In a controversial move announced Friday, Magic Eden, the largest marketplace for non-fungible tokens on Solana, said it would make artist royalty payments optional.
Many artists were drawn into the NFT space due to the possibility of earning royalty payments on secondary sales. But the feature, widely believed to be mandatory, is easily circumvented. And some marketplaces have left it up to buyers to decide whether to pay creators in a bid to gain market share from competitors.
The move has proven contentious, however. Earlier this year, X2Y2, an NFT marketplace on Ethereum, said it would let users decide whether to pay royalties or not. Pushback was severe, and the platform was forced to partially walk back its decision several days later.
“This is not a decision we take lightly. We understand this move has serious implications for the ecosystem,” Magic Eden said on Twitter. “We also hope it is not a permanent decision. Today, royalties are not enforceable on-chain. We welcome and hope to see new standards that protect royalties.”
To that end, the platform will host a hackathon “to develop pro-royalty & alternative creator monetization tools.”
In September, Solana NFT sales hit all-time highs, with Magic Eden controlling more than 90% of the market, according to data from analytics platform Nansen. Magic Eden recently made its debut on Ethereum, where NFT sales are still dominated by OpenSea.
Magic Eden also announced it would temporarily waive the fee it collects on each NFT sale, though the decision did little to placate artists who use the platform.
“This is by far the worst decision you guys could have made, Code Monkey, the pseudonymous founder of the nodemonkey NFT collection, tweeted.
“Creators/founders stuck by you through thick and thin. This will send projects to zero and disincentivize new project growth. Consider building a method to enforce royalties rather than giving in.”