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Majority of NFTs made with free tool are plagiarized or fake, marketplace says

By Maggie Parkhill, writer

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    TORONTO, Ontario (CTV Network) — The internet’s largest marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) says the majority of the items created using its free minting tool are plagiarized works, fake collections or spam.

Earlier this week, popular NFT marketplace OpenSea announced it was limiting the number of free items users could create, or “mint,” using its “Collection Manager” tool to 50 as a way to mitigate misuse. The tool allows people in the marketplace to create and list an NFT without having to pay a “gas price,” or the fee that most NFT trading platforms charge to compensate for the computation energy it takes to process transactions.

But the company swiftly faced backlash from users, causing it to reverse the decision Jan. 27.

“We hear you and we’re sorry,” read a tweet from the company’s Twitter account, adding in a reply, “We should have previewed this with you before rolling it out.”

But in the Twitter statement, OpenSea revealed the initial decision to limit free items was because the company had discovered that 80 per cent of the NFTs created using this tool on its platform are stolen works, fake collections or used as spam.

“We’re working through a number of solutions to ensure we support our creators while deterring bad actors,” the company said. “We commit to previewing these changes with you in advance of rolling them out.”

Artists have complained for months on social media that their work has been plagiarized and used by others as NFTs.

OpenSea has faced controversy before, when last year the company forced the resignation of one of its employees after they used insider knowledge of what items would appear on the front page of the marketplace and purchased those items before they appeared publicly.

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