The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicked off in Qatar, but whether various NFT projects score with the public is another matter. Lionel Messi’s non-fungible token drop with Ethernity and Cristiano Ronaldo’s collection with Binance took two of the world’s biggest stars to the blockchain last week.
Aside from World Cup fever, there’s plenty more going on in the world of Web3. Blockworks spoke to one of the artists behind an artificial intelligence-based NFT collection that sold out via Instagram’s recently launched NFT marketplace.
Here are some other notable stories that caught the eye of the Web3 Watch.
NFT royalties recap
While Instagram’s NFT marketplace requires creators to set 5% minimum royalty fee in case their NFTs are sold in the secondary marketplace, many other marketplaces have been eliminating royalties or going royalty-optional.
This has caused controversy within the NFT community because royalties or residuals were considered a cornerstone of NFT technology — a key (and to many, definitive) use case that enables artists to garner recurring income when their works are resold.
OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, almost made creator fees optional for traders on existing collections, while it also launched a tool that would let creators of new Ethereum NFT projects block marketplaces that don’t fully honor royalties.
Due to community pushback, OpenSea backtracked in a matter of days and tweeted that it would continue to enforce creator fees on all existing collections. They cited that the economic downturn was a major factor: “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.”
Marketplaces such as Magic Eden, the top Solana NFT market, gave customers the choice of whether to pay the creator’s fee when they buy an NFT. The theory behind this model is that it encourages collectors to keep using the site because of the lower fees. The worry is that it sets a bad precedent for creators.
LooksRare also eliminated creator royalties, but buyers can still opt-in to pay royalties at checkout if they wish. The marketplace will instead share 25% of the LooksRare protocol fee with creators and collection owners.
SuperRare, on the other hand, has a mechanism that gives collectors the same opportunity to receive royalties-based rewards as artists do. And X2Y2 recently announced that it would start enforcing creator royalties.
In reaction to OpenSea’s “part-solution,” Michael Powell, product marketing lead at layer-2 blockchain scaling solution Immutable, told Blockworks that “While this particular situation was resolved in favor of artists and communities, there are always risks of Web3 losing its vision and core principles, shifting it much closer to traditional centralized frameworks that are not so fair toward content creators and fans.”
He added that supporting creators will win out in the long run against “what can quickly become a race to the bottom to drive short-term user acquisition.”
Immutable’s response to the debate was to enforce royalty payouts and guarantee that creators can always add royalties to their collections rather than letting traders decide.
ApeCoin DAO launches marketplace; geo-blocks US APE stakers
ApeCoin DAO, the decentralized autonomous organization made up of ApeCoin (APE) holders, launched its own NFT marketplace for Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC), Bored Ape Kennel Club, Bored Ape Chemistry Club and Otherdeed for Otherside NFTs.
The marketplace, which is not officially associated with Yuga Labs, was built by NFT infrastructure company Snag Solutions. The company’s founder Zach Heerwagen tweeted that the platform includes “unique features built specifically for the BAYC and Otherside communities, including ApeCoin staking and NFT metadata integrations.”
He also added there is a reduced fee scheme for sellers: 0.5% fees on ETH sales, 0.25% fees on ApeCoin transactions, and the platform retains 0.25% of each sale in a multi-signature wallet to fund future DAO initiatives.
ApeCoin, BAYC’s Ethereum-based governance and utility token, launched in March but staking will go live on Dec. 5, the ApeCoin DAO confirmed on Nov. 24.
However, the US was added to a list of regions geo-blocked from using the APE staking service ApeStake. Canada, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Cuba, Russia and the Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine, Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk are also on the block list.
The DAO claimed that due “today’s regulatory environment, we had no good alternative.”
Mattel Creations — another day, another marketplace
Mattel, the toy manufacturer behind brands like Barbie and Hot Wheels, has also released its own NFT marketplace. Mattel Creations is built on the Flow blockchain, which also powers the NBA Top Shot project and is backed by Dapper Labs. The direct-to-consumer platform will not require users to use cryptocurrency to buy the NFTs.
The first NFT collection to drop will be a new series of the Hot Wheels NFT Garage project on Dec. 15, according to the company. This includes digital collectibles of 60 popular cars from McLaren, Chevrolet, Honda, Aston Martin and other brands. Holders of the rarest NFTs will be able to redeem physical die-cast replicas.
Mattel claims it is the first toy company to launch NFTs. Previous NFT projects include Barbie’s collection of digital collectibles in collaboration with fashion house Balmain, as well as the Barbie collab with the Boss Beauties NFT community.
The goal of the marketplace is to “to translate iconic Mattel IP into digital art,” stated Ron Friedman, Vice President at Mattel Future Lab. Other Mattel intellectual property includes Fisher-Price, American Girl, Thomas & Friends and UNO.