While non-fungibe token (NFT) collections have been extremely popular, they have also sparked a number of new controversies, one of which is censorship. Two of the most well-known NFT markets, Opensea and Rarible, have banned the artist behind Stonetoss Comics, a series of political cartoons. On social media, Stonetoss expressed his concern that these NFT platforms are being utilised as a “weapon for political suppression.”
Political Censorship Charges Have Been Leveled Against Two Major NFT Marketplaces
Censorship of any form was despised in the early days of cryptocurrency, but acts of censorship have begun to seep through the cracks in recent years. Non-fungible token (NFT) assets are supposed to give censorship resistance to things like artwork, online creations, collectibles, virtual products, and more. While NFT markets, such decentralised exchange (dex) platforms, let users to link their wallets and purchase and sell NFT assets, the web portals that host NFTs are deemed centralised. Some dex apps, however, have been accused of censorship and centralization.
On November 22, “Stonetoss,” a pseudonymous conservative cartoonist, warned the public about censorship troubles he was having on Opensea, the largest Ethereum NFT marketplace platform. “Hello, Opensea,” says the narrator. I’m writing because I’m concerned that your platform is being used for political suppression. This message was also sent to your support page. “My collector community is waiting for a response,” Stonetoss wrote on Twitter. Stonetoss also reached out to Rarible, which had previously banned the pseudonymous cartoonist’s NFTs.
Rarible Flurks NFTs De-Platformed from Opensea
Conservative cartoonist Ben Garrison, online comic Ricky Berwick, and comedian Sam Hyde have all endorsed Flurks NFTs. Stonetoss, an artist, spoke with a website this weekend and told the newsdesk about some of the restrictions that have occurred with his current Stonetoss NFT collection.
“On November the 20th, me and a team of mine launched a sale of 5,000 NFT art pieces connected to my work,” Stonetoss explained to our newsdesk. “The project was titled ‘Flurks.’ The project was a set of generative art pieces in a similar style to the famous ‘Bored Ape’ and ‘Cryptopunks’ NFT projects. The project’s official website is Flurksnft.com. Then the team sold out of the entire inventory of NFTs in 22 minutes.”
“The initiative received roughly 420 ethereum, which is equivalent to approximately 1.8 million dollars,” Stonetoss added. “People were instantly speculating on the [resale] price of the artwork on secondary markets like Opensea.io and Rarible.com, as is common with NFTs” (the two largest markets in the NFT space). Of course, the egregious sell-out time was a strong indicator of massive demand,” Stonetoss explained. The anonymous cartoonist went on to say:
Within about six hours of the sell-out, trade volume of the Flurks NFTs exceeded 100 ethereum on Opensea. It was around that point that, for reasons unknown to us, Opensea had apparently de-listed Flurks from their platform – preventing further sales. Sometime thereafter we were also delisted on Rarible for unstated reasons.
Stonetoss Declares the Art ‘No Longer Dangerous’ Dave Chappelle’s ‘Telling Jokes That Some People Don’t Want to Hear’
Rarible relisted the Flurks NFT collection the next day, according to Stonetoss, but the collection was delisted hours afterwards. The cartoonist is unsure why Rarible delisted the NFTs twice, but he believes it was due to political censorship.
“We feel that both Opensea and Rarible’s deplatformings are attempts at political censorship. Because my work as a cartoonist is frequently political, I’ve been the focus of deplatforming campaigns by folks who disagree with me on a regular basis. As a result, I’ve addressed many of the allegations levelled against my work by those seeking to deplatform it,” the cartoonist stated.
“In particular, I reject any kind of violent personal convictions or being associated with political extremism, such as being a ‘nazi.'” “I maintain that my work is no more risky than Dave Chappelle’s in terms of telling jokes that some people don’t want to hear,” the artist added. The cartoonist went on to say that the artist’s team responded to the complaints on Twitter, utilising its formal outreach to the platforms and respectfully tagging Opensea and Rarible’s owners.
“We have gotten no response from either Opensea or Rarible on why the de-platforming occurred, despite reaching out to them via their official support channels and Twitter.” Stonetoss told Bitcoin.com News that the cause might be related to the inclusion of a Confederate flag as a random attribute applied to some of the NFT artworks in the collection. “We also added Pride flags, Gadsden flags, and a hammer-and-sickle clothing as attributes, as described in the Twitter post.” We feel it is self-evident that adding a Confederate flag to this setting is no more an endorsement of the Confederacy than wearing a hammer-and-sickle shirt is a support of communism.” The cartoonist went on to say:
Indeed, the confederate flag is still used by some state governments in the USA. It appears that Opensea and Rarible would prefer ANYTHING except having to address the cause for the de-platforming. Both platforms have branded themselves places for artistic expression. In the official Rarible Discord channel, when pressed, a Rarible employee insisted: ‘We don’t delist something just because of it’s political view.’
‘We Are Not Willing to Let Censorship Go Unchallenged,’ Stonetoss says.
According to the artist, no formal statement from Opensea or Rarible has been communicated to the cartoonist’s team, and the situation “will be extremely humiliating for a site promoting itself as an art market.”
“I have no doubt that Flurks will have a thriving secondary market,” Stonetoss concluded, “even if we have to build our own infrastructure for it.” “A project named ‘Cryptophunks,’ a knock-off of ‘Cryptopunks,’ had previously done this famously and successfully.” As a conservative political cartoonist, though, I am unwilling to accept this restriction without a fight. Indeed, my recognition as an artist is due to my ability to work in such a censorious environment.”