“I describe myself as a transgressive artist,” said a conservative cartoonist who calls himself Stone Toss. Forkast.News. On November 20th, Stonetoss released 5,000 Non-substitutable token List them in the Rarible and OpenSea NFT Marketplace based on the characters found in his work. Stonetos called his cartoon character “Flurks” and said the sale was a huge success and sold out in just over 20 minutes, for a total of 420 ETH worth US $ 1.8 million.
But a few hours later, both Rarible and OpenSea unexplained the Flurks series and removed it from the list, adding fuel to the discussion of content moderation in the growing NFT market.
Stone Toss is not a stranger to the controversy — he says he has been threatened with murder in the past — that is why he wanted to be identified only by the name of his artist. His cartoons often portray a right-wing interpretation of issues regarding race, LGBT + rights, and vaccine obligations. Flurks itself does not contain a clear commentary, but it does contain images related to these themes, such as the South Army flag and the red MAGA hat, which are popular with Donald Trump proponents. Stonetoss believes his art has been delisted because of the politics he is associated with, rather than based on the actual content of his NFT.
But, as Stonetoss says, are OpenSea and Rarible driven out of nasty forms of “censorship” and infringement of artistic freedom, or within the rights of these companies, only the content they like? Will it be included? OpenSea alone manages more than 98% of the market share of Ethereum’s trading volume, according to DuneAnalytics, do these blockchain marketplaces have a moral obligation to do more to defend freedom of expression?Decentralization in particular, even if that view is disgusting to the majority of users Protection against censorship??
It seems that industry leaders themselves are divided on these issues and the extent of the obligations and responsibilities of blockchain companies regarding freedom of expression.
Anndy Lian, a founding member of NFT Creative Studio Influxo, said: Forkast.News.. “You must obey the rules.”
Just as physical galleries have the right to decide which art they want to exhibit, Lian says the NFT platform is no exception. And just because the expression exists as an NFT does not exempt it from the cultural influence of the message.
“If the artist or artwork is subjective, it can be removed,” says Lian. “This has nothing to do with [whether it’s an] Whether it is an NFT. This happens both in the art world and in galleries. This is certainly not about decentralization, and decentralization is not just about freedom. “
But when dealing with centralized systems like OpenSea and Rarible, those who say this isn’t really an option, as combining them effectively controls the NFT market until a better system emerges. There is also.
In an interview with Forkast.News, Corey Petty, Chief Security Officer for the status of distributed messaging apps and Web 3.0 browsers, said: .. “Without that option, businesses can do whatever they want and you can’t do anything about it. That leads us to today’s place. [They] I made a decision. what are you going to do? Leave? There is no other choice. “
Stonetoss says he feels that individual Flurks are usually chosen for right-wing politics associated with his brand, rather than being aggressive. NFTs excluded from OpenSea and Rarible also include symbols associated with the left side, such as the Rainbow Pride Flag and the Communist Hammer and Hammer. Stonetoss said in an audio interview with Zoom: Forkast.News With the camera turned off.
According to Rarible staff, The platform does not exclude items from the list based on political parties. According to the OpenSea Terms of Service, OpenSea excludes NFTs if it is determined to incite hatred or violence against others.
“My NFT delisting on Rarible and OpenSea was probably the result of a lot of reports because this is a technique. [campaigners] I tried to use it many times. I argue that NFTs themselves are benign. “
However, at least one Twitter user talked about the platform-hosted NFTs containing some of these symbols. Other than benign: “I’ve lost my followers because I called the project blatantly with the NFT flag at NFT. I’m a racial minority and grew up in the South. My uncle was killed because of his skin color. rice field.”
Another user Same thread We have summarized the debate over the use of a federal flag representing a state that defends slavery in the southern United States, which some white Americans feel nostalgic for after losing the Civil War over 150 years ago. When I hear this, I’m from the South and I don’t know the pain of dealing with being a minority. We also know people who love the South and do not consider the federal flag to be a racist. I think it’s difficult to know. People’s hearts and perspectives, we can all learn, grow and show love. “
Neither of the OpenSea of Rarible had contacted Stonetos to notify them of the delisting by the time they talked to Stonetos. Forkast.News.. At least one Flurk displayed on the home page of the Stonetoss website is wearing a cowboy hat and raising the federal flag.
Rarible and OpenSea did not respond Forkast.News Contact us for comments.
Stone distributed Web3.0
When the world enters the realm of Web 3.0The Stonetoss story is a clear need, or your view, that a decentralized version of the Internet built around blockchain technology can dramatically change the gatekeeping capabilities and content types of public platforms. Some represent a story of caution.
“What we have is a new characteristic of how the Internet was built in the first place, the client-server model,” said Petty of Status. Who will use it as the administrator of that information? ”—Includes trying to control it in a way that maximizes profits.
“That’s what we look like today,” Petty added. “We build applications and aggregate data. Then we learn that we can monetize that data. Optimize the application for monetization, not the end user.”
According to Petty, Status (a messaging app that is also a Web3 browser) takes a very practical approach to content moderation. He called freedom of communication and freedom of expression a “human rights” issue that decentralized technologies like blockchain are supposed to protect and promote.
Total trading volume exceeds US $ 13 billion, according to DappRadar, OpenSea can be the most important place for digital artists to find NFT buyers. Stonetoss says delisting from the OpenSea NFT marketplace may not only have been a financial blow, but may have chilled other controversial art creators. The owner of Flurks can still trade peer-to-peer, but his NFT will be removed from the list, but not from the Ethereum blockchain. Infrastructure and culture are not yet available to make the community just as easy to trade. Platforms like OpenSea.
Flurks is not locked out of the deal, but Stonetoss also sells on its website. OpenSea and Rarible have such a significant impact on the market that NFT collections not listed on any of these platforms will suffer significant market disadvantages. ..
If the decision-making power to list or not list NFTs for sale was decentralized, would Stonetoss’ Flurks follow the same fate?
“If you have a single point of power and decision making, they have the ability to make a difference, so it’s easy to go out for that person and encourage them to do something. “Petty said. “But if we distribute that power and governance to most people, it’s much harder to persuade, attack, or make governance decisions to make that change … It is one of the main points of decentralization. Distribution of power that prevents a small number of people from manipulating the entire group. “
August of this year, a series of 7,000 NFTs based on the popular meme Frog Pepe The symbol, the mascot of the 2019 Hong Kong democratic movement and endorsed by the far right of the United States, has been removed from the OpenSea NFT Marketplace after the original creator of the character submitted a piracy notice to the platform. ..
OpenSea quickly removed content because of piracy, but investors still had millions of dollars worth of NFTs, leaving no significant market for trading them.
However, when a collection of NFTs that look a lot like Flurks appears in OpenSea, the unauthorized copycat series will remain listed on the site.
“I’m not too worried about copying my stuff. To be honest, I think they helped me more than hurt me,” Stonetos said, and copycat comics made his brand. I explained that it helped to promote it. “So, I don’t care about the famous” right-click save “.
However, if Stonetoss decides to exercise copyright one day, a truly decentralized platform may not be able to respond to user complaints.
“There must be a long history of transcendental art and a place for it,” Stonetos said, admitting that it would be difficult to find a physical gallery to display his work, which he admitted. That’s why the media has always been online.
“These types of roads are even more susceptible to those who complain about uploading a particular work of art,” Stonetos said. “That is, overall, I’m really very optimistic. The whole delisting event was a bit disappointing in that regard, but I think it’s part of the growing pain of this kind of technology.”