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The New NFT Marketplace by Andre Cronje is a Vampire Attack Suicide Pact

Artion, the new Fantom-based NFT marketplace, is more than just a soft launch: it’s an invitation to reshape the industry as a whole.

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As NFT behemoth OpenSea deals with the consequences of an insider front-running scandal, a new threat could emerge; an open-source competitor aiming to lay the basis for a vampire attack.

Andre Cronje has launched Artion, an NFT marketplace on the Fantom blockchain, after weeks of promoting the launch on Twitter.

Artion has a front end that looks strikingly similar to OpenSea, the undisputed NFT industry leader, which processed $3.5 billion in volume in August and is said to control over 95 percent of all NFT sales.

Unlike OpenSea, Artion’s code is completely open-source, and there are no fees associated with minting or acquiring NFTs. OpenSea features a flat 2.5 percent cost on all purchases and is built on Ethereum, a network that excessive fees have recently plagued. The cost of approving a contract transaction can easily exceed $15 in network fees.

Artion is preparing a powerful cross-chain market with an NFT token bridge, according to Cronje, and the platform will launch “on a new chain every week,” with Ethereum, Arbitrum, Avalanche, and Polygon as early targets.

Cronje also stated that he “encourages” forks of his new project – spin-offs that will siphon volume from Artion and OpenSea simultaneously.

Vampire coven

Artion appears to be a straightforward vampire attack on OpenSea at first glance.

Vampire attacks are a typical occurrence in decentralized finance (DeFi), in which a competitor to an incumbent protocol – commonly a fork of the “victim’s” code – offers higher incentives in the hopes of causing a liquidity migration.

Sushi, whose vampire assault in September 2020 caused the decentralized exchange to momentarily overtake rival Uniswap in the well-monitored total value locked (TVL) measure, is perhaps the most notable example.

Vampire attacks are frequently rationalized as ideological, even though they are usually mercenary. For example, sushi supporters claimed that a disproportionate number of Uniswap’s UNI tokens went to early venture capital investors. In contrast, according to supporters, Sushi distributes tokens more widely to users — a mechanism that better represents the open, permissionless essence of crypto.

Members of the community have long wondered if OpenSea may target a similar type of attack. OpenSea does not have a token and has spent the last year raising hundreds of millions of dollars in private equity rounds.

OpenSea raised $100 million in July with a valuation of $1.5 billion.

Starting fires

Despite being a target, Cronje stated that a direct vampire attack is “not my play.”

“We’re entirely open-sourcing it and encourage teams to fork it. There is a built-in fee mechanism, so anyone can turn it on and pay fees to token holders.”

For the “lifecycle” of the project, Cronje said that Artion will not charge for minting, listing, or selling NFTs, but that “we urge forks to take it and add a token” and that the technology is built to make adding fees and tokens straightforward.

Forks of Artion could theoretically provide token incentives for users who bridge NFTs from one chain to another, in addition to potentially lucrative platform usage fees.

Artion is, in fact, a marketplace that intentionally invites a vampire attack on itself – and, by extension, an attack on OpenSea.

Cronje said the ripple effects motivate him and the rest of the seven-person Artion team to spend months constructing a project that has the potential to be enormously successful but for which they will receive no definite remuneration.

He remarked, “I enjoy designing open protocols and then seeing what people can do with them.”

Cronje went on to say:

“I like starting fires.”

Attack-ready

The attack-by-proxy occurs at a particularly inconvenient time for OpenSea.

On Sept. 14, a viral Twitter thread revealed on-chain evidence that Nate Chastain, the then-OpenSea Head of Product, was buying pieces from artists before they were shown on the marketplace’s homepage.

According to community-sourced efforts, the executive, who has since amended his Twitter bio to reflect he has quit, profited as much as $65,000 flipping these works.

One significant distinction between the platforms, according to Cronje, is that Artion encourages third-party development and forks.

He described the platform as “developer-first,” saying, “Artion smart contracts are meant to support third-party [user interfaces] and on-chain only contracts.”

Artion will be released under a modestly modified version of the GPL-3 license, a prominent open-source standard that requires forks to start on Fantom first before moving on to other chains but is otherwise very permissive.

While the tools to start an attack are now openly available, Cronje estimates that viable forks will take up to a month to emerge.

“Even for a skilled team, getting acclimated to the code base should take roughly five days, followed by another 5-10 days for setup and deployment. So it’ll take 3-4 weeks to get a good fork,” he wrote.

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Shopify Expands Online Retailers’ NFT-Gated Options

Brands are able to increase the exclusivity of their shops thanks to the e-commerce platform.

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The future of e-commerce, according to Shopify, is in NFTs.

As a new option for brands wishing to make their stores more exclusive, the online retail behemoth, which enables small businesses to construct customized e-commerce shops, is providing NFT-gated storefronts, Shopify announced on Wednesday.

