Will the Real Mike Tyson (1/1 NFT) Please Stand Up?

The NFT 1/1 you’ve been waiting for is finally dropping today! You head over to the mint page, connect your wallet, and you’re ready to spend more than US-$100,000 to secure your one-of-a-kind grail. Excited, you click on “mint” and expect to own your newly minted NFT in seconds. However, the loading page time goes from seconds to minutes without an update.

Suddenly, an error message arises, and the hairs on the back of your neck start to rise.

“404? Wait, the image is broken?”

You start to realize that something is very wrong.

You contact the artist, and they say not to worry. Within no time, the minting platform creates a 2nd version and airdrops it to your wallet while retaining the original.

Wait. Isn’t this worse? Now there are 2 Mike Tyson NFTs that are supposed to be 1/1s (here and here). And one of them you own, but the other is still in another wallet?

The dilemma of duplicate NFTs

This isn’t a story of fiction. This actually happened to someone, and it happens to people all over the world all the time.

Which one is the real NFT?

How do we reconcile duplicate NFTs?

When it’s time to sell this piece, the owner is going to have a really hard time explaining why there are two versions of the 1:1. Even worse, the provenance (including all details about the purchase history and the bid history) is on the original, whereas the one in his possession does not.

This begs the question, how do we reconcile duplicate NFTs? Which one is real? Is it based on which one was minted first? The contract of who minted? The one that had bids and sale information? Or the one that the legitimate buyer has in his possession?

Now imagine that the buyer has both of the NFTs, does he get the ability to sell two of them? Or does he need to burn one (and which one? And how?) to legitimize it back into a 1:1?

What if the platform refuses to comply with this procedure? Or what if his purchase remained trapped on the platform without an airdropped copy? Would he have the authority to re-mint on his own behalf? Is there a social consensus around this? And who else would have the authority to re-mint in extreme circumstances? What is protecting the minter OR owner from losing thousands of dollars in value of digital assets?

There are simply no industry procedures or standards for dealing with duplicates.

If you figure we can just kick this down the road to deal with in the future, think that over for a minute. In a world where markets go up along with the number of chains, inadvertent duplication of NFTs will increase, and so will forgeries and scams.

How NFT software can help reconcile duplicates

As we already saw above, the problem of duplicate NFTs spawns numerous questions about how to resolve it, and each question branches into multiple follow-up questions.

But there is an aspect that none of the above questions touch. Recap these questions: They all revolve around the owner of the duplicate NFT. What can the owner do? And what consequences arise if the owner tries to reconcile the duplicate NFTs? If we try to locate the solution with the NFT owner, we fall down a rabbit hole of endless problems.

Likewise, the solution is also not to be found on the blockchain because the NFT and its duplicate are both immutable. As blocks get added, the NFT and its ghost twin are baked deeper and deeper into the chain of proofs.

No — we have to look elsewhere, but we don’t have to look far. There is a person who is at least as involved with an NFT as the NFT owner: It’s the artist. As the creator of the NFT, the artist has the ultimate authority to decide an NFT’s identity.

How can the artist make their decision incontestable and auditable for everyone? Through an attestation with a cryptographic signature. Here is where platforms like Atomic Sign and Atomic Lore come into play. Atomic Sign enables you to provably add any relevant contextual or historical data to an NFT. With Atomic Sign, an artist can create an attestation for the correct NFT and sign it with their wallet. From this point onwards, the duplication is resolved once and forever.

Now Fixed!

We’re happy to report that there are no more questions on this Mike Tyson 1/1. The true version has been updated with an attestation here (signed by the artist’s wallet). The other piece can remain in existence, but it’s not the original.

The initial attempt to purchase and mint the NFT occurred at contract 0xb8df793c5d7abedac69595fa5051b3844b335413 and token ID 0. However, there was and continues to be a problem with this contract. Therefore, this NFT was minted and is the correct and sole 1/1 of this work. I attest this as the NFT creator - Cory Van Lew.

Resolving Provenance Dilemmas

NFT artists! You can do this too. If any of your NFTs gets into a “Mike Tyson scenario,” you’re in the position to clarify and correct this information in a provable way. All you need is a capable attestation service like Atomic Sign. Contact us for more information on how to get started.

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