An art gallery operator and non-fungible token (NFT) collector by the name of Todd Kramer, based out of New York has declared that his collection of sixteen Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs worth $2.28 million (roughly Rs. 16.94 crore) was “hacked,” and then went on to state that NFT marketplace OpenSea had “frozen” the assets for him. The assets allegedly stolen include one Clonex, seven Mutant Ape Yacht Club and eight Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs currently valued at around 615 Ether.

Kramer, who runs the Ross [plus] Kramer art gallery in New York, tweeted that he had clicked on a link that appeared to be a genuine NFT dapp (decentralised application). But it turned out to be a phishing attack leading to 16 of his NFTs being stolen. “I been hacked,” he wrote. “All my apes gone.”

NFTs are cryptographically unique digital collectibles that prove ownership of physical or digital content such as artwork, GIF, or a music file. Bored Ape Yacht Club is one of the most popular PFP (profile picture) collections, a series of cartoon ape images with randomly-generated attributes. They’ve proven popular among celebrities and influencers, with the likes of Snoop Dogg and Jimmy Fallon among those who own Bored Ape NFTs. So far nearly $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,433 crore) has been spent on trading Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs.

As Kramer took to Twitter to share his ordeal, fellow NFT traders were downright unsympathetic including multiple people suggesting Kramer must change his Twitter profile picture if he no longer owns rights to the NFT. But as he followed up with a tweet to mention that OpenSea — the biggest NFT marketplace in existence, had frozen the stolen Apes, is when people began arguing that appealing to a third party to freeze NFTs flew in the face of crypto’s claims to be decentralised.

OpenSea, meanwhile, has refused to make a comment or even tweet on the matter thus far.

As NFTs have shot up in value over the course of 2021, they’ve become a tempting target for hackers and phishing attacks. In March, thousands of dollars worth of NFTs were reported stolen from the Nifty Gateway marketplace by cybercriminals, while in August, pseudonymous developer Stazie lost 16 CryptoPunks NFTs to a phishing attack involving a malicious pop-up that requested their MetaMask wallet seed phrase.

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