A series of transactions on the NFT marketplace Blur has captivated Crypto Twitter and sparked questions of legality after a prolific trader going by the name of Hanwe Chang duped a competitor into buying certain Azuki NFTs at an inflated price.

“[I] noticed that someone's bot was copying my bids on Blur, so I decided to trick him,” Chang said on Twitter, adding he had made a profit of 800 Ethereum with the strategy, netting close to $1.5 million.

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A relative newcomer compared to NFT marketplaces like OpenSea and SuperRare, Blur surged ahead in terms of trading volume earlier this year due to gamified incentives that reward users with tokens based on trade-related activity.

This includes rewards for users that bid on NFTs by trait, a practice in which Chang has become established, according to Blur’s leaderboards. Profile picture NFTs, including those from Azuki, often have unique qualities that can impact their value based on rarity, like eye color or clothing.

On Saturday, 12 Azuki NFTs that shared the specific background color “Off White A” sold simultaneously for 50 Ethereum worth $91,500 each. The previous Azuki NFT with an “Off White A” background had sold for less than 5 Ethereum or around $9,000—making it a massive, eye-catching markup.

The 12 NFTs appear to have been gathered by Chang in a digital wallet. A large chunk of the trades’ profits was then sent to a wallet labeled as “hanwe.eth” using the Ethereum Name Service after they had been completed, according to Ethercan.

Knowing there were bots out there copying his trait bids, Chang likely duped an unsuspecting trader into buying the Azuki NFTs at an elevated price by placing a bid on his own NFTs, an account that goes by A Raving Ape theorized on Twitter.

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A Raving Ape described the interaction as “an epic case of PvP” in the NFT market, invoking the term “player versus player” that’s associated with confrontations in multiplayer video games. But it seems not everyone involved was entertained.

The bot’s apparent owner, “elizab.eth,” stepped forward on Twitter to claim the “funds were stolen form [their] bot.” The trader wanted to discuss the possibility of bounty and said Chang could keep 10% of the funds if they agreed to return the rest.

The pseudonymous NFT influencer Dave III said Chang’s statement wasn’t very wise and warned others not to “brag about committing fraud,” calling his trick “illegal market activity.” 

“Placing bids you don’t want accepted solely to trigger other bids is the illegal part,” Dave III clarified in a comment on a separate post.

While some commentators pushed back against the notion of impropriety and said elizab.eth was simply outsmarted, Delphi Labs General Counsel Gabriel Shapiro appeared sympathetic.

"I unironically think [elizab.eth] might have good legal claims to get their ETH back from the bot 'trick' if they hire a skilled litigator,” he said on Twitter. However, Shapiro acknowledged that “legally, the issues are a bit more nuanced.”

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