People Whose NFTs Were Stolen Are Getting Wildly Different Refunds from OpenSea

After a glitch in OpenSea caused several people to lose their NFTs for a fraction of their price, the company is offering refunds that are leaving some unhappy.
Image: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Screen Shot 2021-02-24 at 3
Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard's podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet.

Some people whose valuable NFTs were swiped for peanuts from underneath them because of a flaw in the most popular digital art market are complaining about getting small refunds. 

Last month, a flaw with how OpenSea handled re-listing NFTs caused numerous people to lose their valuable JPEGs, which were transferred to scammers’ wallets for a fraction of the price the victims could have gotten in the open market. In one case, scammers bought an NFT for a mere $1,740 and resold it for $190,000. 


Weeks later, several victims are complaining on social media and Discord channels that OpenSea has either not refunded them at all yet, or offered only a 2.5 percent refund “of the OpenSea fee received for the sale of your NFT plus an additional reimbursement of creator fees if the collection has any,” according to a screenshot of an email received by one of the victims, who posted it on Twitter. 

Other users have said they got fully refunded or received a higher payout from OpenSea, making it unclear exactly what the company’s criteria is when reimbursing victims.

An OpenSea spokesperson told Motherboard that the company does not comment on individual customer support scenarios The spokesperson did confirm that 2.5 percent is the standard reimbursement, although each situation is different, and that the company has taken the incidents arising from the glitch seriously and given generous reimbursements to victims. 

“We don’t comment on specific customer support scenarios. We have taken the inactive listings issue seriously and given generous reimbursements to users who were impacted,” the spokesperson said in an email.

One of the victims of OpenSea’s glitch talked about their case on Twitter, which caught the attention of Tel Be’ery, a cybersecurity expert and the CTO of the crypto wallet app ZenGo. In a tweet, Be’ery followed the transaction highlighted in the email to the victim and uncovered a blockchain address with the vanity label "opensearefunds.eth." 


Blockchain records show that in the last ten days, OpenSea has refunded victims around $1 million in ETH through that address. Be’ery estimates the total since the glitch could be much higher. The refund wallet has at times sent out hundreds of ETH a day, with regular top-ups, and its highest balance was 828 ETH worth $2.5 million earlier in February. It is currently almost empty. 

Adding to the victim’s frustrations are indications that victims are sometimes receiving wildly different refunds, and some say they are still waiting to hear back from the company. Opensearefunds.eth transaction records indicate that individual transfers have ranged from a fraction of an ETH to windfalls worth over $200,000. 

“I was fully paid back,” a person who goes by Sooltan.eth on Twitter told Motherboard in a chat. “I did get refunded cuz I was one of the earliest hit by the glitch.” The opensearefunds.eth address sent Sooltan.eth 17.82 ETH worth about $50,000 in late January, Blockchain records show. 

A person who goes by Swolfchan.eth wrote on Twitter that they negotiated the refund with OpenSea because the initial refund offer was not enough. When Motherboard asked Swolfchan.eth about the refund, they said they “had to sign something from OpenSea.”

“So I don't think I can talk about it,” they added. 

Blockchain records show that the Opensearefunds.eth address sent Swolfchan.eth 20 ETH worth roughly $60,000 on Feb. 14. OpenSea did not comment on whether the user had to sign something akin to a non-disclosure agreement. 

A user who goes by Mad Meesh on Twitter has been complaining about his stolen NFTs for days; they told Motherboard that OpenSea has yet to answer to his tickets. When Motherboard asked what he would say if OpenSea offered them the standard 2.5 percent refund, they said: “I'd laugh and tweet even harder than I have been. Considering my friend already received floor price, I know what I'm owed.”

UPDATE, Feb. 18 12:07 p.m. ET: This story was updated to include an on the record comment from OpenSea.

Subscribe to our cybersecurity podcast, CYBER. Subscribe to our new Twitch channel.