Open Sea is going to stop selling NFTs because it suspects they have been stolen in order to stop scam artists. The company said in a post on Wednesday that it is starting to test a new system that will block people from buying NFTs if they are caught up in suspicious transactions.

The system will look at a number of industry data sources, as well as how the NFT was transferred out of the owner's wallet, according to Anne Fauvre-Willis, OpenSea's VP of operations, marketplace, and integrity. If it flags a transaction as suspicious, it will alert the NFT's previous owner via email, giving them a chance to report it as stolen and provide a police report using Open Sea's existing systems. The NFT will be unlocked if it doesn't hear back within a week.

Screenshot of an NFT with the warning: “This item is under review for suspicious activity and can’t be bought or sold right now. Please check back later.”
What an NFT flagged with this system will look like.
Image: OpenSea

Open Sea used to rely on people to report stolen NFTs so it could manually freeze transactions. In many cases, a stolen NFT was sold before the victim had time to react, according to the company. Over the next few months, the system will get more training as it launches in a limited pilot phase.

It can't stop the NFT from being flipped on another market that doesn't have a similar system. Despite a steep drop in sales volume and number of transactions over the past year, it is still the biggest NFT marketplace by a wide margin.

Future sales won't get you your NFT back. Once an NFT has been taken out of your wallet, the game is up, and there is almost no chance of it being reversed without the help of the thief. This system is similar to Apple's activation lock system, where it really doesn't do much to help you get your phone back, but it makes it less tempting to steal.

OpenSea is trying to cut down on malicious links shared on its platform by automatically detecting them via a list of known bad sites, as well as through simulations. As the company points out in its own post, most links to scam are shared off of its platform.

It is a small step in the right direction towards better security for the space. Trust and safety concerns are some of the biggest barriers to broader NFT adoption today, according to Open Sea. According to data from's market tracker, the NFT market has been stagnant for a long time.