CryptoKitty stolen from Ethereum wallet turned artwork

IAMAKitty appeared to have been swiped from an Ethereum wallet—however, all is not as it seems

An image of the CryptoKitties website
CryptoKitty is a virtual game hat based on the blockchain

An Irish conceptual artist and one of the first to use blockchain technology as a medium to release his works, Kevin Abosch, reported that one of his pieces had been swiped from an on-chain installation.

The installation is an Ethereum wallet that he has converted into a network, entitled “Stealing The Contents of This Wallet Is A Crime”. It was made in 2018.

The artist revealed in a tweet that one of his virtual pets named the IAMAKitty after his own work, was taken from the crypto wallet.

Abosch created the wallet as a part of his social experiments that challenge value systems. It is a conceptual framework that is made, with mechanics that fit particularly for the world of cryptocurrency. Part of the wallet’s designed included tokens that were deposited to the wallet from one of his other pieces, entitled “I Am A Coin” (2018), where Abosch tokenised himself by undergoing a process which involved his own blood to distribute ten million tokens with the “IAMA” ticker.

He described the “Stealing the Contents…” wallet as a collaborative playground for explorers. For the most part, participants responded with goodwill and humour. Art fans who were familiar with the Ethereum technology played with the occult implications of the blood tokens, such as moving .666 of IAMA in and out of the “Stealing the Contents…” wallet.

“I think people just wanted to interact with and therefore become part of the art in a sense”, the artist mused.

According to the community members, this was what made the theft that occurred on Friday seem out of place. The idea of someone stealing a CryptoKitty named in honour of Abosch’s work seemed especially mean-spirited.

However, it was later revealed that Abosch himself was the one to take the artwork. He explained that he had been informed by a friend that the kitty had been deposited in the wallet, and assumed that it was a gift given to him by Dapper Lans.

Abosch has clarified that this will not be a part of a larger art collection or NFT collectables. He also revealed his dismay with several blockchain-based art trends, such as that surrounding the valuations of digital art being rooted in their rarity.

“Many so-called crypto-artists are minting NFT’s but are only using blockchain technology as a tool to engineer scarcity and as a platform to sell their work. I’m not making a qualitative assessment of the work — only challenging the nomenclature. Of course, there are artists whose work deals thematically with cryptocurrency, blockchain technology […] which seems better suited to the term crypto-art”, he explained.