Blur's Co-Founder 'Pacman' Reveals His True Identity as NFT Marketplace Overtakes OpenSea

Blur's Co-Founder 'Pacman' Reveals His True Identity as NFT Marketplace Overtakes OpenSea

Created 1yr ago, last updated 1yr ago

High school and MIT dropout Tieshun Roquerre revealed that he is behind the site that has knocked long-time volume leader OpenSea far into second place. But is its soaring volume a wash?

Blur's Co-Founder 'Pacman' Reveals His True Identity as NFT Marketplace Overtakes OpenSea

Table of Contents

Listen to the CoinMarketRecap podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts

Shortly after knocking top NFT marketplace OpenSea far, far off its throne, Blur co-founder Pacman decided it was time to self-doxx.

In finest crypto style, Tieshun Roquerre did not actually give up his pseudonymity directly. Instead he began dropping very broad hints — and tweeting "received the Thiel Fellowship to leave MIT and start Namebase" did not exactly make it difficult for Crypto Twitter to track him down.

The 24-year-old dropped out of both high school and MIT to create crypto companies, first taking one through Y Combinator and then building Web3 firm Namebase, which he sold to Namecheap. Now he has taken his upstart NFT aggregator rocketing to the top of the rankings for non-fungible token marketplaces.

While he used to reveal his identity in private calls, particularly if he needed to establish trust, Roquerre said he "enjoyed the privacy of being pseudo." He added:

"Now that Blur's community has grown exponentially, I don't have capacity for as many 1:1 calls as I used to. It's time to share my identity publicly."

Sinking OpenSea?

Exponentially is one way to put it.

On Thursday, OpenSea's 24-hour trading volume was about $17 million, according to DappRadar. Blur, which only launched in October, had a volume of $117 million.

In that time it's racked up $1.9 billion in sales from more than 150,000 traders — almost $640 million of it in the last seven days, with volume up 411%.

An NFT aggregator, Blur allows traders to use a single interface to buy and sell on marketplaces like OpenSea, LooksRare and X2Y2.

More importantly, it rewards them with BLUR tokens, which first airdropped on Valentine's Day and launched on Feb. 15. This is behind a great deal of its volume, however, which appears to be something akin to wash trading, although the goal doesn't seem to be to drive up prices.

Traders, and particularly whales, are trading the same tokens over and over again to game the BLUR rewards system. A few dozen have gained more than $1 million worth of BLUR.

Which makes the reality of Blur's lead over OpenSea more than a little questionable.

Royalty Rampage

In the meantime, OpenSea is back on its heels, and has backed away from the mandatory (in some cases) creator royalty collection it eventually championed.

In late October, leading NFT marketplaces LooksRare and finally OpenSea ended the mandatory collection of creator fees of 5% to 10% of every resale of their tokens, after growing competitive pressure from DeFi sites that made them optional — and effectively non-existent. X2Y2 had given way in August, warning at the time that "dominant aggregators intend to provide similar functionality in the imminent future."

OpenSea reversed itself on Nov. 7 after a huge outcry from NFT creators and collectors, announcing what amounted to a plan to create a whitelist of marketplaces that collect royalties and make it mandatory from any tokens that build in rules limiting sales to participating sites.

On Feb. 15, Blur announced that it would collect mandatory royalties on any NFT collection whose creators blocked sales on OpenSea, saying it was a defensive tactic that would end when OpenSea stopped refusing to enforce royalty collection if tokens were sold on Blur and other non-whitelist sites.

"Creators that whitelist both OpenSea and Blur should be able to earn royalties on both platforms," Blur said in a blog post. "Today, OpenSea automatically sets royalties to optional when they detect trading on Blur." It added:

"We would like to welcome OpenSea to stop this policy, so that new collections can earn royalties everywhere."

Two days later, OpenSea buckled again, matching Blur's zero transaction fees and making optional the collection of resale royalties (of at least 0.5%), as well as an end to the blocking of resales on sites that match those rules — notably including Blur.

1 person liked this article