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Issues with NFT holders’ IP rights could be a “huge problem for the future of the metaverse,” says Galaxy Digital’s research head.


In brief

A new Galaxy Digital research report claims that NFT project creators are falling short in how they assign IP rights to holders.

It calls out the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Moonbirds as projects that have potentially “misled” buyers with IP rights claims.

One of the most compelling selling points for some NFT projects is the ability for holders to commercialize their avatars to create and sell derivative artwork, merchandise, and more. But a new report from Galaxy Digital suggests that major NFT projects have “misled” buyers about what they’re getting when it comes to supposed IP rights.

Released on Friday, “A Survey of NFT Licenses: Facts & Fictions” examines the largest NFT projects today based on implied market value, particularly in regards to the rights they claim to bestow to their holders. The report concludes that, in fact, the "vast majority of NFTs convey zero intellectual property ownership" to their owners—and it highlights two projects in particular that Galaxy researchers believe have falsely marketed IP rights to buyers: the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Moonbirds.

Some NFT projects are much more permissive with their IP than others, the report claims. Yuga Labs’ Bored Apes are arguably the best-known example of a project that offers broad license for holders to use their Ethereum NFT images as they see fit. That has led to apparel, marijuana packaging, music projects, and even Ape-themed fast food restaurants.


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