One of the downsides of being involved in the NFT community is being targeted for theft by scammers. Because NFTs, especially those from prized collections, can be worth a lot of money, investors are constantly dealing with people trying to steal them.
This has happened to everyday people, top actors, business people, and everyone in between. Oftentimes, when an NFT is stolen, the chances of it being recovered are slim, with many victims simply cutting their losses and moving on.
But recently, a Solana community banded together to pull a fast one on a scammer who had stolen some NFTs.
The Great NFT Heist
This saga was revealed in a May 25, 2022, Twitter thread in which a user called @worldofsolana detailed the theft and recovery of the NFTs.
“We’re very excited to share a crazy World of Solana community story: We have successfully scammed the hacker of @UnchainedNFT_ ! Shoutout to our community, @CyberFrogsNFT and a sniper! #Solana #SolanaNFTs #NFTCommunity,” the thread started with.
It explained that a few days prior, the Discord page of Unchained NFT, a cross-chain game development platform, was hacked. During the hack, 109 users were hit, with over 150 NFTs and some Solana tokens stolen. Notably, one user had 25 World of Solana NFTs stolen at once.
Some members of the community then devised a plan to steal back the NFTs. This included the Cyberfrogs NFT team setting the royalties for the WOS NFTs to 98%. Days later, 25 of the stolen NFTs were listed for sale on magic Eden, an NFT marketplace.
Of the 25, 15 were bought back by the community and another 10 were sniped by a person working outside of the group. Finally, the group reached out to the sniper and explained the situation, offering them a refund of the amount they had paid for the NFTs.
The sniper accepted and the WOS NFTs were then returned to the original owner. This whole saga acts as a tale of a community coming together to pull a fast one on a criminal.
Royalties for NFTs are usually set at 5%, meaning if it is resold, the original creators/owners get 5% of the sale value. By setting it to 98%, the group ensured that the hacker would make next to nothing on the NFTs and also reduced their value in the resale market.
This is why the sniper (a person who buys NFTs at the very last minute) agreed to get a refund as the NFTs would not be worth much to them.
Tales from NFT Land
The account ended the Twitter thread by urging people to be safe when minting and storing their NFTs to avoid these sorts of situations. While this is a message that has been shared among NFT users for a long time now, this saga does show how the rules can be leveraged to get one over on hackers.
If this method is replicated by other groups of NFT owners, perhaps the industry as a whole could fight back.