Pixel Penguins, an NFT project allegedly created by an artist battling cancer, has been exposed as a scam using stolen art.
How Pixel Penguins NFTs became popular
On May 30, crypto influencer Andrew Wang wrote a Twitter thread detailing how the self-proclaimed pixel artist Hopeexist1 had been battling eye cancer and creating digital art for the community.
Wang urged his community to contribute to the artist’s hospital bills by buying her art. He added:
“I hear a lot about how web3 isn’t what it used to be, and I’m often guilty of being a complainer more than anything. Truth is web3 is what we want it to be, and for one, the artists here haven’t stopped creating. We don’t have to choose them but we can’t pretend they don’t exist.”
The thread, alongside several others, soon gathered sympathy and attention from the broader community who donated to the cause.
This increased publicity helped the collection to sell out fast and trend on OpenSea. However, further scrutiny from the community soon revealed that the NFTs were stolen art and the person did not have cancer.
Scammer made over $100k
In a May 31 Twitter thread, blockchain investigator ZachXBT said the Pixel Penguin contract had 61.686 ETH worth over $117,000.
ZachXBT further revealed that the scammer moved 63.5 ETH made from the scam to two new addressees at the OKX crypto exchange.
Meanwhile, the scammer has since deactivated her Twitter account, and the floor price of the collection tanked 86% to 0.004 ETH from a peak of 0.075 ETH on OpenSea. According to data from the NFT marketplace, Pixel Penguins recorded 6,582 sales, and its volume was 216 ETH.
Additionally, Wang apologized for sharing the collection, saying he believed it was real.
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