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NFT Platform OpenSea Starts Blocking Users, Says It’s Following US Sanctions List of Banned Countries

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OpenSea NFT marketplace has begun blocking access from certain locations, claiming that it is following the sanctions levied on these regions by the US. The company is headquartered in US’ New York City. While legally, OpenSea is merely adhering to the law of the land, its actions have sparked discussions on the ‘decentralised’ factor that blockchain-related firms boast about while distinguishing themselves from traditional corporates. The concept of decentralisation revolves largely around eliminating the power to control or follow the decisions of a centralised entity.

“Bornosor”, an Iranian NFT artist claimed that his OpenSea account was deleted or deactivated without his permission and any explanation.

Similar complaints emerged against crypto wallet service provider Metamask as well.

In an explanation tweeted in response to a complaint, OpenSea said it was just complying with US sanctions law.

In the backdrop of Russia’s ongoing attacks on Ukraine, the US has refreshed its list of countries where American companies are not allowed to provide services.

Iran, North Korea, and Syria were already part of this list, with Russia being the latest addition.

NFTs or non-fungible tokens are digital assets, inspired by video clips, game characters, music, artists and several other things. Like other elements of the blockchain networks, NFTs are also under scrutiny in the US, currently awaiting regulatory decisions.

OpenSea users have expressed disappointment about these developments on social media demanding at least a notification to the concerned artists.

OpenSea has been reigning in the NFT selling space. This January, it set a new record by registering monthly sales of over $3.5 billion (roughly Rs. 26,038 crore) for the first time ever.


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