Today (Feburary 17, 2023), the world’s largest NFT marketplace, OpenSea, made major waves throughout Web3. Without warning, they unveiled significant changes to their creator royalty and fee structure — changes that will have a dramatic impact on both collectors and creators who use the platform.
Just moments ago, the company published a Twitter thread on their feed. In it, they stated that the 2.5 percent fee that is tacked on to every transaction on OpenSea would be dropped to zero for a limited time. But the announcements didn’t end there. Following up on a controversial plan that the company unveiled back in November, the marketplace said it will be moving projects that don’t use on-chain enforcement tools — which is basically every project created before 2023 — to optional royalties. In other words, buyers are now free to decide whether or not they want to honor a creator’s royalty preferences.
Finally, OpenSea stated that marketplaces with similar policies would not be blocked by the platform’s operator filter.
Writing on the wall?
These announcements may come as a surprise. However, this move is part of a wider shift across Web3 — one that favors NFT collectors at the expense of creators. Why have marketplaces shifted in this direction? The numbers tell a simple tale. According to reports from Dune analytics, 80 percent of total NFT trading volume is attributed to zero-fee platforms. Buyers don’t want to pay royalties, and marketplaces want buyers.
Ultimately, the announcement comes just days after the NFT marketplace Blur, one of OpenSea’s top competitors in the space, published a blog post that told users to block OpenSea.
However, by some accounts, OpenSea was the one who started this war. OpenSea’s policies were framed in a way that didn’t allow creators to earn full royalties on Blur and OpenSea simultaneously. Instead, users needed to choose one platform to earn full royalties on. This happens because OpenSea automatically sets royalties to optional when they detect trading on royalty-optional marketplaces like Blur.
In their thread, OpenSea openly acknowledged the role that Blur played in their decision. “Recent events – including Blur’s decision to roll back creator earnings (even on filtered collections) and the false choice they’re forcing creators to make between liquidity on Blur or OpenSea – prove that our attempts are not working” they wrote.
The response from creators was swift and harsh. Chris Torres, the 36-year-old digital artist behind Nyan Cat, posted a tweet implying that OpenSea was exploiting artists for their own gain.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
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