PHOENIX — NFTs or Non Fungible Tokens are a booming billion-dollar business and a hot spot for scams.
First things first, what is an NFT? Simply put, in a digital world where almost anything can be copied, NFTs mark something as a one-of-a-kind, digital original.
“You can see who has owned the token and the entire transactional history of the token as it changes hands,” Joe Tavares, a blockchain expert, said.
Tavares warns at its most basic level an NFT is an entry in an online database.
“Expect everything to be a scam, be hyper-vigilant about everything,” Tavares said.
Adam Ramey knows firsthand how quickly these scams can pop up. “Our manager reached out to us and said you had an NFT – did you know that,” Ramey said.
Ramey founded his band, the “Dropout Kings” Kings in 2016. The Nu-Metal band went online to find their music on hitpiece.com for sale as an NFT.
“Almost every artist on Spotify has an NFT on there now,” Ramey said.
Ramey said they did not give hitpiece.com permission to take their intellectual property and try to sell it as an NFT.
“It is insane to think it was that easy for them to do that,” Ramey said, “I think that it will get worse as things go on.”
Ramey believes NFT and the technology that supports it can be a valuable asset. Another avenue for musicians and other artists to make money. However, without regulation, bands may be forced to fight off more attempts like this.
“The best thing about NFTs is the utility, the community, and the marketing.. but it’s also a double edge sword,” Ramey said.
The reality is, while NFTs create a one-of-a-kind digital token, there is nothing stopping someone from taking an image and creating their own NFT.
Tavares put it like this. An NFT can be like a digital version of the deed to your house. However, “Nobody will stop me from writing my own deed to your house.”
These are just one of the multiple scams thieves use to steal millions of dollars worth of nearly untraceable cryptocurrency.
“You can’t call the police, there is no bank, you just lost all your money on it and it isn’t much you can do about it,” Tavares said. “Regulation would be pretty welcome at this point.”
“Look how easy it was for them to do something like this. Who knows what was going on that we don’t know. Just be cautious,” Ramey said.
Hitpiece.com’s auction has been temporarily closed. It’s unclear how much money they have already received.
Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12 News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.