OpenSea says NFT creators earned $1 billion in royalties this year

Quick Take

  • OpenSea said that up to Nov. 23 this year, NFT creators had earned more than $1 billion through royalty payments on its platform in 2022. 
  • Royalties have become an increasingly fractious issue in the NFT space, as businesses fight for market share. 

Creators selling NFTs on OpenSea collectively earned $1.1 billion this year, with 80% of that amount allocated to collections outside the top 10.

These earnings do not include sponsorship revenue, engagement incentives or grants, according to a blog post by Shiva Rajaraman, OpenSea's VP of product, who analyzed transactions that included a creator fee between Jan. 1 and Nov. 23. 

Once championed as a prime use case for artists in the NFT space, and a golden egg in the creator economy, what OpenSea dubs "creator fees" are generated through taking a cut on the resale of NFTs on the company's platform. Also known as royalties, they have been hailed as a way for artists to reap recurring benefits as their creations are sold on. 

The levy has become an increasingly fractious topic among NFT businesses over the past months as they fight for customers. Some marketplaces such as Solana-focused Magic Eden have moved to make that charge optional. Meanwhile, Stepn's new NFT marketplace Mooar touted a subscription model.

OpenSea, which has long held the crown for being one of the largest marketplaces by monthly volume, has so far stood behind their continued enforcement. Earlier this month, it shared a tool to help creators debuting new collections on the platform enforce royalties on-chain. The code in the smart contract restricts NFT sales to marketplaces that enforce creator fees. 

To date, royalties for Ethereum-based NFT projects earned a total of $1.8 billion in revenue, according to a Galaxy Digital report released in October. The top 10 NFT projects netted $489 million, or 27% of all royalties earned. Yuga Labs, with its Bored Ape, Mutant Ape and Otherside projects, brought in $147.6 million in royalties, followed by Art Blocks with $82 million. 

Read more: NFT royalties: The story so far

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