Scams and frauds are, but sometimes the biggest losses are those people inflict upon themselves. On Wednesday, one NFT trader suffered a spectacular loss of 100 ether, or $150,000, because of a joke gone wrong.
"This will be the joke and bag fumble of the century," tweeted Franklin, a pseudonymous NFT trader known for owning over 50 Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. "I deserve all of the jokes and criticism."
To understand Franklin's self-inflicted wound, you need to know about Ethereum Name Service. Ethereum wallets are by default 40 characters long -- 0x and then 38 random letters and numbers -- but ENS allows users to buy a name for their wallet. Instead of an ugly string of characters, my wallet could be CNET.eth. Anyone can mint a new ENS, provided the name isn't already taken, and they're owned as NFTs that can then be traded.
It's to crypto what domain names are to the internet; crypto traders buy wallet names for their aliases but also buy ENS domains like amazon.eth or nike.eth in the hopes those wallet addresses, like the website domains, will be worth a lot one day. (Porno.eth sold for $200,000.) There are several "ENS bot" accounts on Twitter, which report notable sales of ENS domains, such as the $90,000 purchase of samsung.eth last week.
On Monday, Franklin tried to amuse himself by getting Twitter bots to report a ludicrous ENS offer. His plan was to crowdsource a silly ENS name from his followers, mint it and then, using another wallet, offer 100 ether ($150,000) on the ENS NFT on OpenSea. He hoped that offer would trigger the ENS bot. Franklin ended up minting "stop-doing-fake-bids-its-honestly-lame-my-guy.eth." The ploy worked; a few ENS sales bots tweeted out the fake bid.
After that, though, someone offered Franklin 1.891 ether ($2,890) for the ENS address. Franklin accepted the offer, calling it "the most surprising 1.891 ETH I have ever made." But he forgot to cancel the 100 ether bid he'd made from his second wallet, meaning the offer was still active. The buyer took advantage, purchasing the ENS address from Franklin for $2,890 -- and selling it back to Franklin's second wallet for $150,000.
"I was celebrating my joke of a domain sale, sharing the spoils, but in a dream of greed, forgot to cancel my own bid of 100 ETH to buy it back," Franklin tweeted. "I didn't get 'botted.' I had plenty of time to cancel my offer, I just ran to Twitter, instead."