OpenSea, a leading decentralized marketplace for trading non-fungible tokens (NFTs), has unveiled significant modifications to its creator fees policy. The platform, which has been at the forefront of the NFT revolution, is making these changes in response to the evolving dynamics of the web3 ecosystem.

In November 2022, OpenSea introduced the Operator Filter, a tool designed to empower creators by allowing them to restrict the sale of their collections to specific web3 marketplaces that enforced creator fees on secondary sales. The intent was to provide creators with more control over their web3 business models. However, the success of this tool hinged on the collective adoption by the entire web3 community, which unfortunately did not materialize as hoped.

In a blog post by Devin Finzer, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of OpenSea, the following key changes were announced:

  1. Sunsetting the OpenSea Operator Filter: Effective August 31, 2023, the Operator Filter will cease to block any marketplaces. This decision comes after observing that several web3 marketplaces, including Blur, Dew, and LooksRare, found ways to bypass the Operator Filter, thereby avoiding the enforcement of creator fees on their platforms.
  2. Transition to Optional Creator Fees: From August 31, 2023, OpenSea will transition to optional creator fees, reflecting the platform’s commitment to the principles of choice and decentralized ownership. This means that while creator fees will still exist, their enforcement will no longer be unilateral.
  3. Enhanced Clarity for Buyers and Sellers: OpenSea is introducing features to make it easier for buyers to identify listings that include the creator’s preferred fees. Sellers will also have an easier time selecting or customizing their creator fees during the listing process.

OpenSea’s reflections on the challenges faced by the Operator Filter highlighted three primary observations:

  1. Ecosystem Support Was Lacking: The Operator Filter’s success was contingent on unanimous support from the entire web3 ecosystem. However, the majority of trading volume continued to gravitate towards zero creator fees, indicating a lack of widespread adoption.
  2. Balancing Creator and Collector Interests: Feedback from creators suggested that the Operator Filter sometimes limited their control over where their collections were sold. This occasionally clashed with collectors’ expectations of complete ownership and control over their purchased NFTs.
  3. Diversifying Revenue Streams for Creators: OpenSea believes that the potential of NFT technology extends beyond a single business model. The platform is keen on empowering creators to explore diverse revenue streams beyond just resale monetization.

In practice, these changes will be rolled out on August 31, 2023.