Open edition (OE) is now officially available. Millions of artists and Web3 developers built claim pages for open-edition mints in 2022. As it shakes off the icicles of 2022, the NFT community has flocked to them, generating millions in revenue and reviving the crypto art space. OEs boost participation in the NFT ecosystem, increasing the opportunities for fans to purchase an artist’s work and expanding their community.
Open NFT drops have no supply cap
Depending on who you ask, this sounds like good news. Open editions, especially 1-of-1s, diminish the value of an artist’s work and are feared by some collectors while being praised by others. Workplace outcomes in the long run are unknown.
To comprehend these worries and the reasons behind the open editions’ startling rise, we analyzed the data and spoke with artists and collectors who are most familiar with the OE trend. First, comprehend the background to this upswing.
How did open editions grow in popularity?
Open editions are NFT drops that don’t have a supply cap, letting collectors create as many tokens as they want during a specific time frame (usually within 24, 48, or 72 hours). They can be open-ended, though it’s uncommon. Although Beeple famously dropped three open editions on Nifty Gateway in 2020, the open edition drop method is not new to NFT, the recent volume of OEs is unprecedented. Recently, Marcel Deneuve, Terrell Jones, and Lucréce have all gotten in on the OE rush. Communities and fans both adore mints.
In 2022, popular artists began experimenting with open editions, and platforms like Manifold and Zora helped democratic minting infrastructure spread. Such experimenters include Grant Riven Yun and Isaac “Drift” Wright, the NFT photographer who, to mark his release from prison a year earlier, published First Day Out as a 24-hour open edition in April 2022.
That drop sparked a discussion about the NFT market’s utility and whether or not artist works—OE, 1-of-1, or limited editions—need to have greater worth or use for collectors. It also made people wonder how such declines would impact the price of a famous artist’s one-of-a-kind pieces.
Two NFT market protocols, Manifold and Zora, have contributed to the OE craze. On Zora, Jack Butcher debuted his well-known NFT project Checks VV. Nearly 240,000 wallet addresses have minted an edition, either fixed-sized or open, since its Creator Toolkit went live in May 2022.
While fixed-size edition drops have accounted for the majority of the platform’s 8,500 contracts so far, this ratio is quickly shifting. The 1,525 primary sales volume and more than 16,000 secondary sales of Zora’s Creator Toolkit are explained by OE drops, according to Zora’s Dune analytics dashboard. Due to a statistical shift in the type of collection users are building on the platform since January, the open edition has reached a turning point.
Artists and collectors criticize open-edition fever
Influential NFT collector, influencer, and Web3 builder 33NFT of open edition popularization said, “It all depends on where an artist is in their career. I think most people would rather own a 1-of-1. Back in the day, XCOPY was selling 1-of-1 artworks on SuperRare for around $100, and he fully deserves to be where he is today. But now, newer NFT artists rarely want to sell 1-of-1s for that much and want more notable dollars quicker. If they don’t yet have that demand, maybe they think they can pay their bills with an OE.”
Beeple’s 2020 open edition release with Nifty Gateway was praised by the collector. During that drop, Bull Run, Infected, and Into The Ether all sold for $969. 33 considered the OE drop’s high price and low volume to be a good compromise between usability and value preservation rather than an artist’s ICO (ICO).
“Generally, I wouldn’t recommend any artist to drop an open edition until their 1-of-1s have become unaffordable for most,” 33 added. “There should also be a good reason for the open edition. I’d much rather see a limited edition of 50, 100, or 1,000 if the artist so wishes. But I like to know what that number is.”
Certain creatives are against scarcity. Open editions, in the opinion of visual artist and sci-fi futurist Marcel Deneuve, can balance the NFT community and prevent affluent collectors from monopolizing the market.
Deneuve said that “1-of-1s are for a very specific group; only a few can afford them.”
Deneuve has recently earned several NFTs on Manifold, and he believes the community has reacted favorably. Like other collectors and artists he speaks with, Deneuve is willing to consider the drop options that his collectors ask for.
Deneuve says, “As long as folks ask me to make it, it is a success. I will continue doing both types of drops, but my focus is definitely on OEs. Even though too much supply is bad for artists, I think the concept of scarcity is a bit overrated.”
Future of NFTs Open Edition
Some artists worry about the unintended consequences of open editions. A well-known NFT photographer and artist named Cath Simard recently tweeted about her interest in and reservations about the open edition. Grant Riven Yun, a leader in the NFT and a minimalist artist, thinks that a larger number of inexpensive 1-of-1s are better for artists and collectors than a large edition of a single work.
33NFT advises assessing open editions separately. As the NFT space changes, what works for one artist might not work for another.
It depends on the stage of an artist’s career, the 33-year-old said. Most people desire a one-of-a-kind. XCOPY earned his success by selling 1-of-1 artworks on SuperRare for $100. Newer NFT artists rarely sell 1-of-1s for that much because they want more money faster. They might believe that an OE can pay their bills if they don’t have that demand.
Artists should be cautious of the long-term effects of open editions but not afraid to use them as they become more common in the NFT ecosystem. OE experimentation benefits the environment. Don’t mint an open edition with the expectation that it will be valuable as a collector.
Supply and art value are not new, as many people have pointed out. This age-old argument in traditional art translated to Web3 because NFTs enable artists to communicate with collectors in novel ways. It’s up to the artists how they handle it, but praising open editions as a magic bullet for bull market conditions or decrying them as a diluting force for collectors are both shortsighted views of change in a sector built on innovation.