On the morning of January 23, 2022, I saw a tweet about purchasing a Bored Ape NFT for 135 ETH that I assumed was completely fake. It turned out to be fake. But the transaction was absolutely real. How do I know? The Ethereum blockchain is a public ledger. Transactions are viewable by anyone (including you and me), so let’s do a little exploring and see who spent $337,500 (1 ETH = $2,500 at the time) to get their Bored Ape.
So here’s the tweet that got my attention. I know who Rob Kapito is, but this Twitter account looked a bit strange. (By the time I was ready to publish this article the Twitter account had already been suspended.) It had 3,800ish followers, but the tweet had over 6.3K likes, over 1.1K comments, and over 1.4K retweets. Tweets go viral, so that’s wasn’t super suspect, but this account had only ever posted a handful of retweets, and this was only its second tweet. It screamed “fake.” And it was. But the story doesn’t end here. Not at all.
Let’s Find the Bored Ape
First stop, OpenSea. That’s where the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) marketplace lives. I’ll save you a little time: here’s the link to the BAYC collection page.
Have a look at the image of the Bored Ape NFT in the tweet. It should take you about a minute to find this NFT on OpenSea. (Hint: In the left-hand margin you’ll find a set of search criteria you can choose to narrow your search of the 10,000 possible Bored Ape NFTs. The background is Army Green, the fur is cheetah, the eyes are 3D, etc.) Your completed search will take you to this page which proudly displays a certified Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT #6526 and it sold a day ago (a time frame that lines up with the tweet) for 135 ETH.
So who is this NFT collector and what’s in their wallet? You can see a link on the page “Owned by 95BF5A.” Go ahead and click it.
Now we are looking at the NFTs owned by the Unnamed wallet that owns Bored Ape #6526 and it’s still available for 135 ETH. But who owns this wallet? And what else is in it?
Our next stop is etherscan.io, the block explorer and analytics platform for the Ethereum blockchain. You can copy and paste the wallet address above into Etherscan to see all of this wallet’s activity, or just click here.
At this writing, there’s only about 13 ETH ($33,000) left in the wallet, but the 135 ETH transaction on OpenSea is clearly logged.
What Does Any of This Mean?
Clearly this was not the real Rob Kapito. That’s not the important part. The point of this exercise was to walk you through a five-minute, step-by-step process to debunk the myth of anonymous cryptocurrency or NFT transactions. I also want you to think about how easy it was to make it look like Rob Kapito did this transaction. You can use your imagination about what kind of issues that might cause someone in the current “cancel culture” climate.
What an incredible scam. The owner of this wallet (who had 135 ETH to spend, BTW) stole Rob Kapito’s identity (for a few days), to make a bold endorsement of BAYC. Where did this wallet get 135 ETH? What is the point of trying to bolster the value of a BAYC? It’s already a hugely valuable NFT collection.
Have a look at the other NFTs in the wallet. Someone airdropped or gifted over 60 UniverseOfWomen NFTs to it within 12 hours of the 135 ETH purchase. Two days earlier, the wallet purchased inBetweeners #8326 for .5222 ETH (about $1,300). Perhaps the goal of the scammer was to bolster the value of UniverseOfWomen NFTs. It’s hard to say.
If you feel like you’ve invaded Rob Kapito’s privacy, you haven’t. This Twitter account was a fake and, to my knowledge, Rob Kapito had nothing to do with this. The strength and the weakness of public blockchain transactions is that they are public. If I were slightly more motivated and wanted more information about this wallet’s activity, a company like Chainalysis would be my next stop.
This Is Not the Future, It’s Now
We are used to public records. Deeds to houses, car registrations, driver’s licenses, titles to land, etc. We are less used to public records of our daily transactions. Yet, here we are. Forewarned is forearmed.
Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it. I am not a financial advisor. Nothing contained herein should be considered financial advice. If you are considering any type of investment you should conduct your own research and, if necessary, seek the advice of a licensed financial advisor.