In the Shopify introduction video, which includes a skating woman who passes through a pastel portal and transforms into a Doodles NFT, a voiceover urges viewers to “invite their communities into a world that acknowledges and rewards devotion.”

The video explains that token holders can access special shopping opportunities by connecting a cryptocurrency wallet, including early access to drops and limited collections as well as one-of-a-kind experiences and other surprises.

Only individuals with existing NFT collections are able to apply for early access to Shopify’s “gm” shop, which is a gated merchandise store and a play on the Crypto Twitter acronym for “good morning.”

However, those that haven’t received approval yet can still integrate NFT token-gating apps like Shopthru or Single into their Shopify sites.

Shopify announced that it has already collaborated with the Adam Bomb Squad, Doodles, World of Women, Invisible Friends, Superplastic, Stapleverse, and Cool Cats NFT collections to develop token-gated shops as part of its token-gated business launch.

Shopify is introducing “IRL” token-gating in brick-and-mortar stores in addition to online token-gating, which restricts access to certain merchandise to authorized NFT holders exclusively.

Why is this important? The future of Web3 commerce will focus on exclusivity, for one thing. NFTs, which are distinctive blockchain tokens that denote ownership over an asset, are increasingly employed as membership cards, tickets to events, and “keys” to open benefits, despite the fact that they are frequently oversimplified as digital art or “jpgs.”

Additionally, this isn’t Shopify’s first venture into NFTs: The business has been involved with Web3 since last year, when it announced the launch of NFT sales on its platform. Brands can mine and sell NFTs on Shopify to clients using the Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, or Flow platforms.

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OpenSea, beware—Uniswap is pushing into NFTs

The NFT aggregation platform Genie is being purchased by Uniswap Labs, the organization that created the Ethereum-based decentralized exchange Uniswap.

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In a Bankless interview on Tuesday, Uniswap founder and CEO Hayden Adams said, “We’re attempting to transfer what we brought to the ERC-20 market to the NFT sector.”

You can buy NFTs—individual blockchain tokens that represent ownership—on a variety of different marketplaces, such as OpenSea, LooksRare, or Coinbase NFT. However, few allow consumers to buy many things at once, and none provide aggregation tools that let traders view listings on competing marketplaces.

According to Uniswap Labs on Twitter, “We see NFTs as another form of value in the burgeoning digital economy, and it’s a no-brainer for us to integrate them.”

The NFT aggregator Gem, which also enables customers to acquire numerous NFTs in a single transaction, was purchased by OpenSea just two months prior to the announcement of its acquisition by Genie. OpenSea intends to incorporate NFT aggregation functions into its primary platform, just like Uniswap.

A new tab dedicated to NFTs will be added to Uniswap’s main website later this year as part of the company’s push into NFTs, according to a statement from the company. Additionally, NFTs will be included in its developers’ APIs and widgets.

Uniswap Labs intends to airdrop an unspecified quantity of the stablecoin USDC to Genie’s early backers as a way to commemorate its acquisition. By April 15th, USDC will be given to everybody who had utilized the platform at least once or owned a Genie Genesis NFT. (The business had earlier tweeted that Genie Gem owners were eligible for the airdrop.)

Uniswap entered the NFT market for the first time in 2019 with Unisocks, an NFT that granted holders access to a real pair of socks.

The largest NFT market, OpenSea, has a floor price for Unisocks of 13 ETH (about $15,300) at the time of writing.

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NFT marketplace in Solana Magic Eden completes a $130M Series B investment with a $1.6B value

Over 90% of NFT trade volume on Solana is accounted for by Magic Eden.

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On Tuesday, Magic Eden, a popular nonfungible tokens (NFTs) platform on the Solana (SOL) blockchain with 112,927 SOL ($4 million) in 24-hour trading volume, announced that it had closed a Series B round for $130 million. The funding round was led by investors such as Electric Capital, Greylock, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Paradigm and Sequoia Capital valued the firm at $1.6 billion.

The newly-infused capital will be used to expand the company’s primary and secondary marketplaces, explore multi-chain opportunities, allow new hirings, and for use in research and development. Since its inception in September 2021, the marketplace now receives an average of 22 million unique monthly sessions and sees over 40,000 NFTs traded daily.

Magic Eden’s Launchpad has also onboarded over 250 projects to date. In addition, it offers customization, marketing support, and operational execution to new NFT collections coming onto the primary market. Meanwhile, its secondary market covers over 7,000 listings and sees over 92% of all NFT volume on Solana.

Furthermore, Magic Eden has also launched over 50 games and metaverse projects. In that segment, the firm oversees 90% of all gaming NFTs on Solana traded on its marketplace. Regarding the development, Zhuoxun Yin, chief operating office and co-founder of Magic Eden, commented:

“We’re thrilled to have the continued support of our investors and community and look forward to delivering on Solana and beyond.”

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