The crypto Twitterverse has been abuzz with discussions surrounding a series of transactions on the Blur NFT marketplace. The transactions have sparked controversy due to a cunning trader named Hanwe Chang deceiving a competitor into purchasing Azuki NFTs at inflated prices.
Blur, although relatively new compared to popular NFT platforms like SuperRare and OpenSea, has gained traction in terms of trading volumes, thanks in part to its gamified incentives that reward users with tokens based on their trading activity.
One key aspect is the airdrop offered to users who bid on NFTs by trait. Hanwe Chang has seemingly mastered this practice, as evident from Blur’s leaderboards.
This has led to an increased interest in bidding on Blur, with traders even developing bots to automatically copy other traders’ bids. Chang noticed this trend and devised a scheme to trick the bots into bidding on NFTs at significantly inflated prices.
Chang took to Twitter to report the transactions, revealing that he observed someone’s bot copying his bids on Blur. He said he decided to exploit this by bidding on his own NFTs at prices ten times higher than their normal value.
According to Chang, the bots automatically mimicked these bids, and once they were placed, Chang accepted them all. As a result, he made a profit of 800 ETH, equivalent to approximately $1.5 million, from 12 Azuki NFTs within minutes.
Noticed that someone's bot was copying my bids on Blur, so I decided to trick him…
Made 800 ETH profit thanksss pic.twitter.com/KlaXKUFUBK
— Hanwe (@HanweChang) August 5, 2023
According to Etherscan, a considerable portion of the profits from the trades was subsequently transferred to a wallet labeled as “hanwe.eth” on the Ethereum Name Service.
Crypto Twitter Reacts to the Controversy
The transaction’s nature has sparked a range of reactions on crypto Twitter. One NFT influencer, known as Dave III, criticized Chang’s statement, cautioning against promoting “fraud” and referring to the trick as “illegal market activity.” He highlighted how the problematic aspect was Chang placing bids he had no intention of accepting, solely to trigger other bids.
On the other hand, another NFT influencer, A Raving Ape, referred to the transaction as an “epic case of PvP” in the NFT marketplace, drawing an analogy to player-versus-player confrontations in video games. It seems that everyone involved found the situation intriguing.
The victim of the scheme and owner of the bot, with the handle “elizab.eth,” showed up on Twitter, stating that the funds were stolen from their bot. The account expressed willingness to discuss the possibility of a bounty and offered Chang to keep 10% of the funds if the rest could be returned.
We would like to discuss a bounty with you. We are offering a 10% bounty of any funds stolen from our bot, which are yours to keep if you return the remaining 90%.
— elizab.ethᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠ (@ThinkingETH) August 5, 2023
Opinions on the legality and morality of Chang’s actions diverged among commentators. While some argued that elizab.eth was simply outwitted and saw no illegality, others, like Delphi Labs General Counsel Gabriel Shapiro, exhibited more empathy.
However, Shapiro acknowledged that the bot’s owner likely had legal claims to retrieve their ETH, noting that the question of legality was “a bit more nuanced.”
Chang has remained silent in response to the discussions, as he has not posted anything further on his Twitter account since sharing details of the trades. The debate around the legality and ethics of his actions rages on.