Bored Ape NFT Holders in Limbo After Steep OpenSea Losses

There have been at least 14 counts of Ape NFTs being resold without the owner’s consent, according to a compilation shared with Blockworks by a group of affected users


Bored Ape Yacht Club, Ape #9145. Source: OpenSea


key takeaways

  • An OpenSea spokesperson told Blockworks 130 wallets were refunded, totaling 750 ether or $2,014,905
  • Some victims adorned their avatars with “BrokenSea” and “Lost Ape” shirts

It’s been a chaotic start of 2022 for many holders of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs and similar collections.

The tumult started last week when a user interface model in OpenSea’s marketplace allowed tech savvy opportunists to snatch up pricey non-fungible tokens from their owners for far below market value and resell them for hefty profits. 

At least three people exploited the loophole in the marketplace’s platform, making away with over $1 million as of Jan. 24, according to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic.

One of the alleged thieves bought a Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) NFT — a derivative of the BAYC — for $10,600 selling it hours later for $34,800. It’s unclear exactly how many Apes were resold in total. 

There have been at least 14 counts of Ape NFTs being resold, according to a compilation shared with Blockworks by a group of affected users. It lists users’ wallet addresses with listings associated with the crypto collectibles. 

An OpenSea spokesperson told Blockworks in a statement Monday that 130 wallets were refunded, totaling 750 ether or $2,014,905 to affected users. The company said it was taking the matter “incredibly seriously.”

“The exploit appears to originate from the ability to re-list an NFT at a new price, without canceling the previous listing,” Elliptic said in its report. “Those previous listings are now being used to purchase NFTs at prices specified at some point in the past — which is often well below current market prices.”

In response, some victims adorned their avatars with “BrokenSea” and “Lost Ape” shirts. Sources familiar with the matter told Blockworks that there are talks of potential legal action against OpenSea, but no action had been taken as of press time.

“OpenSea drowned us and we’ve lost everything,” one affected user, who goes by @bored_belle on Twitter, told Blockworks. “The floor [price] of Apes is rising everyday, which makes us more concerned and [worried] about not being able to buy back [them back.]”

The collector added that they hope that the Bored Ape community’s public feedback of the marketplace “can be an alarm to all [its] users” and hopes that “OpenSea [can] find a way to fix [this] soon.”

The loophole was not a bug or an exploit, according to the NFT marketplace, but rather a user interface issue that occurs when a user creates a listing, then transfers the NFT to a different wallet. 

Robert García, who lost his Mutant Ape, told Blockworks that OpenSea reimbursed him 13.8 ether or $37,074 after one of his NFTs were resold, which allowed him to buy a digital collectible that was “even better than the [one he] originally lost.”

“Losing my ape was [a] best blessing in disguise!,” García said. “It really showed the impact the NFT community has when banding together for a cause. When I lost it, I felt alone and didn’t know what to do. [One] tweet and [thousands] of people in [the] NFT community came to help!” 

OpenSea announced last week that — in addition to reimbursing users — the platform would work on improvements to mitigate similar risks. Potential solutions include a new dashboard for its marketplace and changing its default listing duration from six months to one month.  

Another Ape collector, who goes by Jacob, told Blockworks that his 62-year-old father Ron lost his NFT on Jan. 29 due to the platform’s “inactive listing glitch.”

“My family and I are devastated by what has occurred as well as the complete disregard of user security displayed by OpenSea,” Jacob said. “We’re still eagerly awaiting a resolution to this issue.”

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