- OpenSea, the leading NFT marketplace, laid off about 50% of its staff to restructure and refocus on building a “next generation” product as the NFT space evolves.
- OpenSea rose to become the top NFT marketplace during the 2021-2022 NFT boom, but its volumes declined amid the mid-2022 crypto downturn compared to competitors.
- OpenSea faced backlash when it considered dropping mandatory creator royalties, though it ultimately kept the policy. The company is now focused on a major “OpenSea 2.0” upgrade to reclaim its top positioning.
The leading NFT marketplace OpenSea has laid off about 50% of its staff in a bid to restructure and refocus efforts on a “next generation” product. The company says the downsizing will allow it to operate more nimbly and ship higher-impact features as the NFT space evolves.
OpenSea’s Meteoric Rise
OpenSea became the top NFT marketplace during the 2021-2022 NFT boom, routinely facilitating billions in monthly trading volume. The startup raised $300 million in January 2022 at a $13.3 billion valuation. However, as the crypto market declined in mid-2022, so too did OpenSea’s volumes compared to competitors.
Pivot on Royalties
OpenSea faced backlash in late 2022 when it considered dropping mandatory creator royalties. It ultimately opted not to change its policy then, but announced this summer it would stop enforcing royalties for most sales starting August 31st. This controversial move aligned OpenSea with other top marketplaces.
In a Twitter thread, OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer said the company is now focusing on a major “OpenSea 2.0” upgrade. He said the team is reorienting around speed, quality, and conviction to become more of a leader. Employees laid off will receive severance pay and other transitional assistance.
The Road Ahead
While OpenSea remains the NFT marketplace with the most traders, competitors like Blur now command a larger share of sales volume. As the NFT market shows glimmers of a rebound, OpenSea aims to reclaim its top positioning with its rebuilt team and next-gen product vision.