It’s a no-brainer that the NFT boom has attracted many malicious actors, including those who would sell a copycat digital collectible just to make a quick buck. OpenSea is a brooding ground for many of these projects, and two parody Bored Ape Yacht Club (or BAYC) projects are having a hard time selling their collectibles after being banned by the leading NFT marketplace for plagiarism.
The creators of PHAYC and Phunky Ape Yacht Club (PAYC) were probably too lazy to hire a digital artist to create unique NFTs. Instead, they chose to sell mirrored identical versions of the highly-priced Bored Ape avatars.
While PAYC launched in early December to promote decentralization and tackle “rich douchebags” who it claimed had taken over the ape market, PHAYC made its debut shortly after, describing itself as “a limited NFT collection where the token itself offers no membership and no allegiance.” A community member of PHAYC reportedly told CoinDesk that the project is “a satirical take on the current state of NFTs and members of the NFT community who might be taking the NFT market a little too seriously.”
As expected, both copycat projects have been at loggerheads which each other. PAYC’s founder dubbed PHAYC a “cash grab project.” There have also been allegations that the PHAYC team absconded after making $1.8 million.
Both projects have been delisted from OpenSea and Rarible. They are now in a race to launch alternative marketplaces to sell their leftward-facing apes. Both PAYC and PHAYC have tweeted that they were working on launching their own marketplaces.
Although many people have kicked against the centralized nature of NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, the move does not appear to be a bad idea in this case. Making profits from the work of an artist by simply mirroring it is nothing short of a cheap shot.
Meanwhile, OpenSea recently froze 16 Bored Ape and Mutant Ape NFTs worth $2.28 million after they were allegedly stolen from a New York art gallery operator.