While the Crypto Twitter community debates the fair value of Cryptopunks and other NFTs soaring to sky-high ratings, there’s at least one clear sign that the digital collectibles market is growing irrationally: a person posing as Banksy who perhaps most famous living artist, miscalculated over $ 1 million in Ether (ETH) sales in NFT.
As of Sunday February 14th, frequent browsers at the NFT marketplaces Opensea and Rarible noticed an account named “Pest Supply” with branding and non-fungible tokens made in Banksy’s signature graffiti stencil style. Many jumped in quickly, given the “real” Banksy’s habit of pop-up installs:
I either just blown $ 750 or got the deal of my life on a Banksy … we’ll see. Https://t.co/YSMULcspgY? #rarible #ethereum #nonfungible #digitalasset #nft via @rariblecom
– OnTheBrink (@ Brinkster0x) February 19, 2021
The wallet profiler Nansen shows that the given address of the person became active for the first time on February 13th and was most active yesterday, February 19th. Before Opensea cleared a large part of the account history and deactivated further sales, the records on the account showed hundreds of sales to buyers from 0.116 ETH to over 60 ETH for a piece entitled “NFT Idiots”. The well-known whale wallet 0xb1 has also made some purchases, including a transaction worth 34 ETH or $ 68,000.
In an email from Cointelegraph, Banksys “legal guardian” Pest Control has denied any connection with the NFTs. Likewise, the person has stated that she sells fakes and compared herself to the artist Elaine Sturtevant, who was known for inaccurate replicas of more popular artists on her Rarible biography.
A total of 512 ETH per Nansen was recorded in the account, with almost 430 ETH sent to a secondary address. The individual’s rarible page features a series of screenshots and Etherscan transactions allegedly showing 23.5 ETH in donations to Save The Children, a humanitarian organization – less than 5% of the individual’s total transportation.
However, deceived collectors now ask themselves: Have we been deceived? Could it be a double bluff and a real Banksy installation? Do the NFTs have any value either way?
Real or fake? Who cares?
Max Osiris, a well-known crypto artist, gave the community a hint that Banksy’s “legal guardian” Pest Control had denied any connection with the NFTs in an email:
Re: Banksy @rariblecom thing
“In no case shape or form” pic.twitter.com/IKTjnqHFpw
– MÅxXx Ø $ iR! S :: // :: httpxx :: // :: (@maxosirisart) February 19, 2021
The email exchange Osiris forwarded to Cointelegraph shows Osiris asking if the NFTs are Banksy works listed as “legit undercover,” and Pest Control responded by saying: “There is no affiliation in any way, shape, or form.” Cointelegraph contacted Pest Control and received no response.
However, this alone does not prove that the NFTs are fake Banksy work, as Pest Control is known to deny association with running installations. Instead, the person’s rarible page is now the clearest indication that they are not linked to Banksy.
“Banned from decentralized OpenSea as they have no idea who Elaine Sturtevant is and they don’t know anything about art history. This is art history ”, it says in the biography of the individual.
Sturtevant is known for recreating the works of more famous artists from memory, a method that some believe raises philosophical questions about the nature of authenticity and originality.
The art blog NFT Art Review supports the view that the fake Banksy works in this mode and writes that the person has “performed phenomenal appropriation art that cuts perception from the circle of collectors and how value can be created from satire”.
The person may have updated their Rarible bio on Friday night in direct response to the blog posted on Friday morning.
Osiris believes that it is ultimately up to the collector to make these value judgments, and it is up to them to protect themselves from counterfeiting – whatever that means.
“Yes, I think art has value, even if it’s fake, because it’s up to the collector to find out what they’re getting. In some ways, this is a pretty successful art project, especially when the money goes where it is supposed to be used, ”he said, referring to the individual’s charitable efforts.
Two of the Banksy-style works currently listed cost over 100 ETH, or $ 200,000 each. The individual claims to have donated around $ 47,000 to charity.
Signs of foam
Well known NFT collector whale Pranksy was perhaps the clearest sign of an overheated market with his own NFT barrel, a real hat on guard called “Pest Demand”.
While he says he went on the run to “mock” the fake Banksy, he made 12 ETH or $ 24,000 in revenue instead.
“People bought it because they’re all euphoric,” said Pranksy.
Artist “Twerky Pepe” highlighted the absurdity of the situation with a tweet promoting his Pranksy purchase as either a good investment or a fun, ironic purchase (the Cointelegraph weekend editors couldn’t guess which):
I’m the owner of a fake Banksy, but an original prank by Pranksy
– Twerky Pepe – The Pumpiest NFT Collection (@TwerkyPepe) February 19, 2021
Osiris agrees that the collectors and speculators are overzealous in the market at this point, and says the artist took advantage of those very sentiments.
“It’s a nifty little bit of someone who timed the excitement of the ‘celebrities’ who walk into the room, the secret of Banksy’s approach, and Rarible’s verification system,” he said. The person was able to get a rare “yellow tick” because, technically, they didn’t pose as Banksy, just used Banksy’s style and legal likeness.
It’s a mania that can only get worse, he said.
“The frenzy over NFTs has created a kind of monster where people try to storm in and be the first to get something that becomes valuable and doesn’t look deeper or do more research.”
Sales for the individual’s fake banksies continue to grow. At least a dozen NFTs have been purchased in the past twelve hours.