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OpenSea has a zero-tolerance policy against individuals, entities and even countries appearing in the US sanctions list.
Amidst the growing US sanctions in the context of the Russia-Ukraine war, there has been burgeoning interest of policymakers in the crypto operations. As the government tries to bring crypto in Congress talks, blockchain-based companies are trying to comply with all government rules to avoid censorships. Senators are openly asking questions regarding the potential use of crypto to evade sanctions. The latest in news is OpenSea which barred its users operating from Iran to use its services. A lot of frustrated folks took to Twitter to report this sudden onset of crypto sanctions being forced upon them.
Why Did the NFT Marketplace OpenSea Block Iranian Users?
An OpenSea representative confirmed the news to Decrypt stating that it has blocked users based out of countries listed among the US sanction list. The representative further elaborated on OpenSea’s compliance with the sanctions policy wherein they block users from using their NFT transaction-related services. The company has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to individuals, entities and even countries appearing in the sanctions list. In the case of Iran, the sanctions have been put on the Iranian government for its act of prohibiting the US-based companies from offering their goods and services in Iran.
Frustrated OpenSea users shared screenshots from their Twitter account to show deleted accounts and removed collections. Nima Leo Photos lamented on its photography collection being removed from the platform whereas another user called Arman stated that he received an error 404 message whilst accessing OpenSea. For another user Arefeh Norouzii on the New York-based NFT marketplace, the verified account was confiscated without any prior warning or update.
The NFT marketplace has been infuriating users for some time now by being caught up in multiple financial and legal challenges. It was recently a victim of external phishing costing the company about $1.7 million. Besides facing a lawsuit regarding a stolen NFT, it also underwent financial loss when it had to refund almost $1.8 million following an OpenSea listing exploit.
OpenSea is a New York-based peer-to-peer NFT marketplace for enthusiasts who want to buy, sell, collect and discover these digital assets. Founded in 2017 by Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah, OpenSea was the first open marketplace for NFTS hosted on the Ethereum blockchain. OpenSea aims to create an open digital economy where consumers can trade freely, developers can build integrated platforms for digital assets and artists can create new digital work. Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase, Dapper, Blockstack, etc. are some of its principal investors.