The Desperate ApeWives NFT collection on display at Art Basel Miami on Dec. 1, 2021.
Erika Goldring | Getty Images
A non-fungible token trader reportedly sold a highly sought-after NFT for $3,000 rather than $300,000 due to a “fat-finger” error.
The trader, identified only as Max or “maxnaut” online, told tech news website CNET that he meant to list his NFT for 75 ether, or about $300,000. But a “lapse of concentration” caused him to accidentally type in 0.75 ether as the listing price.
A fat-finger error is where a trader places the wrong bet on a stock or other financial asset because of a typing mistake. In 2014, for example, a fat-finger mistake was blamed for a sudden spike in the share price of British lender HSBC.
Max’s NFT was part of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, a prestigious collection of 10,000 colorful apes that live on the Ethereum blockchain, the network behind the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency. Celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, DJ Khaled and Post Malone have bought Bored Ape NFTs for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
NFTs are a type of digital asset designed to represent ownership of a unique virtual item, such as a piece of art or rare sports trading cards. Ownership of these items is tracked on the blockchain, the technology behind most cryptocurrencies.
According to CNET, Max’s Bored Ape was immediately snapped up by a bot that was designed to buy NFTs listed below a certain price, and subsequently listed for $248,000. To add insult to injury, the buyer using the bot even paid an extra $34,000 in “gas fees” — which are required for making transactions on Ethereum — to make sure they got it first.
“The industry is so new, bad things are going to happen whether it’s your fault or the tech,” Max told CNET. “Once you no longer have control of the outcome, forget and move on.”
The costly mistake isn’t the first high-profile example of a fat-finger error in the young crypto industry. A small crypto exchange incorrectly paid $24 million in fees on a $100,000 deposit. It was luckily refunded the full amount by an Ethereum miner who verified the transaction.
However, unlike in traditional financial markets, cryptocurrency trades are nearly impossible to reverse unless the people involved in a transaction agree to do so. The blockchain technology that underpins many digital assets is designed to ensure transactions are irreversible.
You can read the full CNET report here.