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What do you mean NFTs can now by cloned by ‘Mimics’?

Cointelegraph Magazine | Kelsie Nabben | May 31, 2022

Mimics cloning NFTs - What do you mean NFTs can now by cloned by 'Mimics'?In the precariousness of Web3 open-source code, iterative development and “move fast” ethos, things break [and] things are also made. A new project allows anyone to create a copy of someone else’s NFT, aptly named “Mimics.”

Cloning your NFTs

Anonymous Founder, Mimics:

I think I just broke the NFT market

It turns out that art NFTs have a line of code in them called “tokenURI” or “URI” that acts like a pointer to the image being displayed. As the code is public, you can redirect your own NFT to make it look like anyone else’s. If you want your NFT to display a Cypherpunk, a Bored Ape, or how about a Pudgy Penguin?

See:  After you die what happens to your digital assets and NFTs?

This means that your rare and expensive cartoon image NFT can essentially be cloned, not just by right-clicking copy-save as, and making another NFT of the same image but as a verifiable copy that has remnants of the real thing through code. Users rushing to clone a Bored Ape should beware, however:

Joni Pirovich, Crypto lawyer:

This could be a blatant breach of copyright or other IP.  To determine rights that attach to the ownership of the token, and any image or metadata associated with the token, the buyer should try to identify whether any terms and conditions and any IP license applies to the ‘sale.

What does this mean?

At this stage, Mimics don’t have implications for NFTs beyond artworks (such as copying NFTs with distinct functionalities to attest to membership). Only the metadata such as name, description, media and other attributes that are provided by the tokenURI can be mimicked. Instead of being “law” to provably enforce the rules of the system, code here is the undermining factor in NFT security.

See:  UK Court recognizes NFTs as ‘private property’

Mimics prove the thesis by well-known cryptographer “Moxie” that crypto lacks cryptography in some respects — referring to cryptographically secure components of the codebase that make aspects of unique ownership provable, private and/or permissioned. Ironically, someone has already used the mimic contract to copy Moxie’s NFTs.  The purpose of a blockchain ledger is to prove provenance, yet it is still extremely difficult to verify that an NFT is from a legitimate artist.

Current NFT standards do the opposite of protecting your art at the code level.  Maybe this article and the associated code will provide some impetus” for a future where ERC standards are improved and iterated on and become even more widely adopted. The goal is to build a better standard for their information infrastructures.

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