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Context: NonFungibleTokens

"BoredApes" are a kind of collectible NFT; cartoons of apes that were briefly, a high-priced craze in 2022. (See ApoliteicNFTs for discussion about their political symbolism.)

This is a very good analysis, by EdZitron, of the story of how Seth Green was scammed out of his Bored Ape and the issues it raises for NFTs and crypto.

Large quote below. CategoryCopyrightRisk

What's incredible about this story is how perfectly it encapsulates the realities of crypto's libertarian paradise. Green - who is a colossal buffoon for just about every move he's made here - is already crowing about going to court to secure his ape, even though his ape was, technically, voluntarily handed over. Even if it wasn't, DarkWing84 purchased it legitimately and has every reason not to sell it - it's attached to what may be a nationally-broadcasted television show, making it worth more money. And as always, the victim of the scam (Green) is claiming that he should be given back the Ape because he needed it for something - and seems to believe he has a degree in Ape Copyright Law. Whether Green is libertarian is immaterial to the larger fact that he believes - as every single scammed crypto person does - that despite interacting with and enjoying a permissionless, decentralized, and "anonymous" system, they should be able to seek the very remedies that - by design - do not exist in the system.

The real danger isn't so much that DarkWing84 has the ape now but that they may retain it and sue Green if he attempts to use their IP in his show. It's reasonable to ask why Green didn't seek to sever the IP from the NFT, especially when planning a TV show using it, but at this point, it very much seems that DarkWing84 has the intellectual property and thus the rights to be compensated for its use. While cryptocurrency people generally don't like the courts, in this case, they must support them only in defense of DarkWing84.

If the cryptocurrency industry were dedicated to a single one of their wretched ideologies, they would be fighting against Green. This isn't just a story about one rich, stupid idiot losing an incredibly expensive link to a picture - it's a rich guy using his resources to intimidate someone that participated in good faith in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Green messed up, but the point of cryptocurrency and the blockchain is that it's (currently) unburdened by the laws of man, and thus any attempt to make it through capitalism is surely antithetical to their entire ideal system. If Green successfully intimidates (legally or otherwise) DarkWing84, he has proven that cryptocurrency is simply another way in which rich people increase their wealth. In a vacuum, why is Green's claim over this ape any more valid than DarkWing84's? Because it was sent to someone via a smart contract that Green fully agreed to, even if he didn't understand the exact things it was doing?

On a legal level (though I am not a lawyer), I imagine that if Green is successful in his case (if such a case manifests), this can set a precedent for NFTs that involves them being seized from the hands of legitimate buyers. On a very basic level, the cryptocurrency industry should be defending DarkWing84 - they are a victim of circumstance, and they are legitimate in their ownership of a $200,000 JPEG that can now not legally participate in a television program that it's featured in without their permission.

And they're not up in arms, because deep down none of these people actually care about "democratization" or "freedom," just more flexibility to do the stuff they like and, of course, the ability to suppress things they don't like. If they cared about the soul of their industry, they'd be terrified (aside from any legal situation) that a rich man with a huge following is intimidating a legitimate participant in their economy.

If they're not alarmed, they should be, because very stupid situation could end up proving how little anything they're doing matters. If Green is able to intimidate (and by proxy "reverse" the transaction by forcing the return of the NFT), Ethereum and every other cryptocurrency are only immutable and irreversible based on whether or not someone litigates. It's irrelevant whether Green believes that cryptocurrency should operate in the truly permissionless sense, but even if he successfully intimidates or brokers a deal with the person in question, this is just another sign of how very centralized the blockchain becomes for the rich.

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