Coinbase NFT halts artist drops as trading volume tanks


Monthly NFT trading volumes—even after crashing 97% from their January 2022 peak—still figure in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but not on the platform built by Coinbase, the second-largest crypto exchange after Binance. Recent data shows that trades over the past 24 hours on Coinbase NFT have amounted to $149 after hovering around $108 for much of Thursday.

Perhaps that’s why Coinbase NFT announced on Wednesday it was pausing NFT drops. In a tweet, the company clarified that its suspension of launching new NFTs with artists exclusively on Coinbase was not a death knell for the company’s foray into non-fungible tokens, and that it was pausing NFT drops to focus on other “features and tools” in the marketplace requested by artists.

“We believe that ultimately these changes will bring increased focus and efficiency to the Coinbase NFT team’s ability to build an enduring product that best serves the community in the long-term,” a spokesperson at Coinbase said in a statement to Fortune.

The spokesperson did not provide details on the “features and tools” mentioned in its original announcement or say when NFT drops could resume. Coinbase still provides access to NFTs listed by competitors such as OpenSea, so users can access them elsewhere.

Since it was launched in April, Coinbase NFT has seen a total trading volume of roughly $7.3 million, according to Dune Analytics. In addition to not cracking the $150 mark over the past 24 hours, the site’s seven-day volume was a shade below $1,500. OpenSea, by comparison, saw over $10 million in volume just on Tuesday, per DappRadar.

As Coinbase, which is publicly traded, nears an earnings release at the end of February, it’s struggled with setbacks. (Its stock price, however, has tracked upward.) In January, the company announced it would be cutting over 25% of its current staff, roughly 950 employees, which followed other rounds of layoffs in 2022. And it recently reached a $100 million settlement with the New York Department of Financial Services for its alleged failure to adequately protect itself from money laundering and narcotics trafficking, among other forms of criminal conduct.

Surojit Chatterjee, formerly the company’s chief product officer and who reportedly was responsible for launching Coinbase NFT, also left the company in November.

“Rest assured, our mission for Coinbase NFT hasn’t changed and we remain optimistic about our future as we continue building,” the company tweeted after its original announcement.

That didn’t stop members of the crypto community on Twitter from sharpening their knives.

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