For Better or Worse, NFT Open Editions Are on the Rise

Officially, the rise of the open edition is here. The popularity of the open edition (OE) has increased throughout 2022. In recent months, thousands of Web3 builders and artists have created claim pages for open-edition coins. They have attracted a large number of NFT members, creating millions of revenue and reinvigorating crypto art as it attempts to get out from under the frosty 2022. Beyond the financial boost, OEs are a benefit to the NFT ecosystem because they drive engagement. This gives artists’ fans more chances to collect their work and expands that community’s reach.

It sounds great news, depending on who you ask. Open editions are praised by some, but others fear that they can harm the space. They reduce the artist’s output, most notably their 1-of-1s, and offer little utility to collectors. The long-term effects of OEs on a work collection are unknown.

We looked at the numbers, and talked to artists and collectors who are familiar with the OE trend. It’s important to understand the historical context of this upswing.

What is the secret to open editions being so popular?

NFT drops that have an open edition are NFT drops that do not have a supply limit. This allows collectors to mint as many tokens within a given time (usually within 24 hours, 48, or 72 hours). These can also be open-ended with no time limit. However, these are more rare. Although the open edition isn’t a new drop method in NFT, Beeple dropped three open editions in 2020 on Nifty Gateway. However, the recent surge in OEs is remarkable. Numerous artists have joined the OE mania in recent weeks and month, including Terrell Jones and Lucrece. Their mints are often met with enthusiasm by their communities and their fans.

Two factors are responsible for this popularity surge: the spread of democratic minting infrastructure via platforms like Manifold or Zora through 2022, and the experimentation of well-known artists with open editions during that same year. Grant Riven Yun, Isaac ‘Drift” Wright, a NFT photographer, are two examples of such experimenters. First Day Out was a 24-hour open edition that Wright created in April 2022 to mark his release from prison one year earlier.

The drop sparked a conversation about utility in NFT and whether artist pieces, whether OE, 1-of-1 or limited editions, should have some additional value to collectors. People began to think about how these drops might affect the price and value of unique 1-of-1 pieces by well-known artists.

Manifold’s Claim Pages, Zora’s editions are behind the rise

Drift published his open edition on Manifold. Manifold is a minting platform that may have been the most significant contributor to the recent proliferation of the open edition. First Day Out was created using Drift’s Manifold smart contract. This release was likely to have influenced the platform’s decision that NFT community members without coding knowledge could easily create their own smart contracts. Manifold’s goal was to provide Web3 community members with tools that they can use for creating custom drop experiences. Although larger platforms such as OpenSea have had similar “storefronts” in the past, their capabilities were limited in terms of what artists could do with their drops.

Manifold’s greatest impact on the OE movement was when it launched Paid Claim Pages, October 2022. Paid Claim Pages was an extension to Claim Pages’ functionality that allowed artists to set up pages for free mint drop. Users could launch drop pages for limited editions of ERC-721 tokens and ERC-1155 tokens. This is similar as Drift did earlier in the year. What is the result? The result?

via Dune

Zora, another NFT marketplace protocol, is also a key player in the OE craze. Zora is the platform that Jack Butcher, a well-known NFT designer, launched Checks VV through. Nearly 240,000 wallet addresses have produced an edition of one kind or another since the Creator Toolkit was launched in May 2022.

While the majority of the 8,500 contracts on the platform were for fixed-size edition drops only, this ratio is slowly shifting in the opposite direction. According to Zora’s Dune analytics dashboard, more than half of Zora’s 1,525 ETH total primary sales volume generated by Zora’s Creator Toolkit since its launch (alongside over 16,000 ETH in secondary sale), can be attributed directly to OE drops. This is combined with a noticeable statistical shift in the type of collection users have created on the platform since January this year, which makes it clear that the open edition has reached an inflection point.

via Dune

What collectors and artists have to say

Open-edition fever is not for everyone.

In an interview with nft, 33NFT, an influential NFT collector and influencer and Web3 builder, stated that “it’s a free marketplace for artists, buyers and collectors to make whatever they want.” An artist can sell too many editions, thousands, or more, which can lead to headaches for both the buyer and the artist. They want the post-mint price to rise, or at the very least, stay stable above the initial mint price. This is often an afterthought if an artist announces a burn event a few months later or that large editions can be used to purchase tokens in exchange for a 1-of-1 art work.

“I would not recommend any artist dropping an open edition until their 1-of-1s are unaffordable.”


As an example of an OE done right, the collector cited Beeple’s 2020 open-edition drop with Nifty Gateway. Bull Run, Infected and Into The Ether were all sold at $969 each during that drop. 33 saw the OE drop’s relatively high price and low volume as a balance between accessibility, value preservation and being akin to an artist’s initial coin offerings (ICO).

33 stated, “I would not recommend an artist dropping an open edition until their 1-of-1s are no longer affordable for most.” There should be good reasons for an open edition. If the artist wishes, I would prefer a limited edition of 50 or 100 copies. But, I’d like to know the number.

Some artists, however, take offense at the notion of scarcity. Marcel Deneuve, visual artist and sci-fi futurist, believes open editions are a great way for the NFT community to be healthy. It will ensure that there isn’t just one community with rich 1-of-1s and deep pockets.

Deneuve stated that 1-of-1s “are for a very limited group of people; only few can afford them,” while speaking to nft. But there are many fans who want collectibles and to support their favorite artists. This is why I made OEs.”

Manifold’s Deneuve’s recent OE Drop

Deneuve has created several NFTs on Manifold over the past few weeks and believes that the community response to his efforts has been positive. Deneuve, like other collectors and artists in his space, isn’t a committed to one type of drop. However, he believes that exploring the options offered by his collectors is worthwhile.

“I believe the idea of scarcity is a little overrated.”

Marcel Deneuve

Deneuve stated, “As long people ask me to do it, it’s a success.” I will keep doing both types, but my main focus is on OEs. Although too many artists are hurt by excess supply, I believe the notion of scarcity is somewhat overrated.

Future of the open edition

Open editions can have unintended consequences for some artists. Cath Simard, a prominent NFT artist and photographer, recently posted on Twitter her hesitation and interest in open editions. This tone likely resonates with many other artists in this space. Grant Riven Yun, minimalist artist and NFT leader, has stated that he believes a smaller number or a lower-priced 1-of-1 is better than a large quantity of one piece for collectors and artists.

33NFT believes that open editions should be viewed individually by the community. It is unlikely that the evolution of NFT will be the same as it was in the past. What works for one artist might not work for another.

“It all depends upon where an artist is at their career,” 33 explained. I think that most people would prefer to own a 1-of-1. XCOPY sold 1-of-1 artworks for SuperRare at around $100 back in the day. He fully deserves to be where he’s today. However, younger NFT artists are less likely to want 1-of-1s for this much money and prefer to make more money faster. They might think that if they don’t have the demand, they could make their living with an OE.

Open editions are a growing trend in the constantly evolving NFT ecosystem. Artists should be aware of the potential long-term effects, but not be afraid to use them. The fact that the space is experimenting in OEs is a good thing is itself. It’s best to not mint an open edition if you want it to become a valuable asset later on.

As many people have pointed out, the concept of supply in relation to art value is not new. Because NFTs allow artists to communicate with collectors in previously unimaginable ways, it was only natural that this long-standing debate in traditional art became Web3. It is up to artists how they navigate it. However, both sides laud open editions as a solution to bear markets and denounce them as a negative and diluting force for collectors. These are shortsighted lenses that allow them to see change in an industry built on innovation.

NFT Open Editions are on the Rise – For Better or Worse appeared first on nft.

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