, contract, date and blockchain agreement. Additional details including file type, block number and token ID are also available and more details will be available soon.

Tovera started with a proactive processing, authentication and origin approach of multi-chain support and market support.

“We quickly realized that there is a tremendous amount of fraudulent activity and resulting trust issues in the hundreds of millions of NFT assets already out there,” Kielhofner said. “That’s why we developed our reactive approach, Tovera Match, to combat much of the fraud happening in space today.”

Indexing NFTs by Millions

nft fraud
Tovera can find copies of supposedly unique NFTs that have been uploaded multiple times on NFT marketplaces.

The company can index any NFT and NFT trade on Ethereum and Polygon blockchains, he said.

“And we make every aspect of NFT, including content, searchable so that a creator or market or end user, consumer or collector can gain a full historical perspective on each NFT they examine to determine whether it is the authentic original NFT or whether it is is a copy,” he added.

Details are available on the blockchain in terms of historical timestamps for NFT transactions. And usually the original, genuine NFT is the one with the oldest timestamp.

The company gets its hands on the content and associated metadata.
“NFTs are basically stored off-chain,” Kielhofner said. “They can be stored in different places. So the secondary crawling and retrieval of the content is a bit of a technical challenge that we took on. And then we take that content and index it so that we can quickly and reliably search that content for visually identical and visually similar images.

Users can search for NFTs on FNFTF.io, and if the result is negative with only one item, they can be more confident that it is an original.

“As a rule, we find half a dozen specimens,” Kielhofner said. “The art that appears oldest on the timeline is almost certainly the original NFT.

One of the problems is “lazy typing”, where an NFT is put up for sale, but it is not put on the blockchain until it is sold. This is a way to avoid unnecessary “minting” fees, the costs associated with recording a transaction or record on the blockchain. But quite often these NFTs are plagiarized and OpenSea has warned about possible fraud.

“We are dealing with different kinds of problems for creators. And then for the end users on the other side of that transaction, consumers and collectors, we empower them to do meaningful research,” Kielhofner said.

The way to stop some of the fraud is to pre-screen posts to the market and find exact copies of something that already exists or has already been released to the market. And then this message may not appear a second or third time or more.

“There is certainly a growing awareness of these fraud and trust issues that we believe threaten the entire ecosystem,” Kielhofner said. “And so there are some forward-looking perspectives [companies] really invested in the long-term health and value of the ecosystem.

Tovera is self-funded so far and employs 10 people. The effort started about a year ago and the screening has been going on for a few months now. Tovera currently has approximately 75 million indexed NFTs.

Kielhofner said he met a like-minded anti-fraud thinker when he met Iseri a few months ago. SnifflesNFT was one of the few other publicly available projects addressing fraud and counterfeiting issues in NFTs. Within a week, they were talking about how to join forces.

“It was pretty awesome because Kristian and I had so many shared experiences,” Iseri said in an interview with GamesBeat. “We both have sisters who are digital artists and they are passionate about their craft. It really is the little people who suffer the most.

Iseri added: “It’s no different to take someone’s original artwork. In fact, we care about and want to help artists. It was really a meeting of the minds and we came together.

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