Key Takeaways

  • OpenSea has hired a new CFO, Brian Roberts. He told Bloomberg he is planning to take the company public.
  • Roberts recently joined OpenSea from Lyft, the company he helped go public in 2019.
  • Several prominant voices in the NFT community have expressed disappointment in the move, claiming OpenSea is abandoning its users.

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Former Lyft CFO Brian Roberts has joined OpenSea and plans to take the company public, but many members of the NFT community disapprove. 

OpenSea Planning Initial Public Offering

One of the biggest winners of this year’s NFT boom looks set to host an initial public offering.

OpenSea is planning to raise funds through an IPO, the company’s new CFO Brian Roberts revealed in an interview with Bloomberg Monday. Roberts was integral to ride-sharing app Lyft’s successful IPO in 2019 and now looks set to bring his playbook to the crypto startup.

“When you have a company growing as fast as this one, you’d be foolish not to think about it going public,” explained Roberts, who also remarked on OpenSea’s impressive financial record. “I’ve seen a lot of P&Ls (profit and loss statements) but I’ve never seen a P&L like this,” he said.

While Roberts works toward taking OpenSea public, NFT collectors and artists are not taking the news well. Several prominent voices in the NFT space have taken to Twitter to express their disappointment with the move. 

Many in the crypto community had previously speculated on an OpenSea token airdrop for its users, an increasingly common practice among crypto projects. One of the most recent major airdrops involved Ethereum Name Service, which last month distributed governance tokens to those who had purchased .eth domains in an effort to decentralize the company through a DAO. 

However, now that OpenSea is planning an initial public offering, a token launch looks less likely. Instead, the company is looking to raise more funds from investors. According to Roberts, the company “doesn’t need to raise more cash” but wants to use the financing from an IPO “to acquire companies, strike partnerships, and create joint ventures to further expand the use of NFTs into new industries.”

In response, many OpenSea users and NFT collectors feel that the company has abandoned its users in favor of investors. Some have suggested that OpenSea would not be the successful company it is today without the support of its community. “Sucks to hear @opensea is selling out and doing an IPO,” a Twitter user going by the name Punk_2070 wrote. “Their VCs didn’t get them to where they are today. We did.” basedkarbon remarked that “anyone who’s had the displeasure of speaking with OpenSea community support would know that OpenSea doesn’t care about community at all.”

As the first NFT marketplace to gain mainstream popularity, OpenSea has handled the lion’s share of NFT trading on Ethereum, hitting a record transaction volume of $3.4 billion during the height of NFT mania in August. OpenSea recently partnered with the auction house Christie’s for several high-value NFT auctions from established NFT artists such as Blake Kathryn and Fvckrender. 

Disclosure: At the time of writing this feature, the author owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.

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