GM, BFF: What do the NFT turf wars mean for the future of Web3?

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Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are not supposed to be about price speculation, said Marvel writer and Web3 author B. Earl in last week’s Twitter Space on Web3 Publishing. Rather, the culture of NFTs is about “mutual appreciation” — an artist and collector understanding one another through shared meaning.

But as we’re seeing amid this month’s turf wars between NFT marketplaces OpenSea and Blur, which surpassed the incumbent in trading volume last week, market influences and price speculation drive NFT culture as much as the art. In a February 15 blog post, Blur told users to ban OpenSea, while OpenSea has been experimenting with marketplace blacklisting since November 2022 when it rolled out a new system allowing creators to block trading on select marketplaces that didn’t honor their royalty preferences. 

Critics argue that OpenSea is using the rhetoric of “protecting creators” to conveniently suppress competition. Meanwhile, Blur appears to be turbo-charging the culture of price speculation, with its data-heavy interface displaying metrics  like rarity, bid history, floor price, trading volume and supply — with a tiny icon of the artwork itself.

Unfortunately, it’s artists who get caught in the crossfire when NFT marketplaces go head-to-head. And not to layer on more bad news, but we saw another rug pull this week — or did we? 

On February 21, the team behind the fRiENDSiES collection posted an announcement that the project, which raised more than $5 million in a Dutch auction last year, would be put on pause. Forty minutes later, the fRiENDSiEs Twitter account was deleted. It’s since been reinstated — but the fiasco shook community members. Is this what NFT culture has amounted to? 

To risk sounding cliché, it is, dear BFFs, too early to tell. What we can say is this: We are the ones who will determine what the culture of Web3 will be. We’re building it right now. With every DM, word of encouragement and critical question, we determine what behaviors and norms will persist or fade away.

It’s also worth recognizing that speculation exists in the fine art world, too, as we’ve heard from a few different panelists during our Twitter Spaces over the past few months. Each of the artists in our Space on the intersection of traditional art and Web3 acknowledged the importance of collector and investor relations as an artist, and Ana María Caballero last week said “just the fact that people are willing to invest in you as an author … and perhaps won’t read [your work] … I don’t see that it’s a problem.”

B. Earl, who writes comics and is minting his first book on the blockchain on March 1, compared the culture of NFT collectors with that of rare comic book collectors, noting the similarities: “At the end of the day it really boils down to the concept of fandom,” he said. 

But even if all motives for collecting and trading NFTs are valid — from speculation to true fandom — what makes every creator uncomfortable is the fact that marketplaces may end up being the ones holding the power to decide how artists get paid and where their art is available. And that logic, many argue, runs counter to why most artists were attracted to Web3 in the first place.

So what do you think, BFFs? What drives you to create, collect and trade NFTs? Do you do it to support your favorite artists, make lucrative profits or have receipts that you were an early adopter of Web3? Is there one “valid” reason for entering the NFT space?

Catch Up Quick

Web3 has a gender diversity problem—but we already knew that. Only 13% of Web3 founding teams include a woman, and only 3% have a team that is exclusively made up of women, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group and People of Crypto Lab.

Four more charges for SBF. The disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried faces four additional criminal charges of conspiracy.

A self-taught NFT artist’s tips for success. Thao Nguyen shares the breakthroughs and big breaks that helped her meet collectors and find community—as told by BFF contributor Janey Park. 

What can Web3 do for Syria? As the death toll rises from a second earthquake in the border region of Turkey and Syria—just two weeks after a larger quake killed more than 47,000 people—it’s important to revisit this piece on how to donate crypto through reputable projects.

Unstoppable Domains pledges a nonaggression pact. The Web3 domain company said it would not enforce a key patent for a smart contract-enabled domain naming process against other members of the Web3 Domain Alliance, a member organization consisting of dozens of blockchain naming firms.

Search just got more personalized. Artificial intelligence is supercharging search, making it more customizable and conversational. BFF contributor Carlee Godlouski dives in. 

Polygon lays off 20% of its employees. The company stated that the decision to lay off 100 employees was “painfully hard” but necessary as it consolidates its business units under Polygon Labs.

Google Cloud, meet Tezos. Just weeks after Tezos partnered with the California Division of Motor Vehicles, Google Cloud partnered with the open-source proof-of-stake blockchain to grow its Web3 app development and provide new services for its customers.

Spotify is testing token-enabled playlists. The feature—only available on Android—will allow holders of non-fungible tokens (NFT) to connect their crypto wallets for access to specially curated music.

Coinbase debuts its own blockchain. The rollout of Coinbase's new Layer 2 blockchain, Base, was full of glitches.

✨ BFF Updates

Save the date: BFF Fashion week will be March 20-23! 👗

From Our Founding BFFs

Journey Founder and Chief Metaverse Officer Cathy Hackl wrote a timely article for Forbes about what AI and the metaverse mean for brands. 

Online marketing expert Amy Porterfield spoke to Dr. Phil about being your own boss. 

Queen of Clubhouse” Swan Sit was included in an nftnow panel about how Web3 will change the gaming industry. 

We ♥️ Our Community

Congratulations to Özge & Berk Karayel, who received an Artist Profile with HUG through its partnership with BFF!  

Be sure to visit the artists' work on Formfunction.

BFF Events

Thanks for reading! We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to let us know what you think of this newsletter and what you’d like to see from it in the future by emailing

🚨 This newsletter and all the information in it does not constitute financial advice. If you don’t want to invest money or time in Web3, you don’t have to. As always: Do your own research.

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