NFT Marketplace Wars: Blur Tells Users to Ban OpenSea

BY Jolene Creighton

February 15, 2023

Yesterday, NFT marketplace Blur finally allowed users to redeem care packages for $BLUR, the platform’s native token. The event was highly anticipated and resulted in a significant market surge over the last month. Ultimately, the royalties-optional marketplace secured over $430 million in trading volume in the last 30 days. And yesterday, the money continued to flow.

The event saw several top traders rake in more than $1 million worth of tokens. According to data from DappRadar, Blur’s 24-hour trading volume was around $9.5 million, making it second only to OpenSea, whose trading volume was approximately $12 million.

Now, it seems that Blur is going toe-to-toe with OpenSea in a new chapter of the Web3 royalty wars.

In a blog post published this afternoon (February 15), the Blur team told users that they should block OpenSea’s NFT marketplace. Why? Because creators currently can’t earn full royalties on both Blur and OpenSea. Instead, they need to choose one to earn full royalties on — OpenSea or Blur, but not both.

This happens because OpenSea automatically sets royalties to optional when they detect trading on Blur. According to OpenSea, they have this policy to protect both creators and their own bottom line.

Blur vs. OpenSea explained

In a series of tweets posted in November 2022, OpenSea company outlined its rationale for banning royalty-optional marketplaces like Blur.

“In the economic downturn, many of those looking to sell their NFTs are trying to sell them for as much as they can. Moving their listings to marketplaces that don’t enforce fees is one way to do this. For collectors, this means NFTs they really want are increasingly likely to be listed on marketplaces that don’t enforce creator fees. Even if these collectors say they want to pay creator fees, they’re becoming more and more prone to buying on those marketplaces…Unless something changes soon, this space is trending toward significantly fewer fees paid to creators.” — OpenSea

OpenSea’s answer to this problem is to encourage individuals to prevent their NFTs from being traded on royalty-optional platforms. How do they do so?

In order for full creator fees to be enforced on OpenSea’s platform, individuals who created smart contracts after January 2, 2023, must take on-chain action to make royalties enforceable. In other words, OpenSea requires creators to use on-chain tools that prevent the sale of NFTs on marketplaces that don’t enforce creator royalties. Blur is a royalty-optional platform. As a result, users must block their NFTs from being sold on Blur to earn full royalties on OpenSea. If an individual opts not to do this, OpenSea automatically sets royalties to “optional” on these collections.

In short, royalty-optional platforms like Blur must be blocked, or OpenSea makes royalties optional.

Blur takes issue with this stance, claiming that creators should be the ones to decide where and how their items are sold — not companies. “Our preference is that creators should be able to earn royalties on all marketplaces they whitelist, rather than being forced to choose. To encourage this, Blur enforces full royalties on collections that block trading on OpenSea,” they wrote in the blog post.

They continued, “OpenSea has primarily cited Blur’s policy on old collections without filters as the reason for why Blur should still be filtered by new collections. Their proposed solution, however, has serious flaws….which is why Blur has taken a different approach that has a better chance of solving the issue for good.”

The response to the post was swift. Many members of the Web3 community took to Twitter and began posting about a new era in the royalty wars. It remains to be seen who will win this war. But for now, one thing is clear — creators are caught in the middle.

Editor’s Note: This was a breaking story and was updated.

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