CNN offers holders partial refunds as it suddenly shutters NFT Vault

Quick Take

  • NFT collectors want full reimbursement from CNN after it announced it was winding down its web3 project.
  • The news organization will refund NFT holders some of the initial mint price of their NFTs.
  • The Block contacted CNN for comment. x

Collectors who purchased NFTs from Vault by CNN were left in the lurch after the news provider suddenly decided to wind down the project.

CNN said Vault originally launched as a six-week experiment — which some in the community claimed was news to them — but that support and engagement from the community allowed it to expand into something larger. However, it will now no longer develop or maintain that community.

“There goes my CNN Vault investment, never would have guessed CNN as a company pulling a rug,” said user MM81 in the Vault by CNN Discord server.

Rug pulls are a scam where creators hype up tokens or NFT collections before abandoning the project and running off with investors’ money. While CNN remains in communication with NFT holders and hasn’t “rug pulled” in this sense, holders nevertheless feel blindsided. The project’s roadmap includes new features up until the end of Q4 2022, including exclusive perks and events for collectors.

Vault by CNN launched in the summer of 2021 as a marketplace selling NFT versions of the news organization’s reports on notable events such as space shuttle launches and presidential elections. It also sold art inspired by news events.

In April, Press Gazette estimated Vault by CNN had made $324,000 from the 28 highest-priced NFT runs on the marketplace before fees, though CNN declined to comment to the outlet on its financials.


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Collectors will get some of those funds back, but not enough to end talk on the Discord server of lawyering up. Discord moderator and Vault by CNN core team member Jason confirmed a partial refund would be paid in FLOW tokens or Stablecoins.

“We are currently working out the details, but expect the distribution amount to be roughly 20% of the original mint price for each Vault NFT owned,” he said.

In response to whether the images and video in the NFTs stored on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) protocol would remain, he added that the collection would "live on." CNN will continue to operate the Vault Marketplace and the Discord server will stay open until distributions are processed.

The Block contacted CNN for comment but had not heard back by press time. 

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Callan Quinn is an NFT, gaming and metaverse reporter. She started her career working for the expat magazine City Weekend in Guangzhou, China. She also has worked as a business journalist in the UK, Somaliland and the republic of Georgia. Before joining The Block, she was a freelance journalist covering the Chinese tech industry. She speaks Mandarin, French and German. Get in touch via Twitter @quinnishvili or email [email protected].