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Banksy NFT buyer duped in £244k 'hack'

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Image: Elliptic
NFTs have soared in popularity in the art world over the past year, with multiple high profile examples selling for millions. Photo: Elliptic (https://www.elliptic.co/blog/was-a-fake-banksy-nft-just-sold-for-336000)

An art collector who spent $336,000 (£244,000) on a fake Banksy non-fungible token (NFT) advertised through the artist's official website, has told the BBC he feels "burned" by the dupe.   

In the latest example of a cryptocurrency scam, a link to an online auction for the non-fungible token was posted on a now deleted part of the graffiti artist's website, Banksy.co.uk in an apparent hack of the website. 

The collector offered 90% above rival bidders for the fake artwork on OpenSea, a marketplace for NFTs. 

"Any Banksy NFT auctions are not affiliated with the artist in any shape or form," Banksy's team told the BBC on Tuesday. 

An NFT is an artwork in "tokenised" form — people that own NFTs buy the certificate of ownership to the digital product rather than a physical product or its copyright. 

Watch: World Wide Web source code NFT sells for $5.4 million

Read more: Non-fungible Tokens: What are NFTs?

The buyer thought he was buying Banksy's first NFT and told the BBC he had been alerted to its existence through instant messaging and digital distribution platform Discord. 

NFTs have soared in popularity in the art world over the past year, with multiple high profile examples selling for millions. 

In March, digital artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, sold an NFT of his work for $69.3m at Christie’s in New York, putting him among the top three most valuable living artists. It became the most expensive NFT ever sold.

Elsewhere, even digitally created horses with unique algorithms have been sold. Zed Run, a company which launched in early 2019 with horses selling for as little as $30, recently sold a stable of digital racehorses for more than $250,000.

Watch: What are the risks of investing in cryptocurrency?

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