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

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

The rise of the open edition (OE) is officially here. After increasing in popularity throughout 2022, the last few months have seen thousands of artists and Web3 builders creating claim pages for open-edition mints. The NFT community has flocked to them in droves, generating millions in revenue and reinvigorating the crypto art space as it tries to shake off the icicles of a frosty 2022. Beyond the financial boost, OEs benefit the NFT ecosystem by driving engagement, allowing an artist’s fan base more opportunities to collect their work while expanding that community’s reach at the same time. 

This all sounds like good news — and it is, depending on who you ask. While some celebrate open editions, others worry that they ultimately harm the space, diluting the value of an artist’s output (most notably their 1-of-1s) and bringing little to collectors in terms of utility. There’s also the question of the unknown long-term effects that OEs have on a body of work.

To parse out these concerns and understand why open editions have begun their staggering ascent, we looked at the numbers and spoke to some of the artists and collectors who know the OE trend best. But first, it’s worth understanding the historical context behind this upswing.

How did open editions get so popular? 

Open editions are NFT drops with no set supply limit, allowing collectors to mint as many tokens as they want within a certain period (usually within 24, 48, or 72 hours). They can also be open-ended, with no time limit, though these are somewhat rarer. The open edition itself isn’t a particularly new drop methodology in the NFT space (Beeple famously dropped three open editions on Nifty Gateway in 2020, for example), but the sheer volume of OEs showing up on the radar recently is unprecedented. Countless artists have joined the OE rush in recent weeks and months, including Terrell Jones, Lucréce, and Marcel Deneuve. And their mints are mostly being met with enthusiasm from their communities and fans. 

This surge in popularity can be attributed in part to two things: the dissemination of democratic minting infrastructure from the likes of platforms like Manifold and Zora throughout 2022 and well-known artists experimenting with open editions over that same year. Such experimenters include Grant Riven Yun and Isaac ‘Drift’ Wright, the NFT photographer who dropped First Day Out in April 2022 as a 24-hour open edition to commemorate his release from prison a year earlier. 

. @DrifterShoots sold a breath taking picture to 10,400 investors for over $6.4 million and now tells them to GTFO 🤷‍♂️

If you just want to sell a picture, sell the picture, why sell an NFT? You are just exploiting crypto/NFT investors for liquidity.

— Beanie Moxi (@beaniemoxi) April 13, 2022

“Grandpa! We learned about Drift’s historic open edition today in Art history, did you ever buy one of his photos?”

“Yeah but I gave it away in 72 hours cause he was resting and I wanted utility!”

— Drift (@DrifterShoots) April 13, 2022

That drop sparked an ongoing conversation about utility in the NFT space and whether or not artist pieces — whether OE, 1-of-1, or limited editions — need to come with some additional value or application for collectors beyond just being a piece of artistic work. It also caused people to reconsider how such drops would affect the pricing and value of a well-known artist’s unique 1-of-1 pieces. 

Behind the rise: Manifold’s Claim Pages and Zora’s Editions

Drift released his open edition on Manifold, a minting platform that might be the most meaningful contributor to the proliferation of the open edition in recent months. First Day Out was minted on Drift’s customized Manifold smart contract. The release likely helped influence the platform’s decision to develop a way for NFT community members with no coding knowledge to easily do the same. Manifold’s goal has always been to give Web3 community members access to tools they can use to create customized drop experiences for their communities. While larger platforms like OpenSea had launched similar “storefront” capabilities in years prior, they were substantially limited in what artists could do with their drops. 

Manifold’s most significant impact on the OE movement came when it launched Paid Claim Pages in October 2022. An extension of its Claim Pages functionality which let artists set up pages for free mint drops, Paid Claim Pages allowed users to 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 result? Currently, over 16,000 claims have been created by over 6,000 users on the platform, churning out nearly 15,000 ETH ($20 million) in total primary sales volume, according to Dune’s analytics dashboard. 

Manifold Total Claims Over Time chart
via Dune

Zora is another NFT marketplace protocol that, along with Manifold, has played a significant role in the OE craze. For those unfamiliar with the name, Zora was the platform through which artist and designer Jack Butcher chose to launch his now well-known NFT project Checks VV. Since launching its Creator Toolkit in May 2022 and giving users a no-code-required way to mint and drop NFT collections, nearly 240,000 unique wallet addresses have minted an edition of some kind, either fixed-sized or open edition. 

And while the majorit