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OpenSea: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?by@viceasytiger
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OpenSea: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?

by Vik BogdanovJanuary 23rd, 2023
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Robbie Acres, an active NFT trader, successfully processed 722 trades on OpenSea from January last year until one sunny day when the world's leading NFT marketplace locked his account for more than 3 months. Robbie wonders how a service that markets itself as the leading platform to buy and sell NFTs can implement a shoddy support system and mediocre technology solutions to minimize risk.
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Robbie Acres, an active NFT trader, successfully processed 722 trades on OpenSea from January last year until one sunny day when the world's leading NFT marketplace locked his account for more than 3 months as a seemingly protective measure against NFT fraud.

I was astounded when Robbie stumbled across me on LinkedIn with his jaw-dropping story.

He wanted to shed light within the crypto and NFT communities that OpenSea might not be as reliable or secure of a go-to hub for buying and selling NFTs as it claims.

It left me scratching my head, wondering if OpenSea is more focused on cashing out than safety precautions.

Robbie wonders how a service that markets itself as the leading platform to buy and sell NFTs can implement a shoddy support system and mediocre technology solutions to minimize risk.

After performing the due diligence on the evidence provided (the timestamped screenshots of Robbie's communication with the OpenSea support team in a period between July 12th and October 28th, 2022), I decided to advocate for him at HackerNoon.

Here's a story of David vs. Goliath.

On July 12th, 2022, Robbie discovered that two of his high-value digital assets had been snatched from his wallet.

As time was of the essence, with zero doubts about what would come next, he quickly took to email in search of a resolution - and he got it: an automatic response confirming his complaint had been recorded, with ticket #631600 assigned.

The customer support team promised they were doing all within their power to respond swiftly despite the (rather large) volume of inquiries at that moment; responses could take up to one week. 

Little did our hero know what nightmarish journey lay ahead and how reality would crash down on him with full force: this so-called progressive web3 company would be as old school in its operations as any other good ol' fashioned web2 business out there – profits before people!

Robbie knew he had to take action fast, so before sending out the initial message about his missing NFTs, he took extra steps like flagging and reporting them.

But unfortunately, it didn't quite work out as planned. At first, OpenSea support detected a mismatch between emails in Robbie's account registration and ticket creation.

After some quick thinking, the OpenSea support rep was able to suggest how Robbie could get things sorted – either by re-submitting another ticket or linking up that email.

Having sorted the email mismatch issue, Robbie discovered further that both stolen items had already been resold on OpenSea since his initial request. 

Frustrated and believing OpenSea bore some responsibility for what had occurred, Robbie noted that OpenSea should be liable for monetary damages.

In response, the platform locked his account without his request or permission. He repeatedly requested that his account be unlocked.

However, OpenSea refused to do so for 3.5 months, making it impossible to trade his 58 high-value NFTs, transfer them to another wallet, or otherwise manage his assets.

On top of that, OpenSea demanded that he swore under oath that his wallet had not been compromised (meaning OpenSea would not be liable) to unlock his assets.

Yes, read perjury between the lines – the act of willfully making a false statement under oath. 

"OpenSea tried to extort a liability waiver from me to unlock my NFTs, although I had never requested or consented to be locked," says Robbie.

"OpenSea essentially took control of 58 NFTs owned by me, and in which the platform had no interest, as leverage to force me into a settlement where OpenSea would pay no compensation for (1) failure to protect NFTs on the platform, (2) unlawfully taking control of my NFTs, (3) refusing to give me back my NFTs after many repeated demands to do so and (4) creating massive losses by holding my NFTs hostage during significant market fluctuations."

Growing tensions between Robbie and the OpenSea support team eventually led the first to start legal proceedings against the latter.

"OpenSea is aware of the vulnerabilities of its platform to hackers and others. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of NFTs have been stolen from OpenSea users."

While OpenSea account owners obviously need to show vigilance in protecting their wallets from malicious actors, most OpenSea users need more information about how NFT theft can and does occur. 

"OpenSea has access to the information necessary to protect its users but doesn't do enough to implement technology solutions to reduce risk.

