It's unclear how much the deal is worth — but reporting on rumors earlier in January, Axios had suggested that the price tag could be between $110 million and $130 million.
The world's biggest NFT marketplace has announced that it is acquiring Dharma Labs, a platform that allows users to connect their bank accounts in order to buy and swap tokens.
Confirming the news, Dharma said that its mission had been making crypto easier to use and friendlier to mainstream audiences, adding:
"Over the course of 2021, NFTs became the 'tip of the spear' on cultural adoption for crypto, with dozens of collections and tens of thousands of unique goods gaining mainstream cultural recognition. In 2022 and beyond, we're excited to turn our attention towards the focal point of crypto's mainstream adoption: NFTs."
Dharma now plans to bring its "knowledge, expertise and technology to OpenSea in order to power a mainstream-friendly way to buy, sell and mint NFTs" — and the company's two co-founders are now going to have senior leadership roles within the marketplace, serving as OpenSea's chief technology officer and head of strategy respectively.
Explaining why Dharma has opted to close its app altogether — effectively passing on a large chunk of its business to rival wallets — the company said:
"While we believe that mobile wallets may very well play a key role in OpenSea's future, we do not want to shoehorn Dharma's current form-factor into OpenSea's product suite; jamming square pegs in round holes is not in our users' best interests."
Those who fail to empty their wallets within 30 days will still be able to access their wallets through an open-source DApp, but will have to pay their own gas fees for any and all transactions.
'OpenSea is in Build Mode'
For its part, OpenSea says the acquisition of Dharma Labs will help it achieve all four of its objectives for 2022: accelerating product development; enhancing trust, safety and reliability; meeting the needs of a growing community; and meaningfully investing in the NFT ecosystem. The platform's co-founder and CEO, Devin Finzer, wrote:
"Our teams share a vision that NFTs will be the cultural focal point of crypto's adoption for years to come — and that vision can only be realized if using NFTs becomes easy and delightful for the average person."
As OpenSea's chief technology officer, Nadav Hollander will be tasked with "improving the technical reliability and uptime of our products, and building Web3-native mechanisms for engaging with and rewarding our early and loyal community."
Some critics argue that OpenSea's substantial growth in recent months means that it is becoming too centralized — and this stands at odds with what Web3 is trying to achieve.