OpenSea, which deems itself the largest marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), is once again facing backlash. A few months ago, one of its executives, Nate Chastain, resigned after being caught using insider information to profit off NFT collections ahead of their drops. Recently, users became upset when the platform announced it was putting strict limits on its free minting tool.
'Every decision we make, we make with our creators in mind. We originally built our shared storefront contract to make it easy for creators to onboard into the space,' OpenSea stated on a Twitter thread. 'We didn't make this decision lightly. We made the change to address feedback we were receiving from our entire community.'
Minting and listing NFTs on high-end platforms such as Foundation, SuperRare, KnownOrigin and MakersPlace can be a costly endeavor. Depending on gas fees, a cost associated with writing data to a blockchain where NFTs live, it can run in the hundreds if not thousands of dollars to mint plus list an item.
The appeal with OpenSea is that users pay a one-time fee to get started. From there they can sell an unlimited number of pieces, another term for works of art. The platform typically takes 2.5% of the profits once the piece sells. This is why huge and influential collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club, Where My Vans Go, and Twin Flames are hosted there.
|To the left: a counterfeit piece from the Long Neckie Ladies collection I accidentally purchased. To the right: an authentic .jpeg that I recently sold. OpenSea will remove the fake NFTs after enough reports have been filed. Buyers, however, will not be refunded.
This past Thursday, OpenSea declared it would start limiting the number of collections users could mint to 5, and the number of pieces in each collection to 50. Once the uproar began, the company quickly reversed its policy. In the midst of the chaos, they openly admitted that 'over 80% of the items created with this tool were plagiarized works, fake collections and spam.'
As an NFT collector, myself, I've accidentally purchased a few knock off pieces on this platform. OpenSea has rolled out verification tools, and allows users to link their Twitter profiles. While the company continues to work on measures that protect its user base, it's wise to check in with a creator's Twitter account, join their Discord if available, and look out for official links there. Opening unsolicited Direct Messages usually results in getting your wallet, a tool that holds your cryptocurrency and NFTs, wiped out.