NFT Marketplace OpenSea Blocked Cuban Artists
- To comply with American sanctions, leading NFT marketplace OpenSea is systematically delisting Cuban artists and users.
- The development is a setback for Cuban artists who started minting work on the blockchain in early 2021, during the height of the travel restrictions caused by the virus that cost the island vital tourist dollars.
- The decision by OpenSea comes as no surprise to Cuban artists. It continues a 60-year tradition of U.S. sanctions against the nation, which have persisted in the digital era with services.
In accordance with U.S. sanctions law, the largest NFT marketplace on the internet, OpenSea, is removing Cuban artist and collector accounts from its site.
The development is a setback for Cuban artists who started minting work on the blockchain in early 2021, during the height of the travel restrictions caused by the virus that cost the island vital tourist dollars.
An OpenSea spokesperson told Artnet News via email:
“We comply with U.S. sanctions law. Our terms of service explicitly prohibit sanctioned individuals, individuals in sanctioned jurisdictions, or services from using OpenSea.”
Although the majority of distributed ledger technology is by nature decentralized, the cryptocurrency sector still has sizable centralized platforms that adhere to global sanctions.
NFTcuba.ART is currently being progressively barred from a website with more than 120 million monthly visitors. More than 30 Cuban artists’ OpenSea accounts had been delisted as of this writing. NFTs’ underlying technology may be open and decentralized, but the firms hosting its exchange are not.
The decision by OpenSea comes as no surprise to Cuban artists. It comes after 60 years of U.S. sanctions against Cuba, which have persisted into the modern era with the likes of Gitlab, Zoom, MailChimp, and WeTransfer being inaccessible from within Cuba (sometimes even when using a VPN).
One area of misunderstanding stems from the fact that OpenSea quickly changed from a platform that supported and celebrated Cuban artists to one that now imposes a blanket ban on all users, regardless of their other nationalities.
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