Auction website eBay is quietly becoming a major NFT marketplace. And, unsurprisingly, a lot of the NFTs being sold on the platform are complete scams, blockchain blog CryptoSlate reports — well, kind of.
NFTs on eBay's marketplace range from a basic pop art portrait of Elon Musk, one of which sold for $7,500, to "Bored Ape Yacht Club" (BAYC) knockoffs being sold at a huge markup.
Some of these "Bored Ape" NFTs are being sold for as much as $47 on eBay, a hefty premium considering that similar NFTs are being sold for the equivalent of just $2 on mainstream NFT marketplace OpenSea.
There's one big catch, though: many of eBay's "Bored Apes" are actually "Sweet Apes," an entirely different collection of NFTs, as CryptoSlate points out, that shamelessly knock off the real thing hook, line, and sinker.
Sweet Apes are also being sold through OpenSea, where they're described as "sharpened 4K versions" of the real thing that have "no affiliation with the original institutions and people."
In other words, they're the NFT equivalent of a knockoff Gucci handbag and aren't part of the official BAYC collection on OpenSea — some of which are now valued upwards of a million dollars thanks to enormous amounts of hype and celebrity endorsements.
But if you're in it for Bored Ape-style art, regardless of its actual legitimacy, some of them being offered on eBay are a steal — almost literally, in this case.
In other words, CryptoSlate appears to have stumbled upon some of the most salient questions in the burgeoning NFT market with its investigation.
Do our real-world definitions of counterfeiting or knocking off actually apply to art generated by algorithms? Is a digital file marked up from $2 to $47 really "marked up" when the original is incredibly overvalued in the first place?
Besides, does any of this actually count as art in either a traditional or postmodern sense?
In eBay's defense, the "Apes" being sold on its platform aren't too different from the myriad of other fake products its users buy and sell. And as long as they know the product isn't real, it's a pretty interesting exploration of issues around authenticity, counterfeiting, and digital media.
While we don't have the answers to these questions for now, we get to point and laugh at those who are mad that their uber-expensive jpgs now have cheapo ripoffs.
READ MORE: “Bored Ape Yacht Club” NFTs selling on eBay for less than $50, what’s the catch? [CryptoSlate]