“Plagiarized works, fake collections”: OpenSea fights to regulate abuse of NFTs

NFT’s sales platform is going through a tough time. Criticized from all sides for security and usability issues, OpenSea also has to deal with NFT theft issues.

The start of 2022 is not easy for OpenSea. For a few days, the platform has had to deal with an issue that questions its way of handling NFTs. To reduce work or file acquisition, OpenSea has limited the number of NFTs each person can create. But the platform is also heavily criticized on another topic, namelyand “poaching” of NFTs.

OpenSea became prominent last year when the popularity of NFTs exploded. These NFTs, kinds of certificates of authenticity registered in blockchain, have become extremely popular and have enabled the development of a veritable virtual art market. OpenSea is one of the sales platforms that this market has been able to develop thanks to. But NFTs are also heavily criticized: in addition to their environmental impact due to their use of the Ethereum blockchain, which operates on a proof of work basis, NFTs are also accused of having made the theft of virtual works possible. And OpenSea is not doing enough to prevent these scams.


What is this borderline thing?

OpenSea is not the only platform selling NFTs, but it has become one of the most popular very quickly. Unlike the Foundation, which only allows a few carefully selected creators to sell NFTs, OpenSea allows everyone to do so. Above all, OpenSea takes care of the actual creation of the NFTs: the platform manages the registration of the files that are put up for sale in blockchain.

It is therefore very easy for all OpenSea users to create an NFT: Any file can very quickly become a token and go on sale just as quickly. If this method allowed a large number of artists without special technical knowledge to get into NFTs, it also created a big problem. In fact, it is just as easy for any internet user to take a screenshot of a work that does not belong to him, to put it up for sale and make money on it. OpenSea and NFT are therefore today accused of allowing some form of theft of virtual works of art.


Numerama's NFT cost us dearly // Source: Numerama

OpenSea Website // Source: OpenSea

OpenSea has also recognized this: the platform announced in a tweet at ” 80% of the files created were plagiarized works, fake collections and spam “. A huge number that shows the extent of the problem the site is facing.

It is by fighting these forgeries that the platform decided on January 27, to everyone’s surprise and without warning anyone, to limit the number of files NFTizable free at 50 per person. The number of collections a user can put up for sale is also limited to 5 sets of 50 NFTs.

This is a radical change: in the past, there were no restrictions on the creation of NFTs or their sales. But the fact that OpenSea did not warn its users before implementing these changes does not matter much to its community on Twitter.

What particularly annoys me is that OpenSea did not warn the creators “, Apologizes to David Horvath, who has been working as a blockchain developer for a long time. ” There are so many collections that promised a fixed number of NFTs, others that told a story … It’s really a shame that something like this happens from one day to the next. A tweet, and that’s it, it’s over »

In search of NFTs on OpenSea

Faced with the scale of the reaction, OpenSea finally backed down quickly, and notified the day after the cancellation of these measures. But the situation is ultimately still just as problematic: the platform has still not announced a promising solution to reduce theft on the platform. Genuine OpenSea artists felt betrayed by the sudden turnaround, and thieves will still be able to sell NFTs without permission from their true owner.

All these criticisms are reinforced by the fact that OpenSea is also unable to fight against a new phenomenon, which in English is called “ poaching of NFT, a smart form of NFT hunting that relies on a poorly thought out aspect of the platform. When an OpenSea user puts an NFT up for sale, it is imperative to cancel the sale on the site so that the NFT is no longer considered to be on the market. However, some NFT owners have simply changed theirs walletwithout deleting the offer. If they put it back on it, it will be able to be bought again at the old rate.

Some are therefore working to identify these NFTs, and to buy them before the owners have time to raise the price, or cancel the sale. OpenSea teams discovered this problem some time ago but still can not handle it effectively. Worse, according to The Block, they would have even exacerbated the situation: by warning the owners, who would then have wanted to cancel their sale, the OpenSea teams would actually have reported them to all these potential NFT “hunters” who are constantly monitoring the network . According to The Block, at least one Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT was purchased this way.

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