- BBC News World
It was a typing error that wiped out more than $ 250,000.
It happened in an instant in which the owner of a work of art that does not exist physically, but only in digital form, “ate” two digits.
The piece is called “Bored Ape # 3,547” (boring monkey # 3,547, in Spanish), which is part of the new genre of art NFT, the acronym in English for ‘non-fungible token’.
Its owner decided to put it up for sale, but offered it for US $ 3,000 instead of US $ 300,000, its approximate value.
The piece was instantly acquired by an automated account which, in turn, immediately put it up for sale for about $ 250,000.
Bored Ape # 3,547 is part of NFT’s “The Bored Ape Yacht Club” collection, which contains a limited production of 10,000 unique pieces of a monkey image with minor variations.
The seller, maxnaut, told online outlet CNet that he intended to put Bored Ape # 3,547 up for sale at 75 ethereum (ETH), the cryptocurrency used for many NFT operations.
But a “lapse of concentration” during one of the many trades he performs online on a daily basis led him to type “0.75 ETH” ($ 2,989).
“I instantly saw the error when my finger clicked the mouse, but it was instantly fired before I could click ‘cancel,’ and so $ 250,000 was gone,” he said.
The alleged buyer also paid a very high fee of 8 ETH (US $ 32,000) to ensure how quickly the Ethereum network processes a transaction and thus ensure that the sale went through instantly.
In traditional banking transactions, these errors are often easily reversed if the bank is promptly reported.
But in the unregulated trading market there is generally no way to reverse such a sale.
Bored Apes, released in April 2021, are generated programmatically. A computer script mixes and matches a variety of colors, designs, and accessories to make each one unique.
Initially they were selling for 0.08 ETH each (US $ 320 at today’s prices), but now they are selling for at least 50 ETH (US $ 200,000).
Many owners, whether they are NFT fans or celebrities, use their apes as their Twitter profile picture.
Beyond that, there are benefits to being a part of the “yacht club,” including invitations to community events and access to exclusive digital content.
But critics of the NFT market in general question what buyers get for their money when they buy non-physical art and whether the “certificate of ownership” stored on the blockchain, the very technology that underpins cryptocurrencies, is worth the huge sums that are they pay.
This technology is also energy-intensive, due to the way transactions are verified by high-powered computing, drawing criticism that the industry is bad for the environment.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.