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How to spot fake NFTs
How to spot fake NFTs

NFTs are non-fungible cryptographic tokens that are unique and non-replicable. It is one-of-a-kind trading card unlike a fungible cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. For example, if you have an NFT of the Mona Lisa, you will never be able to trade it for another Mona Lisa because there can only ever be one of that particular piece. Though NFTs are mostly thought of as pieces of digital art, namely drawings or design pieces, they can be anything digital, including music and video. When you buy an NFT, you own the rights to that piece of digital art. But that doesn't mean that the art cannot be copied and resold without your permission. For instance, you own an original Monet. Though you own the original, the artist still retains reproduction rights which means that prints of that artwork can be replicated and resold. But rest assured, you still own the original creation!

The advent of NFTs allows for artists to sell their digital art and get paid every time the NFT is resold. Buyers get to support artists through the assured royalties and also protect their own usage and reselling rights. It is an investment that can be sold for a potential profit. When you buy an NFT, you own a smart contract in a secure blockchain. This can be transacted on only by you.

Nevertheless, Counterfeit NFT's are on the rise and are creating major issues to the artists, buyers as well as the NFT market places. Scammers appear keen to take advantage of lax rules and enforcement mechanisms on even the major NFT marketplaces. MayinArt had a recent encounter with an NFT con-person/group who held an imposter account on the OpenSea platform. After our account was launched with the username MetaMartMayin, we soon spotted the spurious user with a profile that had copies of our works under the name MayinArt, without our approval. Though the situation was immediately rectified by OpenSea, it was clear case of digital theft. However, the fake group had not tokenised the works yet, and hence they were not available for purchase.

This is just one example of several that points to the ease with which NFT's can be counterfeit. Here are some examples of how we determined their account was fake:

  1. Their bio was empty . If a bio on OpenSea account says nothing, its almost certain that the seller is either not a serious account holder or that their NFTs are not ready to be sold. For instance, in each one of MayinArt's artist bios, you will read a lengthy biography of the artist that describes their artistic medium and aesthetics. This information makes for an authentication and gives you a better idea that they are the real deal.
  2. Their uploads were random, with no style or continuity in any of them. When an NFT account is fake, you'll notice that their layouts are unmethodical and have no particular order or theme.
  3. There was no description on their MayinArt collection. Just like a description in the bio section, a description in each of their collections has to be available in order for a buyer to take it seriously. In MayinArt's "Indo mind Fragments" collection page, you'll see that the description is full and corresponds with the NFTs included there.
  4. There were no prices listed yet, although it had been more than a month since they uploaded the works. When a seller lets their page languish without listing their works as being available for sale, that's a clear sign that they are not to be taken seriously.

These are just some of the possible giveaways that we noticed in our own dealings with scammers.

Here are some other ways to spot a fake.

  • The price may not be consistent with NFTs of the same type or value. If other NFTs produced by the same artist are more expensive, the fake seller may be trying to undercut the original's value and sell it off as their own. Be wary if you come across something that seems too good to be true.
  • Check to make sure if the NFT is verifiably authentic. Usually on NFT platforms, the NFTs are given approvals in the form of check marks next to the file's display to assure buyers that the NFTs are in fact authentic. If you don't see one of these, and can't verify its authenticity, don't buy it.
  • If the NFT you come across is part of a popular collection but doesn't link back to it, it's most likely fraudulent.

For an expensive NFT, it is especially important to do your research to avoid getting scammed. Fakers can create almost authentic copies, down to the minutest detail. But according to The Art News Paper, new proprietary tools like MarqVision, an AI-powered IP protection service aims to protect brands and artists from NFT fakes. It scrapes data from NFT platforms like OpenSea, Superrare and Rarible, offering subscribers a way to flag potential fakes and forgeries. There are many more tools in the pipeline that could make the future of NFT purchase more secure.

So while we explore this new world of digital art and NFT's, be cautious, do your research and buy your NFT's from reliable market places and verified sellers. The future seem positive with Image recognition and data scraping technologies being implemented to protect intellectual property online. So do not be put away from buying your next or first NFT from authentic galleries like MetaMartMayin, where we mint only original works by bonafide artists.

Posted May 31, 2022