For Better Or Worse, NFT Open Editions Are On The Rise

For Better Or Worse, NFT Open Editions Are On The Rise

February 2, 2023 by Diana Ambolis
The NFT open edition (OE) is now in its ascendancy. In the previous few months, thousands of artists and Web3 developers have been producing claim pages for open-edition mints after their popularity grew in 2022. As they attempt to shake off the icicles of a frigid 2022, the NFT community has come to them in
For Better Or Worse, NFT Open Editions Are On The Rise

The NFT open edition (OE) is now in its ascendancy. In the previous few months, thousands of artists and Web3 developers have been producing claim pages for open-edition mints after their popularity grew in 2022. As they attempt to shake off the icicles of a frigid 2022, the NFT community has come to them in droves, producing millions in revenue and reviving the crypto art market. Beyond the added revenue, OEs assist the NFT ecosystem by increasing participation and giving fans of artists more opportunities to collect their work while also broadening the community’s reach.

Depending on who you ask, all of this sounds like excellent news. While some people applaud open editions, others fear that they would ultimately hurt the market by lowering the value of an artist’s production (particularly their 1-of-1s) and providing nothing in the way of usefulness to collectors. There is also the issue of the OEs’ unknowable long-term consequences on a corpus of work.

We analysed the data and spoke with some of the artists and collectors who are most familiar with the OE trend in order to separate out these worries and comprehend why open editions have started to soar. But first, it’s important to comprehend the historical background of this rise.

Why did NFT open editions become so well-liked?

Open editions are NFT drops that don’t have a defined supply cap, letting collectors create as many tokens as they like during a specific time frame (usually within 24, 48, or 72 hours). Although these are slightly less common, they can also be open-ended and have no time restriction. Although Beeple notably dropped three open editions on Nifty Gateway in 2020, the open edition itself is not a particularly novel drop approach in the NFT market; the sheer number of OEs that have recently appeared on the radar is unusual. In recent weeks and months, numerous artists have joined the OE rush, including Terrell Jones, Lucréce, and Marcel Deneuve. And the majority of their fans and communities are enthusiastic about their mints.

This rise in popularity can be partly due to two factors: the experimentation with open editions by well-known artists during 2022 and the dissemination of democratic minting infrastructure from platforms like Manifold and Zora. Such experimenters include Alpha Centauri Kid, Grant Riven Yun, and Isaac ‘Drift’ Wright, the NFT photographer who released First Day Out in April 2022 as a 24-hour open edition to mark his release from prison a year earlier. These works follow XCOPY’s historic $23 million “MAX PAIN” open edition in March 2022.

The price decline spurred a discussion regarding usefulness in the NFT market and whether or not artist pieces, whether original works, one-of-ones, or limited editions, should have some use or value for collectors beyond being purely decorative. It also made people rethink the impact such dips would have on the cost and worth of a well-known artist’s one-of-a-kind, unique pieces.

Manifold’s Claim Pages and Zora’s Editions are responsible

Drift published his open edition via Manifold, a minting platform that may be the most important factor in the open edition’s recent resurgence. First Day Out was created using the specialised Manifold smart contract by Drift. The platform’s decision to create a mechanism for NFT community members without coding experience to do the same was probably influenced by the release. Manifold’s mission has always been to provide Web3 community members with tools so they may design unique drop experiences for their neighbourhoods. Larger platforms like OpenSea had introduced comparable “storefront” features in years past, but they severely constrained what artists could do with their releases.

Manifold’s introduction of Paid Claim Pages in October 2022 had the most influence on the OE movement. Paid Claim Pages were an expansion of its Claim Pages feature, which allowed artists to establish pages for free mint drops. Users may launch a drop page for limited and open editions for ERC-721 and ERC-1155 tokens, just like Drift had done earlier that year. The outcome? According to Dune’s analytics dashboard, more than 6,000 users have currently created more than 16,000 claims on the platform, generating a total primary sales volume of approximately 15,000 ETH ($20 million).

Another NFT marketplace protocol that has contributed significantly to the OE mania, along with Manifold, is Zora. For those who don’t know, Zora was the medium that artist and designer Jack Butcher chose to introduce his now-famous NFT project Checks VV. Nearly 240,000 distinct wallet addresses have minted an edition of some type, either fixed-sized or open edition, since the Creator Toolkit’s launch in May 2022 and the provision of users with a no-code-required mechanism to mint and discard NFT collections.

