Bitcoin billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are facing a lawsuit from a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) collector who says he’s being bullied into paying for Beeple NFTs he doesn’t want.
Art gallery owner Amir Soleymani told the New York Post that an April auction for Beeple’s spring collection “was like a trap.”
By placing the third-highest bid for Beeple’s Abundance on the Winklevoss-owned NFT marketplace, he unwittingly purchased the third editions of five different Beeple NFTs.
The Liverpool-based art collector says he was locked out of his Nifty Gateway wallet worth over $1 million after he refused to pay $650,000 for the NFTs he didn’t know he was buying.
Nifty Gateway has started legal action in New York to recover the money. In turn, Soleymani started a suit in UK courts to return access to around 70 NFTs locked in his Nifty Gateway wallet.
“I have participated in over 300 auctions both on Nifty Gateway and other platforms and fine art auction houses like Christie’s, Phillips and Sotheby’s,” Soleymani told Protos via a representative.
“[I’ve] never had any issues with any of them except this particular misleading auction method invented by Nifty Gateway,” he added.
Ethereum Foundation co-founder won first edition
Soleymani thought he was bidding on only the first edition of the artwork. However, the highest 100 bidders were opting in to buy physical and digital copies of later editions of Abundance, along with other Beeple pieces.
“I feel that they hid this information. I wanted Abundance number one, not number three,” he said (via the New York Post).
- Soleymani made an initial bid below $100,000 and stopped at $650,000.
- The first edition sold to Ethereum Foundation co-founder Taylor Gerring for $1.2 million.
- A Nifty Gateway employee then contacted Soleymani and asked him to make a payment for the NFTs.
When Soleymani questioned his apparent purchase, the Nifty employee suggested he check the auction’s terms.
Nifty’s Twitter thread regarding the auction explains the highest 100 bidders will receive “an edition” of Abundance, along with other Beeple NFTs — including physical copies inside LED display cases.
But the terms and conditions linked on the auction’s web page makes no mention of a bidding leaderboard, leaving room for confusion as to who would receive the prized number one Abundance.
Nifty Gateway said other participants understood the way the auction worked.
“[Soleymani’s] evolving story about his experience on Nifty Gateway continues to be detached from reality and the experience of other participants on our marketplace,” a spokesperson said (via New York Post).
Indeed, one Twitter user claiming to have participated in the auction told Protos they understood the terms.
They said via direct message that they got information about the sale on Twitter, Discord, and Nifty Gateway’s website.
Nifty Gateway quiet over unwanted Beeples
While Soleymani’s rep told Protos that Nifty Gateway has “been quiet through the saga,” a Nifty Gateway spokesperson told the Post they restored Soleymani’s access in June.
Soleymani said he only heard the claim that Nifty Gateway restored his access in Saturday’s New York Post article.
He’s currently working with lawyers to return his NFTs (despite Nifty Gateway stating Soleymani has access to his account).
Soleymani’s rep clarified that he’s never spoken directly with the Winklevoss twins.
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