CrypToadz NFT Sells for $1.6M: Red Flag or ‘Fat Finger Mistake?’

BY Andrew Rossow

October 10, 2023

Just two weeks after an NFT from the CrypToadz collection sold for around $1,600 (0.95 ETH), it was sold again for $1.6 million (1,055 Wrapped Ethereum), raising concern throughout the community.

The purchase, which occurred on OpenSea, was funded from a digital wallet as part of an anonymous chain of transactions via the Ethereum coin mixing service Tornado Cash

The CrypToadz collection launched amidst the 2021 NFT surge, bringing in approximately $38 million (12,000 ETH) within its first ten days.

The $1.6 million NFT, a pixelated depiction of “a small, warty, amphibious creature,” is part of a broader collection conceived by digital artist Gremplin. 

Its recent price surge, almost a thousand-fold, seems particularly baffling, begging the question of whether this was a user error or something more that reeks of money laundering. 

Three days before the October 9 purchase, a substantial deposit (around 1,115.9 ETH) was discovered in the new CrypToadz NFT owner’s wallet.

While several X users have speculated that this was a mere “fat finger” slip-up during the transaction, others hint at the possibility of wash trading, a strategy notorious for circulating questionable funds through a myriad of deals to effectively ‘cleanse’ them.

Adding to the intrigue is the buyer’s mode of payment through Tornado Cash, which has gained notoriety for being the go-to instrument for individuals looking to hide their transaction origins, often raising concerns about potential money laundering.

Tornado Cash, while being a household name for privacy-savvy users, has drawn significant flak, especially from regulatory bodies. In August, Tornado Cash founders Roman Storm (34) and Roman Semenov (35) were charged with laundering over $1 billion through the platform.

The United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) slapped sanctions on the crypto mixer earlier this year due to its purported involvement in laundering illicit proceeds. Despite this, its service remains active, as highlighted by a $60 million Ether movement in July 2023, linked to a two-year-old heist from AnubisDAO.

In April and May 2022, Tornado Cash’s service was also allegedly used by (the now-sanctioned) North Korean cybercrime organization Lazarus Group, to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in hacking proceeds. 

Whether an honest mistake or a calculated maneuver, the CrypToadz NFT transaction has certainly left the crypto community buzzing with theories and speculations.

Editor’s note: This article was written by an nft now staff member in collaboration with OpenAI’s GPT-4.

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