“Fred is back home.”
BuzzFeed News Reporter
Seth Green’s “kidnapped” Bored Ape has been returned to its original owner, ending weeks of frantic speculation as to its whereabouts and the intentions of its alleged abductor, a pseudonymous NFT collector known as “Mr Cheese.”
Blockchain transaction records, which document the buying and selling of digital assets like NFTs, show the Bored Ape #8398 being transferred from Cheese’s NFT wallet to a wallet associated with Green on Tuesday. When asked about it in a Twitter Space for Green’s NFT company on Thursday, Green confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the ape “is home.”
The exchange appears to have occurred by way of a crypto escrow platform called NFT Trader where records reveal the ape departing Cheese’s wallet and eventually landing in the “Fred_Simian” account that presently contains it. Green has previously stated that he named the ape Fred Simian, and seemingly runs a Twitter account created for the character. An unnamed wallet likely belonging to Green (it’s been used to purchase NFTs that now exist in his public vault) transferred 165 Ether, or approximately $297,000, to an address operated by NFT Trader to exchange the ape. The Ether appeared in a wallet belonging to DarkWing84, a Mr Cheese alias, minutes later. The transaction suggests Green may have repurchased the ape for nearly $100,000 more than Cheese initially paid for it — despite threatening to sue Cheese if they refused to return it to him. (A real bummer for anyone who had their fingers crossed for a Green v. Cheese lawsuit.)
Worth noting: Green recently tweeted that he had made contact with Cheese on May 25, following numerous appeals from the actor to return the ape.
Bored Ape #8398 on OpenSea
Bored Ape #8398 is still marked with a “suspicious activity” label on OpenSea. It remains frozen, preventing the NFT from being bought or sold on the marketplace, but not from being transacted on other services like NFT Trader. OpenSea declined to comment.
If the transaction is what it appears to be, it concludes a crypto clown show that began in early May when Green’s NFT cache was looted after the actor succumbed to a phishing scam. “Well frens it happened to me,” he tweeted at the time. “Got phished and had 4NFT stolen.”
The theft was a real debacle for Green, who had been developing an animated series called White House Tavern featuring characters from his NFT collection — most notably Bored Ape #8398.
“I bought that ape in July 2021, and have spent the last several months developing and exploiting the IP to make it into the star of this show,” Green told entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck at a May NFT conference. “Days before he’s set to make his world debut, he’s literally kidnapped.” That revelation inflamed an ongoing intellectual property debate around NFTs, as Bored Ape Yacht Club licenses theoretically confer commercial usage rights to purchasers. To whom did this entitlement belong, Green or Cheese? They both purchased it fair and square. Again, the blockchain doesn’t lie, right?
When confirmed to be the ape’s new owner by BuzzFeed News, Mr Cheese — who has also used the moniker “DarkWing84” — said they believed it was “bought in good faith” and claimed they had no idea it was illicitly obtained. The pseudonymous investor had purchased the NFT from Green’s scammer for a whopping $200,000.
So does this mean the case of Green’s “stolen” ape has been closed once and for all? Did he really pay twice for that monkey? Does crime pay? The actor had made it abundantly clear he’d go to extreme measures to reclaim it. The Bored Ape is now housed in a solitary wallet and Mr Cheese — who became something of a crypto antihero for unwittingly purchasing Green’s prized possession and being largely unaware of the meltdown that ensued — has since removed Bored Ape #8398 from their Twitter profile, as one does.
Sarah Emerson is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Oakland.
Contact Sarah Emerson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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