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    Blur Royalty Update Includes Blocking OpenSea as Marketplace War Unfolds

    Stock up on some long-lasting food and survival resources, NFT marketplaces are going to WAR. Is this the WWIII we were preparing ourselves for? Should we pack up and flee the NFT battleground?  Am I exaggerating? Perhaps a little. But in all seriousness, the upcoming marketplace and aggregator Blur is heading head-to-head with the leading competitor Opensea. How? Well by initiating a provocative royalty statement of course. Blur royalties are now to be enforced fully as long as creators BLOCK Opensea. You can’t make this shit up! 

    Blur Royalty Update

    Blur, ever since its launch last October, has been fighting its way to lead the NFT marketplace ladder. After a series of $BLUR token airdrops, the native token was finally launched on Feb. 14, which skyrocketed the marketplace’s total volume! 

    The constant flipping and trading made by users to claim the BLUR token made Blur surpass Opensea’s 24 volume, according to DappRadar.  The upcoming marketplace has secured $520 million in trading volume in just 30 days!

    In the midst of the Twitter hype over the BLUR token, the marketplace dropped MAJOR news regarding its royalty fee. In a blog post, Blur announced an update to their royalty policy that included different options for how users can earn royalty fees on their platform. 

    However, the blog post and overall news were an obvious jab at the marketplace’s main competitor Opensea. By just reading the announcement, it’s clear that the policy update came as a provocative statement to Opensea more than the actual royalty system. Blur offers creators 3 main options for royalty fees, one of them encouraging users to BLOCK Opensea to earn full royalties on the Blur platform. 

    Blur Opensea

    Let’s dissect the different options Blur provides, Opensea’s initial Blur block, and the overall marketplace stance on creator royalties. 

    Optional Royalty Fees Debacle 

    Last fall, the Ethereum-based marketplace X2Y2 started the trend amongst marketplaces that encouraged collectors to set royalties, instead of buyers. This meant buyers could set a 0% royalty payment, stopping the creator from profiting. 

    Magic Eden and LooksRare followed X2Y2’s footsteps, joining the optional royalties trend. This has created a strain on what the NFT community is praised for; creators getting paid regularly with each secondary sale for something they made once. 

    At launch, Blur followed the optional royalty model like the rest of its competitors, only to shift to enforcing royalties on permissioned NFTs after a month. However, two months after launch, Blur finally began enforcing a minimum of 0.5% royalty fee to creators.  

    Queue in the leading NFT marketplace, Opensea. The marketplace considered the idea of following the optional royalty model, however, the backlash it received hindered it from doing so. To take a stance in the whole creator royalty charade, Opensea launched an on-chain royalty enforcement tool that allows creators to ban marketplaces that didn’t honor creator royalties. Thus, encouraging creators to deploy a blocklist for optional-royalties marketplaces. Who was on that list? That’s right. Blur. Just look at the top of Opensea’s blocklist. 

    Opensea's blocklist

    Opensea Bur meme

    Blur vs. Opensea: Bad Blood

    Ever since Opensea enforced the on-chain royalty tool, Blur has been preparing to fire back. Until now, Blur’s strategy to top the marketplace ladder has been successful. Surpassing Opensea’s 24-hour trading volume made Blur a legit threat to the dominant market. 

    After Blur’s decision to enforce royalties on new collections, @PacmanBlur requested the removal of the marketplace from Opensea’s blocklist, since it has met Opensea’s criteria. However, Opensea shot back at Blur’s request by claiming that royalty fees should be enforced on ALL collections, not just newer ones. Pretty petty I would say. 

    Blur even mentions this in its yesterday’s blog post saying that “OpenSea has primarily cited Blur’s policy on old collections without filters as the reason for why Blur should still be filtered by new collections”.

    After Opensea’s claim, Blur remained on its blocklist and thus, the leading marketplace won the first round of royalty wars. 

    But who got caught in the middle? Creators of course. After the Opensea/Blur divorce, creators were left with one of two options: 

    • Either trade on Opensea to ensure creator royalties, blocking any trade on Blur. 
    • Either trade on Blur and Opensea, without the enforcement of creator royalties. 

