What Is an Open Edition NFT Sale?

The mechanic allows for any number of artwork editions to be minted in a given collection, making the work more accessible to the masses.

Updated Feb 17, 2023 at 9:47 a.m. UTC

Many successful non-fungible token (NFT) creators have experimented with different methods to boost the value of their projects. Early profile picture (PFP) collections like CryptoPunks or Bored Ape Yacht Club imbued rarity traits into their collections to make some NFTs harder to come by than others, while many recent collections have started adding in utility so that NFTs in a collection can continue to provide value to holders over time.

In recent months, the NFT market has taken a tumble amid an extended crypto winter, with trade volumes dipping and new entrants into the space tapering off. In response, many new NFT projects have had to shift strategies to boost the reach of their artwork.

One such method that has garnered new attention is the open edition, where an NFT project will allow any number of artwork editions to be minted. This serves in contrast to projects that cap their collections at a certain number of NFTs, for example 10,000 editions.

Open editions vs. limited editions

Limited editions are the most common way NFT collections are released and set the total number of NFTs that will exist at a specific, set number. For example, many famous profile picture NFTs (PFP) including Bored Ape Yacht Club, Doodles and Azuki released collections of exactly 10,000 NFTs. Limited edition collections are usually priced at a higher price point and place emphasis on selling out. There are also one-of-one NFTs, in which there is only one unique NFT that can be minted.

Open editions, on the other hand, do not set a cap on how many NFTs can be created. Typically, NFT collectors are usually given a set time frame to mint an NFT from an open edition collection. When the time limit runs out, the number of NFTs in the collection is capped. So, for example, if a collection is selling its NFTs for 24 hours and only three NFTs are minted, that collection is now capped at three editions. Creators can also cap the number of mints allowed per crypto wallet to keep the collection size low and boost scarcity.

Open editions have also been employed as a charitable fundraising tool, which may set a target goal for the funds as when the collection will be capped.

Broadly speaking, the goal of open edition collections is to make the artwork as accessible to the masses as possible, generally at a lower price.

Pros

Open editions can be very useful for making the project more accessible to a broader range of collectors. Well-known digital artists, such as XCOPY and Grant Riven Yun, have seen success with releasing their collections as open editions.

Some NFT creation platforms, including Manifold and Zora, have popularized open editions and made the tools for creating an open edition more accessible to new entrants in the NFT space. In addition, open editions only require the artist to create one artwork, reducing the amount of coding and work needed to produce an entire NFT collection.

Cons

In practice, open editions usually best serve artists who already have an existing fanbase and who want to welcome a new audience that may have been priced out of their earlier collections.

In addition, if a large number of NFTs are minted during an open edition sale, the collection may be deemed less valuable in the long term.

Some collectors also worry that having a large number of art from their favorite collectors available to the masses may dilute the value of the artist's other works.

Artists' reactions

Artists from across the NFT space have weighed in on open editions, viewing them generally favorably.

"I think one thing that people underestimate about the lower-cost open edition, or just more accessible ways to get your art out there, is that it builds a distribution channel like nothing you've ever experienced before," said Jack Butcher, creator of the popular Checks VV NFT project, which minted as an open edition early last month.

"It maybe feels more in line with the ethos of Web3 that has maybe been in conflict with a lot of that behavior in the space for so long," he told CoinDesk.

NFT artist FVCKRENDER wrote on Twitter that open edition mints prevent "gatekeeping" of an artist's work.

Artist Grant Riven Yun recently tweeted that lower-priced collections are beneficial to both the artist and collectors.

Betty, one of the creators behind the NFT project Deadfellaz, said open editions shift the focus from trading art based on its floor price and overall perceived value to actually owning art.

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This article was originally published on Feb 6, 2023 at 7:29 p.m. UTC

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Rosie Perper

Rosie Perper was the Deputy Managing Editor for Web3 and Learn, focusing on the metaverse, NFTs, DAOs and emerging technology like VR/AR. She has previously worked across breaking news, global finance, tech, culture and business. She holds a small amount of BTC and ETH and several NFTs. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter, The Airdrop.


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