After a scammer swiped comedian Seth Green’s NFT collection, robbing him of the Bored Ape he planned to feature in his upcoming animated show, BuzzFeed News spoke to the person claiming to be the ape’s current owner. The pseudonymous collector, who has said they are an Australian surgeon with a side hustle, believes they “bought it in good faith” and conceded that they have no plans for the NFT — including repatriating it to Green.
BuzzFeed News reported on Tuesday that the theft of Green’s NFTs could present complications for his forthcoming series, White Horse Tavern, which incorporates characters from the actor’s extensive NFT collection. It’s possible that after losing his Bored Ape to a phishing scam this month, Green also lost his license to commercially adapt the monkey. In what has become something of a hostage scenario, Green has since tried to negotiate the return of what he has called his “kidnapped” ape.
According to blockchain records, Bored Ape #8398 was purchased from the anonymous scammer by “DarkWing84,” a pseudonymous user who dropped more than $200,000 on the NFT before transferring it to another collection named “GBE_Vault.” The transfer happened within minutes, leading some internet sleuths to wonder if they were in fact the same person. Based on this information, Green located DarkWing84 on Twitter but thus far has failed to make contact.
“I’m happy to chat to Seth directly,” the individual claiming to now own the Bored Ape told BuzzFeed News in a Twitter DM. “Just woke up and have seen this craziness. Please put him in contact with me.”
On Tuesday, BuzzFeed News received a tip about a Twitter account belonging to GBE_Vault, which identified them as the Bored Ape’s new owner. BuzzFeed News was able to find this person's Discord history based on a tweet in which they mentioned having purchased a Damien Hirst canvas titled “Lascaux Gouache.” This transaction was discussed at length by the art marketplace HENI, which described them as an Australian surgeon who goes by the pseudonym “Mr Cheese.” On HENI’s Discord server, Mr Cheese has referenced DarkWing84 numerous times. And to top it off, their profile picture is none other than Bored Ape #8398.
“You are a good detective,” Mr Cheese wrote after BuzzFeed News asked them to confirm ownership of the contentious ape.
Mr Cheese, who uses the Twitter handle “drwerty,” told BuzzFeed News how they buy NFTs using their DarkWing84 account and then transfer more valuable tokens to their secondary vault. Transactions between Ethereum wallets associated with the two accounts support this, and at the moment their cache includes three Bored Apes, three Mutant Apes, and a CryptoPunk.
"I bought it because I liked it."
“I have no plans for the ape,” Mr Cheese added. “As you can see I have been collecting for a while. I bought it because I liked it. It wasn’t a cheap buy either and was not marked as suspicious so I bought it in good faith. I’m happy to be in contact with Seth to chat about this.”
Despite ghosting Green’s appeals on Twitter — Mr Cheese claims they never check their DarkWing84 account — they’ve since requested that the actor DM them. Green now follows Mr Cheese’s Twitter handle @drwerty.
Green did not respond to requests for comment. But his tweets make it abundantly clear that he’s willing to pursue legal action to reclaim the asset. On Tuesday, Green tweeted that he would “rather meet @DarkWing84 to make a deal, vs in court.” While NFTs have only begun to make an appearance in case law, Eric Goldman, an intellectual property and technology law professor at Santa Clara University, previously told BuzzFeed News that buyers of looted NFTs would likely be criticized for “not doing their homework.”
Nevertheless, Mr Cheese appears unbothered.
“Haven't really thought about it as this is all very new news to me,” they replied when asked if they’d consider returning the NFT. “Can you arrange contact with him?”