Fake Banksy NFT sells for nearly $340K after hacker reportedly taps into artist's site

An online auction was linked to from Banksy's official website.

Oscar Gonzalez Former staff reporter
Oscar Gonzalez is a Texas native who covered video games, conspiracy theories, misinformation and cryptocurrency.
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Oscar Gonzalez
2 min read

Even fake Banksy pieces can bring in big money. 

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A hacker reportedly took advantage of a security flaw for the site of the artist Banksy and was able to set up a page to sell a fake non-fungible token, or NFT. The result was one person being out $336,000, which the hacker has apparently since returned -- minus a $5,000 transaction fee.

A hacker created a page on Banksy's site, "banksy.co.uk/NFT," that linked to an online auction for an NFT supposedly made by the artist, according to a report from the BBC on Tuesday. NFTs are tokens for digital assets such as a meme, a New York Times column or even a fart. Owning an NFT doesn't give an individual any rights to the asset or copyright. The trend of buying NFTs took off earlier in the year, especially for the art industry. 

The winning bidder, who goes by the name of Pranksy, told the BBC he was informed by someone on Discord about the NFT auction on Monday. He provided a winning bid of 100 Ethererum, which amounts to approximately $336,000, for what he thought was Banksy's first NFT. 

Later that day, the hacker who was responsible for the auction reportedly refunded the money minus the $5,000 transaction fee. 

Some have speculated that the fake NFT auction could be an elaborate setup by Banksy, an artist known for pulling off audacious stunts. Banky's team told the BBC "any Banksy NFT auctions are not affiliated with the artist in any shape or form." 

On Friday, the BBC said a cybersecurity expert had reached out to the artist's organization about security flaws with the website before the scam but never got a response.

Pest Control, the artist's representative and authentication body, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.