NFT – A French criminal gang dismantled following an “on-chain” investigation

NFT – A French criminal gang dismantled following an “on-chain” investigation

The NFT token market has seen very strong growth over the past year. With collections, mainly of type profile picture (PFP), which have become emblematic for reasons that are often more speculative than anything else. And the most popular is undoubtedly the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), with its random rarity monkey faces. The latter transformed into a real target for thieves and other digital scammers. Five of them have just been overtaken by French justice.

Owning a copy of the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection is the sign of an obvious wealth… and voluntarily displayed. Or the luck of an investor who placed his 0.08 ETH (around $270) in the right project in 2021. Because this series of digital monkeys always displays a floor price of 75 ETH ($97,500) on the Opensea platform. This even though the NFTs market is currently experiencing an unprecedented ice age since its historic explosion.

A success of which one of the consequences is to attract the attention of many amateurs of digital fortunes. And more particularly of thieves and other fishermen in ambush in order to fraudulently divert certain copies. With phishing operations quickly profitable, considering the price of each NFT. But French justice is leading the investigation, because it has just charged 5 supposed members of an organized gang specializing in the field..


Scam vs NFT – Can code still be law?

Hugh B. – 25 May 2022 – 09:00

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NFT – 5 French people charged with theft

The case has just been made public following a dispatch from Agence France Presse (AFP). This about the indictment of five young French people in the context of a case of theft of NFTs from the Bored Ape collection, but not only. With the charge: fraud committed within the framework of a criminal gang, concealment of fraud and criminal association. And, unprecedented, an operation carried out following the publication on Twitter of an investigation carried out by the account of the “detective on-chain” ZachXBT.

Over the past year, we’ve seen scammers get more creative with new ways to phish people on the Web3. In this investigation, we will explain how two phishing scammers located in France stole NFTs worth millions of dollars and the trail left behind leaving them exposed. »


The booty of these French criminals is estimated at approximately $2.5 million. And the two protagonists identified by ZachXBT should be placed in pre-trial detention, at the express request of the public prosecutor in charge of this case. Because it was exclusively the research of this on-chain detective that made it possible to reach this judicial conclusion.. All financed by community donations mainly from BAYC holders who are victims of this scheme.

ZachXBT – More business to come?

Yet these fraudulent operations went well through key stages, such as mixing using Tornado Cash. But clearly, the strength of this digital jamming tool was matched only by the human flaw represented by one of the members of this gang.

Although the scammer attempted to hide his breadcrumb by depositing the stolen funds into Tornado Cash, he was not careful to cover his tracks when it came to withdrawing the funds. »


More cases of this type could well make the next headlines. Car ZachXBT is also investigating other fraudulent procedures such as the hacking of the artist Beeple’s Discord, the damage of which is estimated at $450,000. Or the manipulations of the influencer Crypto Lark Davis suspected of promoting “small capitalization projects” just before liquidating its positions on the rise. Business to follow…

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