DeFi developer and Yearn.Finance (YFI) creator Andre Cronje has launched an NFT marketplace called Artion on the Fantom blockchain, as a rival to Ethereum-based NFT platforms such as OpenSea.
The new NFT marketplace, unlike OpenSea, is built entirely with open-source code, which, in theory, could spawn copycat platforms to dilute OpenSea’s market share in a potential multi “vampire attack”.
In the world of open-source crypto projects, a vampire attack is when a rival “forks”, or copies, a project’s code in order to create a similar service, perhaps with better incentives and lower fees, ultimately sucking away market share from the original.
The most well-known instance of this is Sushi, which took Uniswap’s highly successful decentralised exchange model and created its own multi-billion-dollar DEX in direct competition in September last year.
Cronje told CoinDesk that a vampire attack is “not my play” but that, since Artion is open source, other teams could theoretically fork Artion’s code and take on OpenSea as well.
Announcing the “fair launch” of the platform in beta, Cronje posted on Twitter the classic Heath Ledger Joker line: “It’s not about money. It’s about sending a message.”
OpenSea, while a pioneer in NFT trading markets and the undisputed leader in terms of trading volume (US$3.4 billion worth in August alone), has its critics for its fee-based structure, among other things.
Artion does not charge a fee for buying NFTs, whereas OpenSea commands a flat fee of 2.5 per cent on purchase transactions.
And, in a blog post, the Fantom Foundation revealed that it costs just 10 FTM (about US$12 at the time of writing) to mint an NFT on its blockchain.
Due to Ethereum’s volatile network gas fees, however, it’s been known to cost significantly more than that to mint on the OG smart-contract blockchain – even as much as several hundred dollars in times of particularly high-network volume. It’s an ongoing problem, but the emergence of layer 2 scaling solutions for Ethereum, such as Arbitrum and Optimism are built to fix such issues.
“Our mission, in short, is to unburden creators of the high fees and constraints that limit the potential of imagination,” reads the Fantom Foundation post.
Fantom also highlighted Artion’s “instant finality” speed compared to the, for now, comparatively sluggish operations of OpenSea on Ethereum.
‘I like starting fires’
Earlier this month, OpenSea Head of Product Nate Chastain (who has since left the organisation) was accused of insider trading, allegedly buying NFTs he knew would be featured on the platform’s homepage, only to sell at significant profit once that transpired.
Chastain reportedly made a profit of about US$65,000 on his NFT frontrunning activities, causing resentment among the passionate NFT community.
And that was likely all the impetus Cronje needed to set about building Artion with a seven-strong team of developers.
In back-and-forth exchanges with CoinDesk on Telegram, Cronje said that he “encourages” forks of his new project. When asked why he would spend time on a build that could, itself, have market share easily diluted away, he replied:
“I like building open protocols and then seeing wtf people can do with it. I like starting fires.”
According to the Fantom Foundation, Artion’s roadmap includes the support of the same ERC-721 tokens and ERC-115 collections employed on OpenSea, as well as the creation of an NFT bridge for cross-blockchain interoperability.