How much have you ever lost on a typo? Probably not hundreds of thousands of dollars. But that’s just what happened to one unlucky individual this weekend, who accidentally sold a Bored Ape NFT for $3,000 instead of $300,000 — all because of a misplaced decimal point.
As first reported by CNET, the NFT’s owner Max (or maxnaut) listed the NFT for sale on Saturday. Max, who describes himself as a “solo-traveller, bored ape, marketing agency owner & NFT investor,” had meant to price the NFT at 75 ether (around $300,000) but accidentally typed 0.75 ether instead (roughly $3,000). Before they could correct the mistake, the NFT had been snapped up, apparently by a bot programmed to find and buy undervalued listings. You can see the drama play out on the NFT’s OpenSea page.
“How’d it happen? A lapse of concentration I guess,” Max told CNET. “I list a lot of items every day and just wasn’t paying attention properly. I instantly saw the error as my finger clicked the mouse but a bot sent a transaction with over 8 eth [$34,000] of gas fees so it was instantly sniped before I could click cancel, and just like that, $250k was gone.”
These sorts of so-called “fat-finger errors” are well-known in the world of finance. In 2015, for example, a junior Deutsche Bank employee accidentally sent $6 billion to a hedge fund client after messing up their calculations. But traditional markets generally have some means of recourse when the worst happens — whether legal in nature or stemming from social pressure. In the case of Deutsche Bank, it seems the hedge fund simply sent the money back the next day.
For Max, there’s no way to get his cash back. It doesn’t help that the NFT he sold belongs to a particularly valuable collection. There are 10,000 Bored Apes in existence, each mixing and matching certain attributes (laser eyes, sunglasses, etc.) to create a portrait with the aesthetic qualities of a mid-2000s gamer avatar. NFTs aren’t about the quality of the artwork, though: they’re about speculation and perceived value. And Bored Ape NFTs are an exclusive club, with owners including celebrities like Jimmy Fallon and Steph Curry. They originally sold for 0.08 ether, around $320, but now cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Despite the loss, Max seems to be taking things in stride. “Sometimes you fuck up, make a bad buy, out of gas fail, send Eth to the wrong wallet or fat finger a listing,” he tweeted. “It’s going to happen. But, letting it occupy your mind for even one second after you can no longer affect the outcome is purely hurting yourself twice.”