Chubbies NFT Art gets stolen and then sold for 3.2 million dollars in ETH

Ideas getting stolen from their original creators and then toted as somebody else’s is not anything unheard of in pretty much every field. Unfortunately, NFT is not an exception to that and we recently learned about a case that we feel responsible for exposing.

Here’s an artist that created cute chubby animated illustrations pixel art in 2016 for a game he was developing at a time. Now bring in this company who takes the work and sells it for ETH as their own, without crediting (or even asking) the original creator.

The events

Pixel artist and design student that identifies himself as Hans on Instagram and Twitter makes it his work to create pixel art for games. In 2016, he created these super cute pixel characters, which were a part of a game he was making. The game’s name in development is “Mascot Girl,” and it was already getting some attention.

Cue in four days ago (Apr 9), and Twitter brings to the creator’s attention that a company known as ChubbiesNFT is using his art. Not only that, but they have sold them all, earning themselves a whopping $3.2 million. When “Chubbies” and Hans’s artwork are compared, you can see that the art and animations are almost identical.

Left: pxlhan’s art(2016), Right: Chubbie’s plagiarized art(2021)

Social media and Discord blew up on comments about the events. The price of a Chubby dropped from 1 ETH to 0.04 ETH. People who had bought the NFT on Chubbies felt scammed and, within their high moral grounds, were not ok with having purchased from a project who stole the art and animations.

The original creator: who is pxlhns?

Hans presents himself as a “Welfare pixel artist and professional dungeon crawler,” which gives you an idea that he is a gamer and talented creator of pixel art.

In 2016, Hans created art for a game he was developing named “Mascot Girl.” This artwork was used for the game and, presently, still using some of those ideas to create a new game.

There is not much information on him or his whereabouts, but you can tell he lives for his art and is pretty gifted. We can only imagine how it feels to see someone profit over 3 million dollars selling your work as their own project.

Chubbies vs pxlhns

When it was known that the art had been stolen, Discord and Twitter users made it clear that this one would not go unpunished. Given that the NFTs made Chubbies $3.2 million richer, it is probably expected.

B&W Punks has seemed to come out on the claims.

In the bwpunks tweet, Bwpunk compares using Han’s work to being inspired by other projects like cryptopunks, pokemon, and waifusion. Bwpunks writes that he is in the process of putting Han’s name on their website as inspiration. He also writes that they will release the code used to generate the characters. It’s common practice that projects release their code as open-source after a successful raise, so bwpunks has agreed to release the code in response to allegations of stealing Han’s work. However, he still has not done that. After the statement, he has gone completely silent about it. They contacted Hans to start negotiations, but these have not touched base since their offers do not really seem fair. In conversations with Hans to reach an agreement, B&W Punks still talk about “inspiration” when referring to how they used this art from 2016.

The artwork was used without Hans’s permission way beforehand. This company only contacted him once there were tweets and messages in the chubbies discord on how bwpunks stole the work, which was days after all the chubbies were sold. As conversations about the stolen art on Discord started blowing up, the mods started banning people who mentioned it.

We stand against these types of scams

Of course, we are all in when it comes to protecting intellectual and artistic property. We feel sad that events like this help perpetuate the idea that everything related to NFT is a scam.

Artists have rights, and these apply to NFTs just like with any other good. Supporting art that is now clearly known to have been stolen is definitely not ok. We stand by original work and following all the correct procedures that entail fair negotiations.

The damage has been done, and we can only wish that Chubbies really stands up and recognizes and compensates for it. We believe in inspiration and usage of others’ art when you fully credit them, which was not done with Hans.

Latest news

To this day, no agreement has been made between Chubbies and Hans. Right after their Discord announcement, B&W Punks has not made any clear statement about it, except this:

B&W Punks still plans to continue using the art. Some of the community/mods say there’s no recourse because bwpunks is anonymous. Hans has joined the chubbies discord, hoping to reach a solution.

What do you think is the best solution for Chubbies and Pixelhans? Let us know your thoughts!

Founder @BoxSwap, Previously Engineer @Facebook @Amazon