It is the platform where NFTs stolen elsewhere can be sold to third parties, with OpenSea securing transaction fees of 2.5% for each sale of the stolen asset.

Yet, my experience shows that OpenSea is unresponsive or, worse, opportunistic in dealing with its NFT customers who need the platform's assistance after a hack or theft. OpenSea simply doesn't care."

"Yet, most OpenSea members are unaware that OpenSea can seize your NFT assets and preclude you from moving or trading them for days, weeks, months, or presumably forever, even if you did nothing wrong."

Robbie's case shows that OpenSea fails to protect its users or provide the security measures we should expect from an NFT marketplace with such explosive growth.

Even worse, their customer service seems lacking when people are scammed–they don't help victims recover their losses.

It's pretty clear something needs to change at this company before traders like Robbie can feel safe buying on OpenSea again.

Instead of working to make things right, OpenSea seized control of 58 NFTs owned by our hero. Even though they exerted no interest in those assets, their actions denied him the justice he deserved–and cost him dearly!

By refusing to return his possessions when asked – and taking advantage of massive market fluctuations while holding them hostage – OpenSea earned itself a black mark for flouting rightful compensation despite its failure to protect users' NFTs.

"OpenSea portrays itself as a platform for all levels of NFT buyers and sellers. Much like the rug pull, which has been the unfortunate hallmark of NFTs in 2022, OpenSea is nowhere to be found when you need them most."

Robbie believes the OpenSea platform offers a false sense of decentralization – in reality, it operates with the classic web2 ethos of profits over people.

It refuses to accept any accountability or provide transparency in its dealings with its users.

Robbie Acres has teamed up with the leading law firm Traverse Legal to take on his case - an exciting move that promises a thrilling legal journey.

Below is a chronometry of the sequence of events pertaining to the suit against OpenSea (Case I.D’s = #631600 /  #717583 / #643576)

12.07.2022 (14:11 GMT) (Receipt Confirmed)


12.07.2022 - (15:11 GMT) OpenSea


12.07.2022 (15:40 GMT) (Receipt Confirmed)


12.07.2022 (18:03 GMT) (Receipt Confirmed)


13.07.2022 (09:34 GMT) (Receipt Confirmed)


14.07.2022 (10:03 GMT) (Receipt Confirmed)


14.07.2022 (19:45 UTC) - OpenSea


18.07.2022 (11:25 GMT) (Receipt Confirmed)


29.09.2022 (10:46 PDT) (Receipt Confirmed)


29.09.2022 (10:56 PDT) - OpenSea


29.09.2022 (18:57) - Sora


29.09.2022 (11:05 PDT) (Receipt Confirmed)


30.09.2022 (01:53 PDT) (Receipt Confirmed)


02.10.2022 (08:51 PDT) (Receipt Confirmed)


03.10.2022 (07:16 PDT) - OpenSea


03.10.2022 (15:37 GMT) (Receipt Confirmed)


05.10.2022 (13:30 GMT) (Receipt Confirmed)


24.10.2022 (21:03 GMT) (Receipt Confirmed)


28.10.2022 (10:29 UTC)


28.10.2022 (19:44 UTC) - OpenSea


Now that you've seen it all – what're your two cents on the situation? Are you siding with Robbie, OpenSea, or just choosing to be neutral in this drama? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments!

Disclaimer: 

I only found out about Robbie Acres when he reached out to me on LinkedIn on January 14th, 2023, suggesting to cover his case against OpenSea on HackerNoon.

He made it clear that he was determined to hold OpenSea accountable for their negligence in security and customer service.

The email correspondence provided by Robbie was really eye-opening – the timestamped screenshots revealed a support team who clearly lacks proper training when handling crucial issues regarding user data safety and still prioritizes bureaucracy and shoddy solutions over common sense. 

By repeatedly requesting Robbie to testify that his assets had not been stolen from his wallets, it's evident the OpenSea team was unaware of how illegal such a demand was.

The above facts were decisive factors in my decision to help Robbie Acres share his story on HackerNoon (free of charge).