Open Edition NFTs: New Fad or New Opportunity?

Jack Butcher

Open edition (OE) NFTs have taken the Web3 space by storm. With well-known artists creating their own variations and popular projects like Checks VV emerging, it's no wonder you might be curious about what an open edition NFT is and why it's suddenly so popular.

Is it simply a fad reserved for prominent creators with a cult-like following? Or is it a huge opportunity that nearly everyone is passing up?

Let's take a further look into the latest buzzword and see what all the hype is about.

What Is An Open Edition NFT?

An open edition NFT is sold with no supply cap and a set buying period. Another variation is to set no time limit, enabling the NFT to be purchased indefinitely. However, this isn't as common as scarcity still plays a role in the value of NFTs including open editions.

When it comes to creating an OE NFT, there are generally two types of token standards used by creators. Both of which have their own pros and cons.

  1. ERC-1155 token standard 

This standard can support an infinite number of tokens in a single contract, meaning it’s often less expensive to publish to the blockchain as a creator. The main downside to ERC-1155 NFTs is that they’re often considered not as valuable, and ownership can be more difficult to track.

  1. ERC-721 token standard

This standard is preferred by most creators and collectors as it can have a different value than another token from the same smart contract. Most notable NFT collections are created using this standard. That said, they’re more expensive to mint.

Furthermore, most open editions appear to have certain qualities that separate them from the expectations associated with “non-OE” collections in the space, such as:

Low entry price

Open editions provide collectors with an opportunity to get their hands on a creation that would otherwise be too expensive since most OEs have an extremely low mint price, ranging anywhere from $5 to $100.

Burn mechanism

A burn mechanism is used by creators to gamify an NFT collection and increase scarcity. Many creators are implementing burn mechanisms to incentivize people to buy more tokens, and in turn, collectors receive something in exchange. 

It could be another NFT from a non-OE collection, a collaboration piece, a physical product, or other types of utility.

No promise of utility or a roadmap

Many open editions are created without a roadmap or promise of any utility. Rather, they exist solely as a creation on the blockchain and collectors don’t expect anything in return. This is far different from other projects where collectors are constantly hounding creators about floor price and utility.

Why Are Open Edition NFTs Suddenly Popular?

Open edition NFTs have seen a sudden spike in popularity due to platforms like Manifold lowering the barrier to entry to create NFTs in addition to enabling simple burn mechanisms. All of which can be achieved without knowing how to code your own smart contract.

Manifold made a substantial contribution to the OE movement with the introduction of its Paid Claim Pages in October 2022. Building upon the already popular Claim Pages feature that enables creators to establish pages for free mints, Paid Claim Pages introduced the capability for users to host drop pages for both limited and open editions ERC-721 and ERC-1155 tokens.

Moreover, artists like Jack Butcher who created the Checks VV collection, have minted their own open edition projects that have brought massive attention to the space. The Checks collection alone sold over 16,000 NFTs and has done more than 19,000 ETH ($29 million) in trading volume since it launched on January 3, 2023.

Open edition NFTs aren’t new by any means. In fact, Beeple was one of the first creators to release OEs on Nifty Gateway in 2020. Other artists like XCOPY and Chris (creator of Nyan Cat) have both released open editions as well, further adding fuel to the fire and sparking this new trend.

The only question is: How long will this trend last?

What’s the Future of Open Edition NFTs?

It’s likely that many NFTs sold in the future will be open editions. Similar to how most brands don’t put a cap on the products they create, it’s unlikely those same brands will put a cap on the NFTs they offer. Especially when products come standard with NFTs.

If you take a step back and look at what an open-edition NFT really is, you’ll quickly realize it’s no different than brands like Nike which produce an unlimited number of socks.

Of course, the utility of a sock is clear. The utility of most NFTs isn’t. 

And that’s the point I want to make—NFTs won’t always just be a digital token on the blockchain. Soon, brands will incorporate NFTs into all their products and services without a cap on how many you can buy.

This can be difficult to see now, especially because our brains have been trained to perceive NFTs a certain way. As soon as you can look past NFTs being just “NFTs”, you can begin to understand how open editions will potentially be used in the future.

Contrary to popular belief, not all NFTs need to have a cap. Also, creating an open edition NFT isn’t reserved just for artists or influencers in the space—anyone can create one.

Should You Create Your Own Open Edition NFT?

With the sudden boom of open edition NFTs, you might be wondering if you should create your own. Here’s what I think.

You should create an open edition NFT if you’re a creator of any type or simply want to learn more about minting and selling NFTs. There are no qualifications needed to create your own OE NFT. Despite what some artists think, creating NFTs should be encouraged—not looked down upon.

An open edition is often considered beneficial for artists who already have a strong following and want to attract new fans who may have been unable to purchase their earlier works due to high prices.

However, the rise of open editions is a unique opportunity for anyone and everyone to get their hands dirty and try something new, like creating an NFT. The high barrier to entry into the space is what has led many astray, despite being curious.

And now that an opportunity has appeared that seems to have lowered this barrier to entry, people are so quick to judge and try to dictate who can and can’t create an NFT as if it’s reserved solely for artists or those with mass influence.

If we want to see mainstream adoption of NFTs then we need to encourage each other, not beat each other down. Open editions aren’t just another trend, they’re an opportunity to onboard more people into the space and learn something new along the way.

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