OpenSea NFT marketplace has decided to put a stop to its Operator Filter tool. This decision will not let NFT creators demand royalty fees on secondary sales of NFTs on other marketplaces. While OpenSea has its reasons behind this decision, it sure is bound to affect the creators of digital collectibles who wish to generate income from any sale of their digital artwork. The feature was first introduced in November 2022 by OpenSea to benefit the NFT creator community.
The Operator Filter tool, that will be made optional starting August 31, allowed NFT artists to blacklist those marketplaces that did not enforce royalty charges on secondary buyers.
The marketplace wishes to adhere to the principles of freedom of choice and ownership that the decentralised ecosystem boasts of, by giving buyers also an option to choose if they want to pay royalty charges to the NFT creators or not.
“The Operator Filter depended on support from everyone in the ecosystem to be successful and that just didn't happen. And perhaps most importantly, the potential applications and utility of NFT technology are too diverse for creators to depend solely on a single business model that only monetises resale,” OpenSea said in its official statement.
NFT collections that enable the Operator Filter tool on OpenSea before August 31 will be able to demand secondary buyers to pay the creators' preferred fees till February 29, 2024. Starting March 2024, the filter will be optional for these collections as well.
Concerned Web3 community members are pouring their reactions to the situation on X, with many calling OpenSea's decision a mistake.
Explaining itself, OpenSea wrote in its post, “to be clear, creator fees aren't going away – simply the ineffective, unilateral enforcement of them.
When OpenSea did mandate royalty charges, it was reportedly instigated by loads of requests to do so from the creator community.
The marketplace, at the time was desperate to balance its finances after monthly sales volume on OpenSea reportedly plunged to $700 million (roughly Rs. 5,500 crore) in June, down from $2.6 billion (roughly Rs. 20,600 crore) in May and a far cry from January's peak of nearly $5 billion (roughly 40,000 crore).
The platform had launched this feature last year as a “simple code snippet”, which when enabled, allowed secondary NFT sales on marketplaces that mandated royalty charges.
While some creators were happy to be minting some money from their art, OpenSea said it heard from some creators who said, “the Operator Filter limits their sense of control over where their collections are sold, and at the same time may collide with a collector's expectation of full ownership.”
In addition, other NFT marketplaces like Blur, Dew, and LooksRare found technical ways to go around this filter and still managed to avoid levying creator fees on secondary NFT sales.
These factors combined made OpenSea reevaluate its filter.
“The Operator Filter was meant to empower creators with greater control over their Web3 business models, but it required the buy-in of everyone in the Web3 ecosystem, and unfortunately that has not happened,” its blog noted.
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