The majority of the more than 8,500 contracts that have been put on the platform so far have been for fixed-size edition drops, but this ratio is quickly starting to change. According to Zora’s Dune analytics dashboard, more than half of the 1,525 ETH total primary sales volume that Zora’s Creator Toolkit has produced since its launch (combined with more than 16,000 ETH in secondary sales) may be ascribed to OE decreases. It’s evident that the open edition has reached a turning point when you combine it with a noticeable statistical shift in the type of collection users are building on the platform beginning in January of this year.

What collectors and artists are saying

However, open-edition passion is not universally shared. In an interview with, influential NFT collector, influencer, and Web3 creator 33NFT of open edition popularisation remarked, “It’s a free market for artists, buyers, and collectors to do what they like.” “However, an artist might sell thousands or more editions than necessary, which, in my opinion, could lead to problems because both the artist and the buyer often like to see the post-mint price increase or, at the very least, remain steady above the initial mint price. When an artist announces a burn event or that very big editions can be used as purchase tokens to submit in exchange for a one-of-one piece of art a few months later, it seems like an afterthought.

“I wouldn’t advise any artist to release an open edition until their one-of-ones have gotten beyond the reach of the majority.”

As an illustration of an OE did properly, the collector cited Beeple’s 2020 open edition drop with Nifty Gateway. Bull Run, Infected, and Into The Ether were all sold for $969 each at that drop. 33 felt that the OE drop’s relatively high price and low volume, as a result, found a decent mix between accessibility and value preservation as opposed to resembling an artist’s ICO (ICO).

33NFT said, “I wouldn’t advise any artist to release an open edition until their 1-of-1s have grown out of reach for the majority.” “The open edition should also have a valid justification. If the artist wants, I’d much rather see a limited edition of 50, 100, or 1,000. However, I would like to know that figure.

On the other hand, the scarcity concept offends some local artists. In the opinion of visual artist and sci-fi futurist Marcel Deneuve, open editions can be a terrific method to maintain a healthy balance in the NFT community and stop wealthy individuals from monopolising the scene. Deneuve told nft today that “1-of-1s are for a very particular group of people; only a handful can truly buy them.” But many fans also want to support their favourite musicians by purchasing collectables. This was my main motivation for beginning to produce OEs.

Deneuve has recently earned several NFTs on Manifold, and he believes that the community’s reaction has been positive. Like other collectors and artists, he speaks within the area. Deneuve isn’t dedicated to any one style of drop but believes it is worthwhile to explore the possibilities that his collectors seek.

The idea of scarcity, in my opinion, is somewhat exaggerated.

Deneuve emphasised that it is a success as long as people ask me to make it. “I’ll keep performing both drops, but OEs are where my attention is right now. The idea of scarcity is a little overstated, although an excess supply harms artists.

The future of open access

Some artists are concerned about the unanticipated consequences free editions may have. Cath Simard, a well-known NFT photographer and artist, recently posted on Twitter about her interest in and reluctance about the open edition, striking an ambiguous tone that probably resonates with many other artists in the field. Grant Riven Yun, a minimalist artist and leader of the NFT, has also stated that he thinks a larger number of inexpensive 1-of-1s are preferable to a large number of editions of a single piece for both artists and collectors.

The community should evaluate open editions on a case-by-case basis, according to 33NFT. What works for one artist may not work for another as the NFT space develops, and it is unlikely that it will develop in a manner similar to how it did in the past.

NFT33 explained, “It all depends on where an artist is in their career. “I believe that most people prefer to own a one-of-a-kind. XCOPY used to sell one-of-a-kind artworks on SuperRare for about $100, so he is entirely deserving of his current position. However, many recent NFT artists prefer to earn greater notoriety faster and rarely desire to sell 1-of-1s for that much. They may believe they can pay their debts with an OE if they don’t yet have that demand.

Artists should be wary about any potential long-term implications open editions may have while being unafraid to use them as a dynamic in the ever-evolving NFT ecosystem. It’s positive in and of itself that the market is experimenting with OEs. It’s preferable not to print an open edition as a collector with the intention of it going up in value significantly either right now or in the future.

Many people have noted that the idea of supply as it relates to value in art is not new. It was inevitable that this long-running argument in the traditional art world would transition to Web3, given that NFTs allow artists to communicate with their collectors in previously impractical ways. While it is up to the artists to negotiate it, it is shortsighted to perceive change in a sector that is based on innovation by either hailing open editions as a panacea for the current bear market or deriding them as a negative force for collectors.