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Artists complain of getting their paintings stolen online and sold as NFTs

Several artists across the world have reported that their artworks have been stolen and sold on NFTs without their permission.

twitter-logoAnkita Chakravarti | March 16, 2021 | Updated 10:30 IST

Highlights

  • A few days ago Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had put up his first-ever tweet on sale as NFT or Non-fungible token.
  • Artists, painters have reported a theft of an unusual kind on the Internet and this has a lot to do with the NFTs.
  • When a person buys the NFT of an artwork, they do not get the ownership rights of the artwork but the token containing the artwork.

A few days ago Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had put up his first-ever tweet on sale as NFT or Non-fungible token. However, soon after NFTs became a thing on the Internet, people reported many untoward incidents around the same. In simple terms, it gives an opportunity to digital artists to get paid more for their work. But what was being looked upon as profitable for the digital artists, has now turned entirely against them. Artists, painters have reported a theft of an unusual kind on the Internet and this has a lot to do with the NFTs.

Several artists across the world have reported that their artworks have been stolen and sold on NFTs without their permission. Some of the painters had no idea about their work being sold at double the price, some of them have come across their arts on auction sites. It is also difficult to track down the digital thieves because they are not using their original id to sell the products, many of them were found hiding behind anonymous Twitter accounts.

It was discovered that the automated NFT tweet-minting bot with the name @tokenizedtweets creates NFTs of tweets without informing the user about it. A user can simply mention @tokenizedtweets below a tweet to turn a tweet into an NFT. However, if the user has already tokenized her tweet, she will be informed about it by the bot.

A Russian artist by the name of Weird Undead found @tokenizedtweets under one of her tweets that promoted her artwork. She became suspicious of the whole activity and started investigating the matter. On digging deeper, she discovered that her tweet along with the artwork was up for sale on an auction site called OpenSea, which is one of the largest marketplaces. She then sent a legal notice to OpenSea. Soon after which, the token disappeared from the auction site.

So when a person buys the NFT of an artwork, they do not get the ownership rights of the artwork but the token containing the artwork. Now if you are wondering why would anyone pay an amount for a mere token, let us remind you that the bidding price of Dorsey's first-ever tweet is 2.5 million dollars.

Valuables, which is selling his tweet, had mentioned on their page that the tweet would continue to be available on Twitter but the digital certificate of it will be issued to the buyer only.

"The tweet itself will continue to live on Twitter. What you are purchasing is a digital certificate of the tweet, unique because it has been signed and verified by the creator. This autographed digital certificate will only be issued once on Valuables. It is signed using cryptography and includes metadata of the original tweet like when the tweet was posted, what the text contents are of the tweet, the timestamp of the tweet, and the digital signature from the creator's crypto wallet address," the page read.

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