It’s been a rough week in the NFT markets, as liquidity has been down, floors are dropping and the FUD seems nonstop - with the latest news including some pending regulatory impact. But there’s been some really good news too, and we’ll hit it all in today’s update.
- Regulatory Impacts Hit NFTs/Crypto
- DrifterShoot’s Big Day
- Ukraine NFT Fundraising Hits New Levels
Regulatory Impacts Hit NFTs/Crypto
On Tuesday of this week we saw the headlines start to roll in - “SEC scrutinizing NFTs”. This caused a bit of an uproar and a lot of speculation across NFT twitter, especially ahead of big upcoming NFT token drops such as $ape on the horizon.
Then yesterday, two major events transpired tied to that regulatory theme. First, MetaMask/Infura appeared to block all Venezuela users, and then OpenSea pulled Iranian artists from their platform.
The MetaMask issue was caused by Infura, their RPC, which appeared to block all Venezuela users by IP address from using its service. Folks were quick to point out that the RPC could be replaced by a different provider like Alchemy, or the users could leverage a VPN, but the underlying issue remains - that a user base was cutoff from using a fundamental crypto service from a major provider. And both MM and Infura are owned by the same parent company ConsenSys, so regardless of MetaMask being "decentralized", its parent company is clearly not.
Then, news broke that OpenSea had pulled collections from its storefront from Iranian artists / founders, even those that had transacted hundreds of ETH. These NFTs can not be found via search on OpenSea, and users are forced to other marketplaces to view / transact with these NFTs (i.e. Rarible). This action seems tied to US Sanctions rules and potential violations (it is against US sanctions for US citizens to conduct business or provide goods/services with Iranian citizens in Iran at this time).
Details of both separate issues aside - it’s clear that the NFT and broader crypto space, and its primary providers, are in for some upcoming regulation and scrutiny. And the topic of centralization vs decentralization will become more and more important.
DrfiterShoot’s Big Day
On a very positive note, famous Photo-NFT artist Drifter Shoots had an amazing day at Sotheby’s in London on Thursday, as his Where My Vans Go piece "Whatever It Takes" sold for 95 ETH. This was a new all time high for Drift, and the final sale price was 10x the Sotheby’s projections for the sale price (which were clearly laughably low).
What makes this story even better is that less than 1 year ago, Drift was in jail and simply trying to become a free man. He was successful in that endeavor, and went on to have one of the most successful years of any artists in the NFT space, with his pieces trading for over 2600 ETH ($7mm+)
Drift’s set Where My Vans Go (available on OpenSea) now sits at a 59 ETH floor for his series of 118 photos of his vans (shoes) in extreme places. See the collection here: https://opensea.io/collection/where-my-vans-go
Ukraine Fundraising Continues
Two huge Ukraine charity auctions were announced on Thursday.
First, famed NFT collector Rudy Adler announced he was auctioning off Ringer #376 with all proceeds going to NGO’s supporting Ukraine. This special ringer is not only one of the most rare in the collection, it’s also one of the only to include the blue and yellow color palette (same as the Ukrainian flag). Another blue and yellow ringer sold for 400 ETH last summer, and given that the top Ringers have commanded upwards of 2100 ETH, this auction could go pretty high (current high bid is 80 ETH).
Not to be upstaged, arguably the top crypto artist in the NFT world XCopy announced a new mint with all the proceeds going to “victims of the Ukraine invasion." The piece titled “Special Operations” features a large glitch skull against a series of woman and children holding hands in front of it. And the tagline reads “mother love > bombs”. Given X’s last few pieces have gone for 200+ ETH, expectations are high for this one as well. The current high bid is 55 ETH.
It's nice to see some positive things happening in the space - don't let the negative news get you down. Have a great weekend!