OpenSea Comes Clean on Stolen Items Policy, Announces Updates

OpenSea has explained why its stolen items policy seems to be unfair on holders of flagged NFTs.
Image source: OpenSea

Quick take:

  • OpenSea has issued an update about its stolen items policy.
  • The leading NFT marketplace also explained why it has been so strict on enabling the sale of items flagged as stolen.
  • The company plans to expand the way it uses police reports to accelerate the confirmation of stolen items.

OpenSea has blamed its strict stolen items policy on the US legal structure. In a long thread on Twitter, the company said Thursday that it cannot allow items flagged as stolen to be sold because it is against the law to sell stolen items in the US.

The leading non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace has consistently faced backlash from its community for flagging and blocking NFTs from tradable items on its platform. Ideally, if a user reports an NFT as stolen, the platform has no choice but to flag it and disable it from tradable items.

The action is taken to prevent collectors and traders from potentially profiting from a stolen item. Whilst OpenSea is justified in citing US laws as to why it cannot allow users to sell items flagged as stolen on the platform, it also protects itself from the risk of financial loss should the actual owner issue the NFT platform with a lawsuit.

However, most users feel that the $13.3 billion company has not been transparent enough about its policy. The company has now come clean, acknowledging that it has been less proactive in addressing the problem.

“Our policy is designed to keep our community safe, but we know in some cases its side effects have damaged your trust in our platform. We’ve failed to proactively and transparently communicate the rationale behind our approach,” OpenSea wrote.

The company has previously used police reports in escalated disputes to find solutions. Now it wants to extend the same service towards flagged items. OpenSea thinks this will help accelerate the process of confirming whether or not an item is really stolen. 

“For all reports going forward, if we don’t receive a police report within 7 days, we’ll re-enable buying & selling for the reported item,” the Twitter thread reads, adding that the goal is to help prevent false reports. 

“We think this is a good 1st step & we’re grateful for the community’s suggestions.”

The company said it will also take measures to make it easier for users that reported a stolen item to re-enable it for buying and selling upon the recovery of the item or after they determine its time to withdraw the report.

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