NFT Thefts: Will They Ever Stop?

The craze for NFTs started in February. A lot of experts predicted that as people have begun to purchase digital art, there will be cases of theft and piracy. It didn’t take too long for that to happen in the NFT marketplace.

Robbery Of Artists’ Works

One such case of robbery of Artists works was in March. In March, the NFT gold rush was continuously surging. One day, in the middle of the month, artist Derek Laufman woke up and saw a couple of emails from some of his followers. They had a few questions for him. They wanted to whether or not he was selling his artworks as NFTs. On the Rarible platform (Website where people can easily buy NFTs), someone impersonated him through the verification procedure of the platform. It was a verified profile that claimed that it belonged to Derek. Derek got so annoyed. He tweeted telling about how that profile wasn’t his. As soon as Rarible came to know, they took off all the artworks from Derek. However, one of Laufman’s artwork was already purchased by a fan.

From Twitter

Another such case was seen by a pseudonymous artist, Sabby Life. She works on virtual reality and paints digital 3D sculptures. One of her works, “Winter Landscape”, went up for sale on VR NFT without her knowledge. It was sold for $332. Confused and annoyed by this theft, Sabby complained on Twitter that many other artworks have been stolen in the NFT marketplace.  

NFTs are so popular that a lot of people now know about them. They might have heard one of the two things about NFTs. The first one is that they are one-of-a-kind digital assets and are found on the Ethereum blockchain. You can use it to determine that who owns a digital piece of art. Secondly, any digital asset put on the blockchain as a token or minted can become an NFT. They are just like digital trading cards.

NFTs contain all the ownership details for easy identification as well as the transfer of tokens between different holders. These digital assets can be tracked. Moreover, the artists or owners can also add digital signatures to their artworks on the metadata. Currently, the theft of NFTs online is a very bad situation. Anyone can mint anything and this is one of the major problems. OpenSea and Rarible are the two most prominent NFT platforms. Here, you don’t have to verify yourself before putting up artworks on the blockchain. Thus, anyone can claim to own a piece of work they just stole online.

NFTs are a new trend thus there are not many legal protections that can save artists. Courts will have problems in understanding what kind of assets NFTs are and which copyright claims can be established. These controversies raise the question of whether or not NFTs are the latest headache for artists trying to make a living from their artworks.

How Will NFT Protect The Artists?

There are still other forms of analog media where theft and duplication exist in large amounts. However, NFTs are recorded on the blockchain which means they can’t be easily erased off from the records. This is why they are easily verifiable even after a purchase has been done on a stolen NFT. There is a public ledger on the blockchain. It acts as a protection for artists so once when it is confirmed their artworks have been stolen, they are removed. Till now, several NFT marketplaces have started accepting tokens as distinct even when they move from one platform to other.

Via ArtStation

The rise of NFT is a slow transformation. In the distribution of media and art, it is expected that theft and plagiarism will continue unless there are strict regulations to protect the artists and their works from being stolen. This is why now more people are allocating high value to physical art rather than digital art. New measures will be soon put in place to change the way we process digital art.