A couple of weeks ago, a hacker with a heart of gold sold a fake Banksy NFT for 100 ETH and then gave the money back. They advertised the auction through Banksy’s official site. If the NFT was fake, someone hacked that site. Which seemed unlikely. Also, there is the issue of the alias that the scammed NFT collector uses. Pranksy, a play on words referencing the elusive graffiti artist Banksy mixed with the word “prank.” Which is what this whole situation was, a prank.
Too many coincidences. Suspicious, we posed our theory:
“Was Pranksy targeted by Banksy and his team? If Banksy wanted to create worldwide headlines and comment on the NFT boom at the same time, a notorious art collector was the missing ingredient. Pransky’s prominence in the NFT community mixed with his name makes him an ideal target.”
It seemed to fit, but the case of the fake Banksy NFT never ceases to amaze.
Security Experts Warned Banksy About His Website’s Vulnerability
Luckily for us, the BBC is on the case. They interviewed Sam Curry, “a professional ethical hacker from the US and founder of security consultancy Palisade.” There seem to be too many “ethical hackers” in this story, but ok… Curry told them:
“I was in a security forum and multiple people were posting links to the site. I’d clicked one and immediately saw it was vulnerable, so I reached out to Banksy’s team via email as I wasn’t sure if anyone else had.
“They didn’t respond over email, so I tried a few other ways to contact them including their Instagram, but never received a response.”
These things happen. How many emails does Banksy’s team get? Did it pass their spam folder? Can we be sure they read it on time? The suspicious thing, though, is Mr. Curry’s description of the site’s vulnerability. It:
“allowed you to create arbitrary files on the website” and post your own pages and content.
So, the flaw permitted the hackers to do exactly what they needed to do to advertise the fake Banksy NFT auction and not much more, huh? Interesting.
Neither the artist’s official website nor the Pest Control website even acknowledge the fake Banksy NFT. Something doesn’t feel right here. The BBC felt our uneasiness and tried to put our concerns to rest. They consulted two Banksy experts and they both thought that the shoe didn’t fit. According to them, the elusive graffiti artist is not the mastermind behind the whole event. This is not a “Banksy stunt.” Professor Paul Gough, “principal and vice-chancellor of Arts University Bournemouth,” goes first:
“I don’t see it as a Banksy prank. The timing for me doesn’t work right, the context doesn’t feel appropriate. He’s just done his ‘Spraycation’ stunt where he bombed 10 sites in East Anglia, and put out a video on social media about it.
“That is a pretty major stunt and takes a lot of organising by a very professional crew, so I just don’t think the timings right here so soon after that.”
Here’s the Spraycation video, dated August 13th, 2021:
It does seem like a “major stunt.” Does that mean that the fake Banksy NFT operation is out of the question? Or did Banksy went to work immediately after finishing his spraycation? Did the elusive graffiti artist strike again in the digital realm?
Second at bat is John Brandler, a Banksy collector, who provides another reason why the situation is not an original Banksy:
“Banksy’s stunts are not malicious and they don’t hurt people.”
Good point, but let’s be honest, the incident didn’t really hurt Pranksy. The NFT collector got his ETH back, was the subject of worldwide headlines, and still got to keep the fake Banksy NFT. It may be worth something, someday.
Or is this the last we’re going to hear about the fake Banksy NFT?
Featured Image: Screenshot of the fake Banksy NFT | Charts by TradingView