OpenSea, a leading NFT marketplace, is altering its creator fee structure, making these fees optional for new collections starting August 31, 2023, and disabling the OpenSea Operator Filter, which enforced these royalties.

Launched in November 2022, the Operator Filter aimed to empower creators by restricting sales to web3 marketplaces that enforced creator fees. However, the lack of universal buy-in led OpenSea to end the unilateral enforcement of these fees. Existing collections using the Operator Filter will have royalties enforced through February 29, 2024, after which they will be optional.

The decision has sparked mixed reactions on social media. Cygaar, a software engineer, commented on the inefficiency of the current model, saying that it “doesn’t work.” borovik.eth criticized the decision as a “massive mistake,” adding, “Opensea is removing ALL creator royalties. They still have a 2.5% fee for themselves which means traders will still continue to use blur but now artists who relied on opensea to sell their art are being even further screwed. Big L.”

Twitter user @0xngmi expressed surprise at the lack of attention the change received, stating, “wild that the biggest nft platform pushes a change that will kill royalties, therefore changing the fundamentals of the nft market and tweet only has 29 rts during bull markets asinine tweets from opensea had thousands of rts.”

OpenSea’s move also coincides with increased competition from platforms like Blur, which has surpassed OpenSea in trading volume. The aggressive strategies of competitors have challenged OpenSea’s market position.

The elimination of enforced creator fees signals OpenSea’s struggle to retain users against challengers who disregard certain crypto community norms, such as prioritizing creators’ rights. This shift in values is indicative of the industry’s evolution.

In addition to the creator fee changes, OpenSea continues to charge a 2.5% platform fee on every NFT transaction, unlike some competitors. The OpenSea Pro version does waive this fee, with conditions tied to creator fees.

OpenSea’s changes reflect the complex, rapidly changing NFT market landscape.  OpenSea’s latest move on creator fees underscores these shifting dynamics and the ongoing debate over how best to support creators in the decentralized digital art world.