A valuable non-fungible token (NFT) owned by Jay Chou has been stolen, the Taiwanese singer said on his Instagram account on Friday, in another cybercrime incident linked to the rising popularity of the digital tokens.
Chou said in an Instagram post that when told by a friend that one of his NFTs had been "stolen by a phishing website", he initially thought it was an April Fool's Day joke.
However, he then discovered that the digital token was "really gone". Chou asked people to be careful and said that NFT theft is not a joke by adding hashtags to the post.
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Chou's stolen NFT is from Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), one of the world's most valuable NFT collections.
On Friday the collection's cheapest NFT on sale cost 108 ether, roughly equivalent to US$352,695. The NFT allegedly stolen from Chou was sold on the LooksRare platform for 130 ether, roughly US$424,541.
On OpenSea, the world's largest NFT marketplace, the account that appears to be operated by Jay Chou was marked on Friday as compromised.
On Etherscan, an Ethereum analytics platform, the crypto wallet address that Chou's allegedly stolen NFT was transferred to is marked with a warning, which says that it was reported to have been used in a phishing scam, and that users should exercise caution when interacting with the address.
The rapidly-evolving NFT space has become riddled with global scams, fraud and theft recently, with little regulatory oversight in place.
Money sent to NFT marketplaces by illicit addresses jumped significantly in the third quarter of 2021, reaching US$1 million worth of cryptocurrency, and the value further grew in the fourth quarter to just under US$1.4 million, according to a report published in February by research firm Chainalysis.
Among recent cases, in February, 17 OpenSea users had their NFTs stolen in a targeted phishing attack, and stolen assets were estimated to be worth US$1.7 million.
On Friday, BAYC also said on Twitter that its channel on Discord, a group messaging app popular in the NFT space, "was briefly compromised", but that they "caught it immediately", without elaborating further. It is not clear if Chou's stolen NFT was related to the BAYC incident.
Chou is among several Asian celebrities who have been promoting NFTs since last year, including Hong Kong actors Edison Chen and Shawn Yue Man-lok, and Singaporean singer JJ Lin. Projects endorsed and launched by them have drawn huge attention in the region.
In January, an NFT collection named PhantomBear, launched by the Jay Chou-backed fashion brand PHANTACi, briefly topped OpenSea's 24-hour sales volume chart.
A project launched in February by Edison Chen drew more than 44,440 members in its Discord channel, but faced criticism after buyers complained about a chaotic purchasing experience.
This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
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