CNN Pulls the Plug – Or Should That Be Rug? – On Its NFT Marketplace

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International broadcaster CNN has announced it will be shutting down the non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace it launched last summer leading to accusations of a rug pull.

“We have news to share with you today,” the announcement stated, “we are saying goodbye to Vault by CNN.” While the announcement offered no specific reason for the decision, it explained that CNN would no longer be maintaining or developing the community.

It highlighted partnerships “with amazing journalists, producers, artists, photojournalists, and collectors,” the latter of whom it singled out for their “interest and engagement.” 

CNN plans to “compensate” collectors

According to the announcement, the project was originally intended as a six-week experiment, which only expanded due to the engagement and support of the community.

Launched in June 2021, CNN’s Vault consisted of “Moments” from the broadcaster’s television archives, which were minted and sold as NFTs. Owners of these Moments NFTs would receive a digital copy to collect, and could showcase them on their personal user page on the platform.

Despite folding this venture, the announcement concluded that CNN would be carrying the “concept around community storytelling into future projects,” based on what it had learned from its “first foray into Web3.”

Participants in the project expressed dismay over the announcement, according to the project’s Discord channel. While some community members said they would be contacting their lawyers, accusing CNN of perpetrating a “rug pull,” CNN said it intends to compensate collectors with distributions, according to the purchase price of each wallet’s NFTs as of Oct. 6. 

NFT prices tumble in past year

CNN likely made the decision based on the fact that the market for NFTs have diminished considerably over the past year, in conjunction with plummeting cryptocurrency prices.

According to data from decentralized application tracker DappRadar, total sales of NFTs amounted to $3.4 billion over the third quarter of 2022. This represents a drop of more than half from the previous quarter’s $8.4 billion, and nearly two-thirds from the first quarter peak of $12.5 billion in total sales.


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