OpenSea, the leading NFT marketplace, announced yesterday that it has decided to limit the number of NFTs that OpenSea users can create, attributing it to community feedback “on [its] creative tools,” reads the company’s announcement. But following a huge pushback from the creators, OpenSea reversed its decision within 24 hours.
Mega-successful projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club and similar PFP collections have totaled around 10,000 NFTs, but with this update OpenSea has decided to limit each user to five collections of no more than 50 NFTs (or 250 at total), with immediate effect. OpenSea users quickly began to complain, as they had received no advance warning to anticipate this change which impacted several projects already underway.
An OpenSea user by the name of HOLOHEADZ on Twitter had regularly created NFTs over several months from a collection believed to be 1,000 NFTs. At the time of OpenSea’s announcement, they had only issued 182 NFTs so far. “I spent many months preparing the items that I would then use for the collection,” HOLOHEADZ wrote in a DM to ART news. “It’s a huge hurdle.”
Several other NFT creators were in the same boat, stuck with assets they had spent months working on and could no longer deploy. And they didn’t know why. OpenSea has not provided an explanation for this update beyond community feedback.
Some users, including HOLOHEADZ, speculated that maybe OpenSea wanted creators to create collections that emphasize rarity rather than quantity, while others wondered if it had to do with a technical problem. (Despite being valued at $13.3 billion, OpenSea’s site crashes frequently, so limiting the load could in theory ease the strain on its technical infrastructure.)
It was only after announcing it would reverse its decision to limit the number of NFTs created that OpenSea said it had originally done so to prevent theft. “Every decision we make, we make with our creators in mind,” read OpenSea’s January 28 reversal announcement. “We originally built our shared storefront contract to make it easier for creators to onboard the space. However, we have recently seen misuse of this feature increase exponentially. Over 80% of items created with this tool were plagiarized works, fake collections and spam.”
The decision to adopt limits also followed OpenSea’s creation of a more robust customer service program, using some of the $300 million it had raised in Series C funding. there were not enough staff to handle support tickets. And some observers have gone so far as to suggest that OpenSea’s hastily announced decision to limit NFT (and its subsequent cancellation) was motivated by financial reasons: a half-hearted attempt to combat the rampant proliferation of “plagiarized works, fake collections and spam” that she has long neglected.
Pepi Martinez, a blockchain engineer who previously worked for NewKino, a digital production startup, said he didn’t fix the problem as he grew because he earned huge amounts of money. money in fresh money – tens of millions – thanks to NFTs being quickly minted and traded. “OpenSea has the same vulnerability as Facebook of not being able to check whether someone should create on their platforms or not,” Martinez said. “Because OpenSea wants this volume of trade, they don’t care if the art is stolen or not, just like Facebook won’t remove racist content because it wants clicks.” Essentially, Martinez said the company “can say, ‘Hey, we’ve tried something but nothing’s perfect, we’ll try to come up with something.'”
As the controversy unfolded, OpenSea users pointed out that instead of limiting the number of NFTs created, the company could have treated theft and spam differently so as not to control the extent of their collections. This includes OpenSea verifying all legitimate accounts created on its platform, not just big-name brands and artists, as well as using a machine learning algorithm to analyze images and their metadata on blockchains. and third-party marketplaces to check for plagiarism and copyright infringement.
Such technology already exists in the NFT space. DeviantArt, an online art gallery, last year implemented an algorithm to identify NFT theft, called the DeviantArt Protect Project. The program scans some 4 million NFTs each week, and since September it has sent more than 90,000 alerts to DeviantArt users reporting a potential violation of their NFTs, resulting in tens of thousands of successful takedown requests.
But many users are simply confused. An OpenSea user going by BoY, a member of the anonymous Books of Ye NFT project, wondered what the company was doing with the large investments it had received. “OpenSea has a huge war chest from some of the best tech VCs in the world. What are they doing?” he asked, adding that if OpenSea continues on its current path of disconnecting from the needs of its users, there could be a mass exodus from the platform. , other markets where we can distribute our assets Fortunately, we have no backs to the wall.