Bored Ape Yach Club Creator Calls To Respect NFT Artist Royalties

Bored Ape Yach Club Creator Calls To Respect NFT Artist Royalties
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As the markets moved to stop (or potentially stop) the application of creator royalties on NFT sales late last year, the creators of the Bored Apes Yacht Club made their position clear: they didn’t like it. With the launch of Sewer Pass NFT yesterday, Yuga Labs has taken direct action and blocked secondary operation in certain markets.

The Sewer Pass launched Wednesday for owners of Bored Apes or Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFTs, and serves as an access pass to the upcoming web game Dookey Dash. Only Ape NFT owners can mint a free pass, but Ethereum NFT passes can be freely resold through secondary markets.

Well, only in some markets.

As traders quickly discovered yesterday, the Sewer Pass cannot be traded on some platforms that do not fully apply the royalties set by the creator. Royalties are a commission—typically between 5% and 10%—taken from the NFT’s sale price and automatically paid to the project creator with each transaction.

OpenSea and X2Y2 have seen a surge in activity, with more than $19 million in total Sewer Pass trades since early Wednesday, according to data from CryptoSlam. NFTs start at 1.59 ETH (about $2,400) each, as of this writing, with “Tier 4” versions starting at almost 4.9 ETH (about $7,550) each on OpenSea.

However, marketplaces like Blur, LooksRare, and NFTX—which don’t require traders to pay full royalties to creators—apparently can’t transact with the pass. A Yuga Labs representative confirmed that all three markets are locked on the Sewer Pass smart contract, which holds the code that powers decentralized applications (dapps) and NFT projects.

“We’ve always been a creative company first, and we believe creator royalties should be protected,” a Yuga Labs representative told Decrypt, pointing to the founders’ November post on the matter. “The free Sewer Pass claim will only be operated on platforms that respect creator royalties.”

None of these blocked markets have made public comments on the matter as of this writing. Blur does have Sewer Passes, but they are all add-on announcements from OpenSea or X2Y2; sales are not made directly through your own platform. LooksRare has Sewer Pass NFTs listed, but has no record of them being sold. NFTX does not have Sewer Pass NFT listings.

The Yuga representative said that Sudoswap, a trading platform built around liquidity pools rather than traditional market listings, is also blocked from trading Sewer Pass NFTs, along with Blur, LooksRare and NFTX. Sudoswap does not honor creators’ royalty settings.

However, Sudoswap may be circumventing the smart contract as it shows NFTs that have been regularly bought and sold over the last day. Yuga didn’t comment on that specific detail when asked.

The debate over royalties

Yuga’s decision to block certain markets follows the launch of the OpenSea Operator Filter Registry blocking tool, which the leading NFT marketplace launched in November as it publicly reconsidered its stance on royalty enforcement.

Later, OpenSea committed to applying royalties to new projects using the tool, as well as to all old projects launched before a certain date. X2Y2, a rival NFT marketplace that had previously made rights optional for traders, said then that it would also adopt the tool and require full payment of royalties from traders of those projects.

Prior to the OpenSea move, the generative art project QQL—by Art Blocks artist Fidenza Tyler Hobbs and his collaborator Dandelion Wist—took its own move to block marketplaces that did not automatically require royalty payments. The platform claimed in a tweet that the move undermined the property rights of NFT collectors.

The royalty debate consumed the NFT space last fall, when some markets removed royalty requirements in an effort to wrest market share from incumbents. This is a controversial topic, and moves limiting the ability of NFT owners to buy and sell as they please have divided traders as some say it defies Web3’s ethos of decentralization.

In November, when OpenSea faced backlash from creators after stating that it was considering a model that required no royalties for all projects, three of Yuga Labs’ Co-Founders opposed the possible move in a blog post.

“OpenSea made their position clear that they intend to move in with the rest of the pack and remove creator royalties for legacy collections from their platform, while keeping their operating fee the same across the board,” the founders wrote. from Yuga, adding, “Not cool.”

Yuga Labs proposed a “allowed list” model that would allow NFT project creators to allow operation only in certain royalty-abiding markets, with list governance managed by a community-run DAO, or decentralized autonomous organization. However, OpenSea said then that it would continue to pay royalties on secondary operations of existing collections.

The Bored Apes Yacht Club is one of the most popular NFT projects in the world, with its associated collections exceeding $6 billion in total trading volume to date. The Sewer Pass allows access to the Dookey Dash game, which can unlock future NFT rewards for top players. The impending free claim boosted Bored Apes NFT sales over the past week.

Yuga Labs raised $450 million at a $4 billion valuation in early 2022, and also acquired the influential CryptoPunks project, becoming one of the biggest players in the Web3 space.

His earlier lobbying may have influenced OpenSea’s decision on royalty enforcement. We’ll see if he does the same now that the markets are missing out on Sewer Pass trades.

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