Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have created a multitude of new opportunities for artists to take control of their work. But the blockchain technology is not without its risks, as Seth Green now knows all too well.
The actor and “Robot Chicken” creator has spent much of the past year developing a new show based on an NFT he purchased from the Bored Ape Yacht Club. The series, “White Horse Tavern,” was set to be centered around Bored Ape Yacht Club #8398, an ape cartoon that Green acquired in 2021. People who purchase the popular (and expensive) Bored Ape NFTs have complete ownership of their character, and are free to use it to develop commercial projects. Many saw Green’s series as an exciting example of NFT culture merging with mainstream entertainment.
But progress on the show has halted because, as a new BuzzFeed story details, Green’s ape NFT was allegedly stolen from him in a hack. While the actor is trying to recover it, he cannot release the show unless he has the NFT in his possession.
“I bought that ape in July 2021, and have spent the last several months developing and exploiting the IP to make it into the star of this show,” Green said. “Then days before — his name is Fred by the way — days before he’s set to make his world debut, he’s literally kidnapped.”
Green was hacked as part of a phishing scam, and the hacker sold the ape to another NFT collector, who Green does not believe was aware that the ape was stolen. Green has been publicly trying to get the attention of the man who purchased it, with the hope of getting the NFT back and returning to work on “White Horse Tavern.” So far, no progress has been made.
NFTs are a polarizing topic in the entertainment industry, and both defenders and opponents of the technology should be able to spin this incident to support their priors.
NFT fans love the fact that the technology allows complete ownership of a digital asset with no strings attached. There’s no need to go through a corporation or a middle man. Whoever possesses Bored Ape Yacht Club #8398 has complete control of the character. To them, accidents like this, while unfortunate, illustrate the technology’s power to make the Internet a more free place. But opponents of NFTs, and cryptocurrency in general, frequently deride the fact that people spend massive sums of money on assets that can’t physically be held. To them, Green’s plight is all the more reason to be skeptical of NFTs.