Someone bought a fake Banksy NFT for £244,000 - but there was a happy ending 11 months ago

Someone bought a fake Banksy NFT for £244,000 - but there was a happy ending

A hacker sold a fake NFT on Banksy's very own website - and it fetched a huge £244,000.

However, there's good news: the buyer who got scammed into the purchase was later refunded the full amount after they found the hacker lurking on Twitter and made contact.

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"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," the anonymous buyer told the BBC.

He added: "I feel very lucky when a lot of others in a similar situation with less reach would not have had the same outcome."

The seller had hacked onto Banksy's official website and created an additional page for selling the supposed NFT, which was called Great Redistribution of the Climate Change Disaster.

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Of the huge amount bid, the buyer explained he'd "only made the bid because it was hosted on his [Banksy's] site."

After the buyer confirmed they received the refund, the buyer, who goes under the pseudonym Panksy on Twitter, tweeted that they wondered if the scammer had been an "ethical hacker proving a point."

In response, Banksy's team confirmed "the artist Banksy has not created any NFT artworks."

A link on the new page of Banksy's website led to NFT auction platform OpenSea, where buyers and sellers can trade digital NFT art they create themselves, or own the rights for.

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NFTs, or non fungible tokens, are pieces of artwork, made online, which come with a digital 'token' which supposedly proves their authenticity. NFT art can be created from the simplest of things, such as the original data behind a tweet. In fact, the first ever tweet sold when converted into an NFT for £2.9 million back in March, and consumer-friendly online websites help artists and wannabe artists convert images or data to NFTs very easily.

NFTs can also be complex, and established artists are getting in on the trend for creating seriously impressive ones - and there's huge money to be made. Digital artist Mike ‘Beeple’ Winkelmann sold a collage of 5,000 artworks from the art website Beeple, for $69.3 million this February, easily lifting the trophy for the highest recorded amount made for a single NFT.

But they don't always make huge money. Those four lads in jeans that birthed the sea shanty trend at the start of this year converted the original metadata behind that iconic image to try and sell it as an NFT, but it failed to sell after they listed it for 415 ETH, just over £900 in ‘real’ money. 

Back to Banksy though, and the artist himself hosted an elaborate prank back in 2018. He sold a piece of his own artwork entitled Girl With Balloon in Sotheby's auction house for £860,000, only for it to automatically shred itself after the buyer confirmed their final bid.

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After the prank, Banksy explained the shredding hadn't quite gone to plan as the entire artwork hadn't been shredded.

"In rehearsals, it worked every time," he wrote in the caption of a video on his YouTube channel.