People looking to make a quick buck are turning other people’s tweets and artworks into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) without their permission, with some claiming NFT versions of their work have even been sold by scammers.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, NFTs are unique digital objects that are authenticated using something like the blockchain. Essentially, they’re a file that can’t be endlessly reproduced.
These objects are created (or ‘minted’, as they say), and then can be sold on online marketplaces. This opens up new opportunities for people to make money off their art — but creators, it seems, aren’t the only ones who are taking these opportunities.
On Tuesday, Twitter user @arvalis tweeted a warning claiming that a Twitter bot that turned tweets into NFTs automatically could be abused against artists.
Cool new scam artists should be aware of. Any rando can now turn your tweet and by extension, your artwork into an NFT by tagging this account @/tokenizedtweets
Block this guy pic.twitter.com/JeHXwcoYFV
— RJ Palmer (@arvalis) March 9, 2021
“Cool new scam artists should be aware of. Any rando can now turn your tweet and by extension, your artwork into an NFT by tagging this account @/tokenizedtweets,” they tweeted.
The @tokenizedtweets account allows anyone to turn a tweet into an NFT that is sent to the person who requested it. That is not necessarily the person who created the tweet or artwork.
The service offers a takedown request form for when someone else uses the bot in this way, but that’s like a getaway driver in a robbery offering a police report to the victim.
Users are recommending people block this specific bot to prevent it from happening to them. But the theft isn’t limited to this one service.
Multiple artists have taken to social media to complain about their artwork being stolen.
I've just learned that my last artwork with my character Cogs and their fabricant was stolen for this NFT crap via @/tokenizedtweets. I do NOT support this and am absolutely fuming. Please block @/kierankyle for your art's sake ????
Has anyone had success getting works removed??
— Cat (@_Catacious) March 9, 2021
In one notable case, redditor user u/kevin25700 alleged that none other than the Wu-Tang Clan sold an NFT of his artwork without his permission.
“I just found out tonight that the verified Wu tang clan minted and is selling my artwork I created back in 2013,” he claimed, providing compelling evidence.
Ironically, it seems as if a technology that was created with hopes of helping reward artists for their work has been turned into something that is depriving them of it.