OpenSea CEO discusses future of company, NFTs, crypto market

Speaking at a TechCrunch crypto event in Miami, OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer discussed the future of his company, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the crypto market.

First, he brought up the topic of gaming. Early in his conversation with host Anita Ramaswamy, Finzer argued that the scope of NFTs is “quite diverse,” saying that NFTs in games had seen an “explosion in innovation.” The CEO also mentioned gaming as a potential market for NFTs to increase customer interest.

He also explained that the combination of gaming and digital assets had proven to be a popular theme for press attention and founder activity. However, during the 2021 crypto boom, much of the focus was on play-to-earn (P2E) games like Axie Infinity.

When looking at the NFT market space more broadly, Finzer argued that adding platforms like Instagram to the industry would bring positive changes. According to him, NFTs from social enterprises give regular people an entry point into the crypto market.

The prospect of NFTs may be less centered on crypto than it should be. Finzer mentioned the latest Reddit NFT effort in a discussion about trust, consumers and crypto in general and argued that almost all NFT Redditors need to be made aware that the products are crypto-powered.

Current NFT climate

NFTs increased in value during the 2021 crypto boom. In January, OpenSea emerged as the clear market leader, earning a $13.3 billion valuation and controlling an estimated 90 percent of the overall NFT market.

After that, NFTs had a rocky road. Trading volumes fell by more than 90 percent since their peak in January, prompting exchanges like OpenSea to reduce their workforce. And competition is increasing for OpenSea in particular, as newer newcomers such as Magic Eden threaten its dominance and rumors of an OpenSea IPO fade.

After rival marketplaces had announced that they would make it optional for brokers to pay creators for NFTs, OpenSea said it was starting to rethink its policy of imposing creator royalty fees.

“Unless something changes soon, this space is trending toward significantly fewer fees paid to creators,” OpenSea wrote. “No policy that we implement will reverse this trend if this behavior continues.”

Then, to appease its community, OpenSea announced that it would continue to enforce creator royalties on NFTs following significant backlash.

“We will continue to enforce creator fees on all existing collections,” the company said on Twitter. “We’re awed by the passion we’ve seen from creators and collectors alike this week. We were looking for your feedback, and we heard it, loud and clear.”

On November 9, some NFT creators, including Bobby Kim, co-founder of The Hundreds, announced their decision to cancel the official launch of their NFT collection on OpenSea. They wanted to see if OpenSea would stand firm to protect creator royalties for existing collections.

“May it be a reminder to them, to you, and the world that the artists are always in control,” The Hundreds founders wrote.

On the platform, an NFT creator determines the royalty fee, which usually ranges between 5 percent and 10 percent of the secondary sale price.