Nifty Gateway Has 888 Problems But A Niche Ain't One
Nifty Gateway (NG) was the first NFT platform I was aware of. I think that it has been many new collector’s introduction into the NFT space. It brands itself as the marketplace for the mainstream and it seems to have succeeded in doing so due to a variety of reasons: The Winklevoss Twins (Facebook), the rising star quality of artists (Beeple, Pak, FVCKRENDER), and celebrities and pop culture icons (Paris Hilton, The Weekend, Eminem) etc.).
The platform has attracted a number of large collectors but no one more recognizable, and anonymous than 888.
Every drop, 888 was there buying open editions, winning silent auctions and sometimes even talking in the Discord chat. This is especially impressive considering Nifty Gateway has a drop every single day. Notice I said was.
In the last month there has been a growing sentiment in the Nifty Gateway discord, NG is having an existential crisis. At first it was rumblings from new people having trouble navigating the ins and outs of another platform. Then it was veterans of the site that began to voice concerns, escalating to frustrations. Finally, 3 weeks ago, the largest collector on the site made a public statement:
Crypto Over Fist
For a few months in late 2020 and early 2021 Nifty Gateway was printing money.
The barrage of constant drops did not appear to slow down the secondary market for NFTs. Flippers and collectors alike could rest easy knowing the value would instantly double and sometimes increase as much as 1000% in thirty days.
That momentum was unsustainable but you wouldn’t have known from the community of NFT supporters. There were no moves to caution investors or to slow down the number of drops. In fact, Nifty Gateway began ramping up - doing afternoon drops, followed by two, sometimes three in the evening.
Things were good. So collectors tolerated just about everything. Nifty Gateway had an insane, possibly the best, secondary market going.
Open Editions (editions where the number minted is however many are purchased) went from mints 100-150 range quickly to 300-750 depending on the name recognition of the artist. Trevor Jones’s Bitcoin Angel open edition minted 4100. Buyers celebrated in the discord and congratulated Trevor on Twitter for the success of his drop.
Part of what pushed the high mint number was the additional benefit. Owners of the Bitcoin Angel will be entered into a drawing to win a 1/1 drawing by Trevor Jones when Bitcoin hits $77,777. In March, this seemed inevitable. People were sharing that they had bought multiple editions to increase their chances.
But how are open editions doing now?
So what started the downward spiral?
Some seem to think it started with Joanie Lemercier.
Joanie of Arc
Joanie brought awareness to the CO2 emissions issue of NFTs and focused the attention on Nifty Gateway. She went so far as to even cancel a future drop on the platform.
She gained the support of top name artists to bring awareness to the issue as well:
“Together with Beeple, Gmunk, Refik Anadol and others, we’ve invested time and efforts to raise awareness on the impact of #NFTs, to mitigate our individual footprints and we donated artworks to raise funds for the Open Earth Foundation. We expected similar efforts from the platform hosting the project, but Nifty Gateway has shown no interest in reducing their own impact.” - Joanie Lemercier, The Carbon Drop
The intentions, admirable. The execution, inadequate.
Joanie’s blogpost was posted on March 22. Beeple, GMUNK, FVCKRENDER and Refik Anadol all had drops after her post. So the concern of the environment is not what caused the current issues facing Nifty Gateway but the artists returning to the scene of the crime to do multiple drops after this empty statement does shed some light.
Get To The Point! What Is Happening?!
A simple answer is that the root of all Nifty Gateway’s issues sprout from their greed. Nifty Gateway embraces their own addiction to consumption with what seems to be their mission statement, “We won’t rest until 1 billion people are collecting nifties.”
NFTs will reach one billion people, inevitably. There are enough uses that the exponential growth will be uncontainable. NG has enough money to be the marketplace to accomplish this. However, in their current state, the reputation of the NFT space will be tarnished beyond repair or worse, never taken seriously thus delaying adoption by the masses even further.
But there is so much more causing their downfall.
For Nifty Gateway to avoid becoming the pariah of the NFT space they need to begin addressing the glaring issues:
Website - It’s hard to believe that NG attained the notoriety it has with a website design like this. This would have been frustrating in 1998 but on a platform pulling in millions a month it’s completely unacceptable. Up until recently this was how you had to find artists and their collection. Don’t even bother looking at it on mobile.
Open Sea Listings - Every programming decision Nifty makes seems executed by an unpaid intern just looking to say an item is done. NG posts all minted NFTs from their site on Open Sea. Great. But, this doesn’t benefit the person who bought it. It’s just kind of…there. To let people know that nothing links back to the site, there is no integration to Nifty Gateway’s own marketplace. Customers cannot accept offers or even sell it on Open Sea this way. This seems like a cheap fix like printing your own business cards at home.
Wallet Transfers - When the secondary market began to cool off I thought perhaps there were not enough eyeballs seeing what was for sale. So I transferred it to my wallet, then to Open Sea, no problem. Then NG announced they would be doing a burn event (it wasn’t) for this particular NFT. I quickly started the transfer to make sure I was ready for this event by 6:45 PM EST drop time. But, nothing happened. I missed it. I chalked it up to a congested network and was even more angry when I found out you needed five days (more on this next) and rushed for nothing. So I figured I’d sell it the next day. But the deposit still didn’t happen. Five days, three e-mails and $150 in gas fees later my NFT was deposited to my account. It seems the unpaid intern has multiple jobs that are getting half-assed.
Drop Requirements - In effort to combat bots swooping in open editions too quickly, or opportunistic individuals only looking to flip a limited NFT, NG began making requirements for specific drops. A validated account is needed for most drops now. Some have special requirements like owning a previous NFT. Or so they say…
Thankfully, I was not involved in this drop. My frustration with the platform had boiled over and I have not been back in some time. I can’t imagine if I was one of the customers of the Monstercat drop, thinking I would have an even more limited piece and be rewarded for my belief in a project, only to be find out after that it didn’t matter at all. The public was allowed to participate in what was supposed to be an exclusive drop for early supporters. These NFTs have now flooded the secondary market and set the floor for the entire market.
Care for the Customer Base - Discords can become flourishing communities. Right now Nifty Gateway’s is a cesspool of negativity. That all starts from the top. When the admins decide to show up in the chat it is for a drop that stands to make them money. If there is an issue, or a previously unaddressed issues that the community has been requesting for months, their responses are condescending or non-existent. The owners of the platform care only about the upcoming drop and the possible money to pry from their customer hands.
Ultimately, this is the cause of all of Nifty Gateway’s issues. Their neglect towards the people that have made them a premiere marketplace in the NFT space. They certainly do not care if you are a small time collector. Even if you’re the largest collector they may take your call but won’t change a damn thing. Even then they’ll start a public argument too like Tommy at Nifty Gateway did:
Hopefully, Nifty Gateway will lose their mainstream NFT platform status when more large collectors leave:
Retail collectors will need to find marketplaces dedicated to the arts; pushing out the bots and crypto trading addicts looking for quick profit. Most people are less sadistic towards capitalist endeavors that go south than myself and want to see it thrive. 888 has even said that they want nothing more than to see Nifty Gateway thrive for the community and artists success. But for now, they are still taking a step back.
And where will 888 be looking for NFTs in the meantime?
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