In May, someone stole several valuable NFTs from actor Seth Green. The thieves got their hands on a Bored Ape that was supposed to star in an NFT-themed TV show launched by Green. The theft raised questions on whether Green was still allowed to use the Bored Ape for the show or if he lost the copyright.
Green pleaded with the hacker, and a person who bought an NFT from the hacker, to return his prized NFTs. “We can prove the promise of ape community,” Green said at the time, hopeful that the theft would be solved. And eventually, the scammer did return the stolen Bored Ape. BuzzFeed News reported that blockchain records suggest that Green may have paid a $100,000 premium for the NFT's safe return.
Now, a blockchain detective said the theft of Green’s NFTs was part of a sophisticated multimillion-dollar scam operation that has roped in numerous victims. ZachXBT, one of the most well-known independent researchers who exposes scammers, grifters, and hackers in the world of cryptocurrency, wrote a long thread explaining his findings.
ZachXBT wrote that he was able to trace the movement of the crypto that the scammer obtained by selling the stolen NFTs, even though the hacker laundered “large amounts of crypto through small transactions,” a technique known as "peel chain." After that, the scammer sent the funds back to their wallet.
“This is just one example of the steps taken by the scammer. In reality, the scammer has laundered stolen crypto the same way through many different addresses for millions of dollars,” ZachBXT wrote on Twitter.
In an online chat with Motherboard, ZachBXT said blockchain records show that the scammer sent crypto to a series of new wallets, which were used to create NFT contracts that contained links to a phishing website, which they sent to targets. One of these targets, he said, was Seth Green.
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The scammer was able to steal NFTs from more victims than just Green thanks to those malicious contracts. The researcher said he was able to link the wallet used to transfer the stolen Seth Green NFTs to the scammer, because it was one of the many funded by a single crypto wallet. The scammer sent the stolen crypto to Wasabi, a Bitcoin mixing service that allows users to hide the trail of movements of their cryptocurrency, ZachXBT added.
Seth Green’s publicists and agent did not respond to a request for comment via email .