Although non-fungibe token (NFT), collectibles were very well received, NFTs brought many unique issues and debates. The artist behind Stonetoss Comics, a series of political cartoons, has been censored by two very prominent NFT marketplaces — Opensea and Rarible. Stonetoss has told the public on social media that the artist fears these NFT platforms are being used as a “tool for political censorship.”
Two Large NFT Marketplaces are Accused Of Political Censorship
Although censorship in any form was not something that people were opposed to during the initial days of cryptocurrency, acts such as censorship are now becoming more common. The very nature of Bitcoin and blockchain technology is touted as “censorship-resistant” tools and non-fungible token (NFT) assets are meant to provide censorship-resistance to things like artwork, online creations, collectibles, virtual items, and more. NFT platforms allow users to link their wallets, buy or sell NFT assets such as decentralized exchange (dex), platforms. However, web portals that host NFTs, are not considered centralized. Some applications for dex have been accused, too, of centralization or censorship.
On November 22, the pseudonymous conservative cartoonist known as “Stonetoss,” told the public about censorship issues the artist was dealing with on the biggest Ethereum NFT marketplace platform Opensea. “Hello Opensea, I am reaching out because I fear your platform is being co-opted as a tool for political censorship. Also, I sent the message to your support site. My collector community would like a reply,” Stonetoss tweeted. Stonetoss, also sent outreach to Rarible as well, as the NFT marketplace also banned the pseudonymous cartoonist’s NFTs.
— Ben Garrison Cartoon Variant (@CartoonsBen) November 16, 2021
Opensea and Rarible: Flurks NFTs Are De-Platformed
Flurks has seen NFTs supportBen Garrison is a conservative cartoonist and internet comedian. Ricky BerwickComedy and the Comedian Sam Hyde. Stonetoss talked to Bitcoin.com News about the censorship of his recent Stonetoss NFT-collective.
“On November the 20th, me and a team of mine launched a sale of 5,000 NFT art pieces connected to my work,” Stonetoss explained to our newsdesk. “The project was titled ‘Flurks.’ The project was a set of generative art pieces in a similar style to the famous ‘Bored Ape’ and ‘Cryptopunks’ NFT projects. The project’s official website is Flurksnft.com. Then the team sold out of the entire inventory of NFTs in 22 minutes.”
“The project collected a total of about 420 ethereum, [and] this is equivalent to approximately 1.8 million USD,” Stonetoss further stressed. “As is popular with NFTs, people were immediately speculating on the [resale]The artwork’s price on secondary markets such as Opensea.io or Rarible.com, which are the largest NFT markets. Of course, the shocking sell-out time was a strong signal for huge demand,” Stonetoss said. The cartoonist, who is not identified as Stonetoss, added:
The Flurks’ NFTs trade volume soared to 100 ethereum in less than six hours after the sold-out. It was around that point that, for reasons unknown to us, Opensea had apparently de-listed Flurks from their platform – preventing further sales. We were then delisted from Rarible, for unknown reasons.
Stonetoss Asserts That the Art Is ‘No More Dangerous Dave Chappelle; Telling Jokes Some People Don’t Want to Hear’
Stonetoss also stated that Rarible listed the Flurks NFT Collection the next day but it was removed from the list hours later. The artist doesn’t know why Rarible delisted the NFTs two times, but the cartoonist suspects political censorship.
“We believe this de-platforming on both Opensea and Rarible are attempts at political censorship. Since my cartoonist work is political, deplatforming campaigns have regularly been launched against me by people who don’t agree. In response, I have addressed many of the claims made against my work by those wishing to de-platform it,” the cartoonist said.
“Specifically, I reject holding any sort of violent personal beliefs or being connected to political extremism such as being a ‘nazi.’ I maintain that my work is no more dangerous than that of Dave Chappelle; telling jokes some people don’t want to hear,” the artist further remarked. The cartoonist added that the artist’s team addressed the grievances using its official outreach to the platforms on Twitter and respectfully tagged Opensea’s and Rarible’s founders as well.
“Despite reaching out on their official support channels and on Twitter, we have received no reply from either Opensea or Rarible for why the de-platforming occurred. We speculate that the reason might be due to the inclusion of a Confederate flag as a random trait applied to some of the NFT artworks in the set,” Stonetoss told Bitcoin.com News. “As explained in the Twitter post, we also included Pride flags, Gadsden Flags, and a hammer-and-sickle shirt as traits as well. We believe it is obvious that in this context, the addition of a Confederate flag is no more of an endorsement of the Confederacy as a hammer-and-sickle shirt is an endorsement of communism.” The cartoonist added:
The confederate flag can still be used in some states of the USA, indeed. Opensea (and Rarible) would rather have to do something than deplatforming. Both platforms are known as places where artists can express themselves. In the official Rarible Discord channel, when pressed, a Rarible employee insisted: ‘We don’t delist something just because of it’s political view.’
Stonetoss Is ‘Not Willing to Let Censorship Go Unchallenged’
The artist says that no official word from Opensea and Rarible has been sent to the cartoonist’s team and the artist expects the issue “to be quite embarrassing for a platform touting itself as an art market.”
“Personally, I have no doubt that Flurks will enjoy a healthy secondary market even if we have to construct our own platform for it,” Stonetoss concluded. “This was already famously and successfully done by a project called ‘Cryptophunks,’ a knock-off of ‘Cryptopunks.’ However, as a conservative political cartoonist, I am not willing to let this censorship go unchallenged. Indeed, my renown as an artist is precisely because I can operate in this censorious environment.”
Rarible was accused by Opensea of de-platforming Stonetoss NFT collections. What are your thoughts? Comment below and let us know how you feel about the subject.
Images CreditsShutterstock. Pixabay. Wiki commons. Flurks NFTs. Stonetoss Comics.
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