Last month, Tom Kuennen, a property manager from Ontario, coughed up $500 worth of cryptocurrency for a JPEG of an Elon Musk-themed “Moon Ticket” from DarpaLabs, an anonymous digital art collective. He purchased it through the marketplace OpenSea, one of the largest vendors of so-called non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, in the hopes of reselling it for a profit.
“It’s like a casino,” he said in an interview. “If it goes up 100 times you resell it, if it doesn’t, well, you don’t tell anyone.”
He never got the chance to find out. A week later, he opened up his digital “wallet,” where the artwork would supposedly be available, and was faced with an ominous banner reading, “This page has gone off grid. We’ve got a 404 error and explored deep and wide, but we can’t find the page you’re looking for.”