Nov 7, 2022 - Economy

OpenSea plans to enforce NFT royalties on-chain, strong-arming debate

Illustration of an incredibly large and thick frame around a very small miniscule image.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

OpenSea is embracing creator royalty payments, rolling out code to embed fee requirements right into smart contracts.

Why it matters: The leading NFT marketplace operator will enable recurring payments on-chain, even as the rest of the industry appears poised to break from them.

  • NFT marketplaces at large have been nixing royalties on the premise that it was poor business in a market defined by sapped trading volumes and substantial decline in prices.
  • In effect, OpenSea is going off-trend.

Driving the news: Starting Nov. 8, OpenSea will enforce creator fees for new Ethereum NFT collections, the firm's CEO and founder Devin Finzer announced Saturday.

What they're saying: "We believe creators should have the power to build the collections and communities that they desire, and buyers and sellers should continue to have the freedom to choose which collections they do and don’t engage with," Finzer said in a blog post.

Yes, but: The premise of that freedom to choose begins to look dubious for a hypothetical buyer of these royalty-enforced NFTs.

  • The very code that would empower creators would also limit owners from selling their wares on certain venues.

How it works: The code Ethereum NFT creators can insert into their newly created collections' smart contracts bar them from being traded on other NFT marketplaces that don't enforce royalties.

  • Since so many other NFT marketplaces have decided to go to zero royalties or make them optional on their respective platforms, OpenSea's code seems to point to more closed doors than open ones.
Go deeper