As critics call for OpenSea to launch a token, one Twitter user writes: "Sucks to hear @opensea is selling out and doing an IPO. Their VCs didn’t get them to where they are today. We did."
OpenSea has announced that it is hiring a chief financial officer for the very first time — but some of the company's future plans have sparked fierce criticism in crypto circles.
"I haven't been this excited about something in a very long time. It reminds me of 1995 eBay."
Roberts certainly has a wealth of experience that could prove valuable to OpenSea. He's previously worked at Microsoft and Walmart too — some of America's biggest corporations.
Confirming that OpenSea is already profitable and that an initial public offering is on the cards, the executive also revealed:
"When you have a company growing as fast as this one, you'd be foolish not to think about it going public."
And as you might expect, OpenSea users on Crypto Twitter weren't particularly thrilled to hear the phrase "IPO."
Why Not Release a Token?
For some critics, going down the IPO route — a process that involves enlisting investment banks and making a debut on the stock market — goes against the free-spirited, decentralized nature that crypto companies often embrace.
One well-known crypto investor on Twitter, @Arthur_0x, wrote:
"Imagine being the largest and most successful NFT marketplace yet choosing to go for IPO instead of issuing token. NGMI."
(In case you're unfamiliar, "NGMI" stands for "not going to make it.")
Others questioned why OpenSea wasn't gearing up to launch its own governance token instead, which could be distributed to all those who have transacted with the marketplace through an airdrop. This would then give users the opportunity to have their say on the project's future direction. A similar approach has been used by other crypto platforms in the past — with the decentralized exchange Uniswap being a notable example.
The proud owner of CryptoPunk #2070 tweeted:
"Sucks to hear @opensea is selling out and doing an IPO. Their VCs didn’t get them to where they are today. We did."
It's fair to say that not everyone agrees with this criticism. Launching a governance token can be easier said than done — not least because of the strict rules surrounding securities in the U.S.
Some also argued that OpenSea users aren't entitled to receiving free money just because they've used the NFT marketplace a few times.
And a not-insubstantial-chunk of Twitter users are enthusiastic for OpenSea to go public because it will give them the opportunity to short the stock. Clearly, they're not fans.
OpenSea has been rocked by a controversy or two this year. A few months ago, the marketplace "requested and accepted" the resignation of a senior employee who had purchased NFTs before they were promoted on the site's homepage — later selling them on for a profit.
Employees were later warned that they were forbidden from buying or selling collections that were being featured by OpenSea in any way.
Although NFTs are shaping up to have a memorable 2022 — with a number of big entertainment brands gearing up to launch their own marketplaces — there's also no guarantee that OpenSea will enjoy success with this IPO. Other crypto brands that have gone down this route have struggled to gain momentum on the stock market.