December 9, 2022

OpenSea's New Creator Fees Policy: How Will It Affect You?

As the largest NFT marketplace, OpenSea has come under fire for their policy of enforcing royalties on all collections. This move by OpenSea was met with heavy resistance from customers and creators alike. Today, we discuss the updated policy and what it could mean for the space.

The Issue

The topic of creator fees, also known as royalties, has been a hot debate in the world of NFTs over the past few months. The issue at hand is that NFTs are an open standard, meaning that there is no way to enforce royalties on-chain. As a result, customers looking to avoid royalties, have been turning to marketplaces such as Looksrare, Blur, and Sudoswap that do not enforce creator fees in order to bypass paying royalties. 

OpenSea has been a strong supporter and enforcer of creator fees on their marketplace since inception, with the aim to help invite more creators into the space. Believing that the last few months have proven that off-chain enforcement is too brittle, OpenSea decided to make some pretty drastic policy changes. 

Creator Royalties

Creator royalties in general have always been an ongoing debate, with the general consensus agreeing that royalties are a good feature for creators and for the overall NFT ecosystem. That being said, it's worth noting a few Pro’s and Con’s which commonly crop up:


  • Creators can generate revenue beyond the initial sale of their work
  • Creators can use this passive income to carry on creating
  • It opens the door to new business models which work primarily off of secondary market sales.


  • There isn't a limit on the percentage a creator can set on their royalty fees.
  • The royalties remain the same forever, whereas the price of an NFT doesn't.

OpenSeas V1 Approach

In an effort to combat the bypassing of royalty fees, OpenSea created the Operator Filter Registry. This is a simple code snippet that creators can add to their NFT contracts, allowing them to restrict sales to marketplaces that enforce creator fees. However, there’s a tradeoff…

On November 8th OpenSea began checking new collections to see if their NFTs could be sold on marketplaces that do not enforce creator fees. If a new collection is found not to be using OpenSea's on-chain enforcement tool, then the collection will not receive royalties from OpenSea at all. That means as a creator you have to (effectively) exclusively sell on OpenSea in order to receive royalties, as a lot of competitor marketplaces dont enforce royalty fees. 

Whereas If you did add the code snippet to your contract, you’d be able to set and receive royalties from OpenSea but your NFT’s wouldn't be sellable on competitor marketplaces which didnt enforce royalties. 

This move by OpenSea, being the largest NFT marketplace, was met with heavy resistance from customers and creators, for good reason. It goes against the spirit and ethos of Web3, adding in a censorship layer that they, and only they, control… Definitely not in line with the permissionless nature of NFTs. 

For further insight you can read OpenSeas original blog post with the announcement Here.

OpenSeas V2 Approach

In a recent turn of events, OpenSea decided to amend their implementation of the Operator Filter Registry. 

In a recent tweet, they announced that on January 2nd they will transfer ownership of the Operator Filter Registry to a multi-sig controlled by a collective including Manifold, Foundation, Superrare, Nifty Gateway, Zora, and OpenSea. They have also introduced the Creator Ownership Research Institute (CORI), a group dedicated to creating a decentralised body focused on improving mechanisms for creator fee enforcement in the future.

OpenSea has also offered to openly discuss creator fee policies with marketplaces Blur, LooksRare, and Sudoswapp to see if they will revert their stance on creator fee avoidance and join the conversation as members of CORI. In addition to these changes, OpenSea has made adjustments to their creator fees policy to accommodate the feedback they received over the past month.

Initially, collections launched after November 8th were required to implement filtering of creator fee-evading marketplaces in order to set enforced creator fees on OpenSea. After the public's feedback OpenSea realised that amount time was not sufficient, so they’ve extended the deadline for when new collections will be required to comply with the creator fee enforcement standard to January 2nd, 2023 across all EVM chains.

Most importantly, the pushback from creators on the lack of an alternative mechanism for earning creator fees on OpenSea outside of their enforcement tool, has led them to revise their on-chain enforcement policy. That being said, also starting on January 2nd 2023, creators that opt out of on-chain creator fee enforcement will be able to set creator fees that are optional for collectors to comply with.

You can read OpenSeas' tweet thread on the update Here.


OpenSeas revenue is heavily reliant on the volume traded on their platform. Customers moving towards marketplaces that do not enforce creator fees naturally cause a significant decrease in volume on OpenSea's marketplace. With that in mind, Openseas V1 approach seemed like an overreaction to the issue at hand. It almost masquerades as a pro-creator royalty tool when it could be seen more like an anticompetitive tool.

However, It is clear that the issue of creator fees and the Operator Filter Registry is a complex and contentious topic. The actions taken by OpenSea have sparked important discussions. Their V2 approach and the formation of CORI is a positive step towards finding a solution that benefits both creators and marketplaces.

This article was written independently by one of our community members

DH Smithy - Drophook

Twitter - Smithy (@ShowPencil) / Twitter

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