What Do I Do if My NFT Was Stolen?
If someone steals your NFT, they don’t just steal an asset. They steal a dream, your ticket into a wonderful life. Beeple sold a collage for $69.3 000 000. Why can’t you? And then, in one fell swoop… it’s all gone
The other problem, besides someone pulling the rug from right under your feet, is the fact that this industry doesn’t really have that many law enforcement agencies you could go to. Who’s going to help you if someone steals an asset on a network that was designed to cover everyone’s tracks? It’s like looking for a black cat in a dark industrial complex.
However! There’s never nothing you can do. Relax, assess the situation, weight the pros and the cons, and come up with a plan based on actionable intelligence. This is what you should know.
Problems: lack of regulation
When it comes to NFTs, there isn’t really much in the way of legal standards. Even with crypto, most countries of the world are still bedazzled in terms of what to do and what the laws should be. Therefore, you can appeal to law enforcement, but be ready for quazzical looks.
Lack of DYOR
This is actually bad and good news all in one. It could very well be that your NFT is missing because OpenSea put in in its hidden folder, or because you thought you bought it, but the transaction failed and the money remained in your wallet.
Yay! No-one stole the NFT because you never had it to begin with! Mixed emotions there.
With NFTs, there are also issues like: what kind of license do you have? There are four main types, and God forbid the license status changes to CC0 (private NFT suddenly being made available to the public - well, that happens). Also, permissions you give to other people and…things? (smart contracts are things, right? We’re not sure anymore) affect where your NFT is going to be the next time you look. For example, you may have granted permission to a malicious smart contract.
We’re not addressing the cases where you’ve been visited by a professional for reasons you understand. Sometimes the world sucks and we hope more regulatory clarity in this area will help, but every now and then innocenmt people end up taking a lot of damage. IN this case scenario the chances of getting your NFT back are really slim. Which shouldn’t stop you from trying! Here’s how.
Someone stole my NFTs today on @niftygateway and purchased $10K++ worth of today's drop without my knowledge. NFTs were then transferred to another account.— Michael J. Miraflor (@michaelmiraflor) March 14, 2021
I encourage EVERYONE to please check their accounts ASAP.
Could use everyone's help here - please RT!
Who to call?
The first thing to do is to call the police or another type of law enforcement. The FBI is actually (very) capable of seizing and desisting rogue citizens with questionable morals who took your stuff, but will they arrive in time to catch the criminal before it’s fenced? Maybe, maybe not, but you’ll certainly need the police report when you report fraud to the platform it’s been stolen from.
Two things that make us sad: 1) asking a law enforcement official to help you with your NFTs usually results in them asking what kind of desert that is and 2) When you report your NFT stolen, Opensea actually already has an option “My NFT was stolen” in the form, which means that happened so many times already that they had to come up with a way to mass-sort all the help requests.
Now we’re getting somewhere! It’s true, cyber-criminals are evolving at a terrifying pace (that much you learned from that Verge report). But so are the good guys. Yo can look up companies like Peospytec and CIpherblade, but be warned: a very impressive share of these businesses are either criminals themselves, ask for an arm and a leg, and don’t win 100% of the time. If your loss is worth it, give them a thought, but by extremely careful when you research them, and we certainly don’t recommend them anymore than we’d recommend casinos. But plenty of people have a marvellous time at Vegas, so why not? Just don’t count on these companies.
The one thing we do recommend is going to a lawyer that actually knows crypto and specializes in it, and find out exactly where you are with everything. Nothing is better than a good source. The same goes for experts.
Finding someone who does crypto for a living and giving them money to consult you on your situation may yet be the best thing you can do. You might even get ahold of a “friend of a friend” with a penchant for Tor browser and burning laptops after a single use, and with some probability get your NFT back.
But by far the most recommended strategy is to never expose your NFTs to theft in the first place, like abiding by all security laws, watching Andreas’s videos, and religiously reading our website.
Prepared is armed!
Oh, and if you’re reading this post-factum we’re sorry for your loss.