    According to @pandajackson42, most creators opted for Opensea with over 92% choosing the leading marketplace. This came with no surprise since the majority will prefer the enforcement of creator fees. Take a look at the chart below provided by Panda Jackson.  

    Blur vs Opensea Chart

    Blur’s Clever Seaport Loophole

    After Opensea’s clear unhealthy practices, favoring and nit-picking which marketplace suits their taste, Blur found a loophole. Opensea has developed a decentralized marketplace protocol called Seaport, which the leading marketplace is built upon. Seaport is completely open and permissionless, allowing anyone to use it. Who took advantage of this? Blur of course. 

    Blur leveraged Seaport to bypass Opensea’s blocklist. How? Well, Seaport is not on Opensea’s blocklist which allows collections that block Blur to become tradable on the marketplace. Hence, Blur deployed two systems to execute trades on its marketplace. 

    • Old System: Handles collections that do not block the Blur marketplace.
    • New System: Handles previous collections that previously blocked Blut through Seaport. 

    Blur Seaport Graphics

    Did Blur get away with it? It did actually. That’s because Opensea can’t block Blur’s actions through Seaport. Both Blur and Opensea are built on the protocol, thus, Opensea blocking Blur would mean that it blocked itself. 

    Blur Seaport

    Blur’s Royalty Options Initiating War

    February 16’s announcement made it clear that Blur means business. The marketplace announced in a royalty update that it considers itself a “marketplace that’s driven by the community.” And upon Opensea’s restrictive royalty rules, Blur gave its creators 3 options.

    • No Block Option: Creators can opt to trade on all marketplaces, not blocking any specific platform. However, this way, they won’t have the ability to block marketplaces with optional royalties. In this case, Opensea sets its royalty rules to optional while Blur gives a minimum of 0.5%.
    • Block Blur Option: Creators can opt to block Blur in order to get full royalty payments on Opensea. Opensea only blocks bidding on Blur, thus, trading and listing can still happen. In this case, both Blur and Opensea enforce a minimum of 0.5% royalty fee. 
    • Block Opensea (Recommended Option by Blur): Here’s where all the drama is circling around. This option includes Blur enforcing full royalty payments on collections that block trading on Opensea. 

    Blur Royalties

    Blur is encouraging its users to block Opensea by bribing them with Season 2 rewards. It is clear that Opensea’s blocklist pushed Blur towards such a solution. The Blur marketplace also mentions in its blog post how “OpenSea’s business benefits from having creators block Blur”. 

    Blur does give a 4th option being the “Don’t Block Either” option. However, this option is not likely to happen since it requires Opensea to lift the royalty fee policy. 

    Many took to Twitter the news and coined it as a “marketplace war”, and saying the Twitter community is on FIRE is an understatement. 

    Many users praised Blur’s brave move, calling it a God-tier step to overthrow Opensea once and for all. Some even opted to throw shade at Opensea.

    However, many raised a point of how Blur claims that creators shouldn’t make a choice between marketplaces, yet urge them to block Opensea. 

    Will Blur Become the New Opensea? 

    According to this tweet by Degentraland, it might. 

    And this user that claims he will never use Opensea again. 

    Some have also pointed out that the only thing left for Blur to win the marketplace race is to have a mobile app. 

    However, many claimed that although Blur is witnessing an epic surge in trading volume, it will not overtake Opensea. Many users made the point by retracing back to when LooksRare exploded and disrupted the whole market, just like Blur is doing right now. 

    Blur positioned itself in the market by being a leader in a specific niche: Pro Traders. However, many attribute the sudden rise in trading volume to wash traders and address Blur’s hypocritical royalty ban as a cheap shot at a marketplace war. 

    It’s unclear how Blur can sustain its current hype after the BLUR token drop, however, it’s very clear that the marketplace is riding on this wave, exploiting the community’s engagement to its fullest. We might see Blur keep this momentum for the upcoming month, however, things might or might not work for this upcoming aggregator. Let’s just hope that the marketplace war won’t leave creators stranded. Who knows, a new marketplace might emerge that solves all royalty payment issues.

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