NFT marketplace selling 'fantasy equity' shuts down one day into open beta testing

Visionrare, a startup that aimed to create the fantasy football version of NFT venture funding, shut down its marketplace after a day of open beta testing, TechCrunch first reported. 

The original premise was that users could purchase NFTs representing fake shares of actual companies and compete among others regarding who had the most successful portfolio. 

However, the founders allegedly did not seek permission from the startups featured in the game to sell NFTs of fake shares of their companies. 

As Visionrare founders Jacob Claerhout and Boris Gordts wrote in a statement, Visionrare “underestimated the legal complexities” of creating such a game. They had inadvertently waded into the ongoing debate as to whether NFTs can represent securities. 

As the co-founders wrote: 

"Our goal from the get-go has been to create a game that brings the excitement of startup investing to a wide audience through NFTs. We want Visionrare to be an ode to startups and a fundamentally positive experience for both players and startups.

For the last couple of weeks we worked on building the minimal viable product of a game that brings this idea to life. However, during this process we underestimated the legal complexities and decided it is best to hold off on some of the current dynamics.

We are still convinced that startup investing is a fascinating, exciting and educational experience that should be available to a wider audience, but we want to make sure we build a product that is mindful of all the intricacies that come with this mission."

Visionrare is now pivoting to a free-to-play model, in which the game will give players a certain amount of credits to build their startup portfolio and then compete on their portfolio's performance. No player may purchase new NFTs of fake shares of startups, and anyone who has purchased any will be refunded. 

“Down the line, we'll figure out if and how we can add a financial element again,” the Visionrare founders wrote in the statement.