NFT Platform OpenSea Fails to Prevent Security Issues

An article by Vlad Hatze

A team of white-hat hackers discovered vulnerabilities in OpenSea’s smart contracts.

OpenSea is not actively mitigating platform risks by seeking out significant bugs in its code.

Security is the name of the game in every cryptocurrency interaction. Unfortunately, bad actors have high financial incentives to exploit blockchain bugs, as they generate tremendous financial returns. Thus companies regularly offer bounties for the discovery of bugs in their code.

OpenSea Has Another Bug

OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace by trade volume, hasn’t learned from its mistakes and has not been actively seeking out platform bugs which could severely affect users’ investments.

Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) user F*****GRUG, who develops and builds smart contracts for NFT and Web 3.0 as part of RUG.TECH, identified some potentially platform ending code on OpenSea.

Finding bugs is often lucrative, especially in blockchain. Companies are willing to pay millions for discovery of mission critical bugs. Opensea however pays next to nothing for discovering potentially platform ending errors in their codebase. (Thread)— fuckingrug.eth (@FUCKINGRUG) November 7, 2021

The error, as described by the developer, indicated that the bug made it “possible to mint NFTs that appear to be created by any ETH wallet you choose,” without consent, or any approval from the wallet owner.

He further underlined that, if such a bug were to be exploited, bad actors could create fake blue-chip NFTs (think BAYC), creating a “frenzy,” and ultimately draining millions, if not hundreds of millions.

If coordinated well enough this attack could potentially drain millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars from unknowing and over excited collectors.— fuckingrug.eth (@FUCKINGRUG) November 7, 2021

The Typical OpenSea Response

Developers typically reward those who identify their platform’s bugs with a bounty. In this case, OpenSea offered a bounty of 3 ETH for the vulnerability, while promising a further reward due to the critical nature of the bug. In the end, OpenSea rescinded the bonus offering, although the developers did help finish the troubleshooting.

In a screenshot of the email, Daniel Roelker stressed that the developer’s reports “fall in line with a lot” of their fraud efforts, indicating it does not solve the “collection owners vs. creators.”

After we were finished helping them troubleshoot, Dan sent this, doubling down on the initial 3 ETH. They waved a higher bounty over our heads while we were actively helping them, and then pulled back when the work was done. Awesome. — fuckingrug.eth (@FUCKINGRUG) November 7, 2021

On The Flipside

  • OpenSea is not actively looking to identify critical bugs in the code, like other crypto-related platforms are.

  • OpenSea has surpassed $10 billion in lifetime sales.

Why You Should Care?

OpenSea has faced criticism in the past for insider trading, and another bug that allowed bad actors to steal users’ crypto after creating malware-like NFTs.

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