Ethereum NFT Whale Loses $150K on a Meme Gone Wrong

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In brief

  • An Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domain sold for over $150,000 worth of ETH today in an apparent joke gone wrong.
  • The buyer, who had previously been the seller, said that he forgot to cancel his own 100 ETH “joke” bid on the NFT.

Ethereum Name Service (ENS) names—effectively, domain names that point to crypto wallet addresses—are gaining value as desirable names sold as NFTs trade hands. But today, a noted NFT collector is down over $150,000 worth of ETH after a “joke” bid on an ENS name was actually accepted.

The pseudonymous collector Franklin, who owns 57 valuable Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, had registered the ENS name stop-doing-fake-bids-its-honestly-lame-my-guy.eth using an alternate Ethereum wallet on Tuesday, and then today placed a 100 WETH (Wrapped Ethereum) bid—that’s nearly $151,000 right now—on it using his main wallet.

It was meant as a joke, he explained in tweets, to make the ENS Bids Twitter bot tweet it out, all while apparently mocking the very same practice. Today, however, Franklin sold that ENS domain to someone else for just shy of 1.9 ETH ($2,880), and tweeted in celebration of turning a profit.

However, he forgot to cancel the 100 ETH bid that he had placed from his other wallet. Just 15 minutes after the sale, the new owner of the meme ENS name accepted the bid and received the 100 ETH. Franklin got his jokey ENS name back, but now is out 100 ETH on the whole situation.

“Oh no, I lost 100 ETH,” he tweeted. “I was celebrating my joke of a domain sale, sharing the spoils, but in a dream of greed, forgot to cancel my own bid of 100 ETH to buy it back. This will be the joke and bag fumble of the century. I deserve all of the jokes and criticism.”

In response to suspicions from some Twitter users that he was “botted,” or that an automatic program accepted his 100 ETH bid before he could cancel it, he pushed back and claimed that it was entirely his own mistake.

“I didn’t get ‘botted.’ I had plenty of time to cancel my offer, I just ran to Twitter instead,” he wrote. “I also sent the 1.9 WETH back to the person who bought/flipped it back to me. This is a mistake that I can’t imagine anyone else putting in the effort to make.”

In a Twitter DM to Decrypt, Franklin confirmed the chain of events and further commented on what ultimately happened.

“[I] just did not think about my outstanding bid,” he told Decrypt. “I didn’t think about canceling or expiring because I had already concluded earlier in the day that I was never going to transfer. But then I [saw] $$ signs and acted on it.”

Franklin’s tweets about the sale have gone viral this afternoon as commenters from across Crypto Twitter weigh in on the expensive apparent misstep.

“Y’all gotta respect the blockchain as a fiduciary layer and not go around making joke bids on stuff, signing 100 ETH from your wallet,” wrote pseudonymous investor and NFT collector, DCinvestor. “Every time you sign something like that, feel the gravity of it. I do feel bad for Franklin’s loss here, but let it be a lesson to everyone.”

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