OpenSea Suspends ENS Domain Auctions, Lays Off 20% Of Its Workforce

Ayush Pande

Not long after laying off 20% of its workforce, NFT marketplace OpenSea announced that it would stop auctions of music-themed Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domains after receiving a compliance letter from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

RIAA Flags Multiple ENS Domains That Use Label Names Owned By Its Members

An Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domain is a unique website address that ends with .eth. These domains are used to access Web3 websites hosted using InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) protocols and function as Ethereum wallets allowing users to receive their crypto funds. 

In other words, the ENS domains can be considered as the Web3 equivalent of Domain Name Service (DNS). Furthermore, these domains can be bought, sold, and traded on secondary markets like OpenSea.

OpenSea received a letter from RIAA claiming that dozens of its ENS domains, including universalmusic.eth, repriserecords.eth, and sony-group.eth. infringe the RIAA’s or its members’ trademarks. 

The letter, posted on TorrentFreak, also claimed that the sale of these domains violated Anti CyberSquatting Consumer Protection Act (1999) and violated state and common law rights of publicity and unfair trade practices. 

All this happened one week after ENS registrations spiked 216% and saw $3M in revenue in less than a week. Moreover, with ENS being the top-rated collection on OpenSea, the secondary sales on the platform exceeded 6900 ETH ($7.9M).  

OpenSea Lets Go Of One-Fifth Of Its Workforce On Account Of Crypto-Winter

OpenSea’s CEO Devin Finzer confirmed that the company laid off 20% of its workers, citing crypto winter and broad macroeconomic instability as the causes. OpenSea directly notified each affected worker in person. 

In his heartfelt post, Devin also claimed OpenSea will provide the workers leaving the company severance pay and healthcare coverage into 2023 and help them with job placements using OpenSea’s extensive personal network.

OpenSea has had its fair share of problems lately. The platform came under fire earlier this month when it blacklisted NFTs worth $27M. Moreover, It also had an email database breach at the beginning of July that led to many users receiving phishing emails from fraudulent websites claiming to be OpenSea.

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