LimeWire Launches NFT Marketplace

LimeWire Launches NFT Marketplace

by Payton Dunn

LimeWire unveiled its new website this month, rebranding itself to a music and entertainment NFT platform after announcing the plan back in March. The launch came with an ad underscored by Soulja Boy’s boisterous 2007 hit song, "Crank That (Soulja Boy)."

The video is a nod to the fact that Soulja Boy actually became famous and made “Crank That” a hit with the help of LimeWire’s original peer-to-peer file sharing service launched in 2000.

While other artists and the wider music industry were losing their minds over the threat that file sharing services posed to their business model, Soulja Boy decided to turn the seeming doomsday into his bid to fame. He embraced the wave of piracy by uploading “Crank That” to Limewire with a little twist: he changed its title to that of other popular songs so that people would stumble upon it unknowingly and hopefully turn into fans of the up-and-coming rapper.

The scheme worked, with “Crank That” landing a No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and staying there for a solid seven weeks, bringing a newfound celebrity status to the Chicago-born rapper and turning him into a household name.

In addition to providing music for the advertisement, Soulja Boy has also teamed up with LimeWire to sell the “LimeWire Song” NFT, with a Travis Barker collaboration on the way shortly. The "LimeWire Song" NFT gives its holders exclusive pre-release access to his upcoming song “LimeWire,” an ode to the platform that made him who he is today.

The NFT was given away to early supporters of the new marketplace, as well as the top 10,000 email inviters for free, but its launch has already generated $615.92 in trade volume. Yes, dollars. Not Ethereum. Not Bitcoin. Dollars. The platform does allows you to use Ethereum and Bitcoin, but the main currency it’s using for all of its operations is USD Coin, which is a cryptocurrency whose value is fixed to the US dollar

This all means that you can purchase the “LimeWire Song” NFT and any NFT on the website using your credit card, saving you the need to engage in the complicated process of setting up a crypto wallet.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll be paying list price for it though, as USD Coin is powered by Ethereum, meaning that it still requires gas fees to be able to operate — the cryptocurrency version of a tax that’s required in order to prioritize your purchase and to get it written onto the blockchain, which is the crypto world’s version of a ledger.

It’s difficult to not consider Ethereum’s environmental impact when hearing that detail. In September Fortune wrote that an Ethereum transaction took “as much electricity as an average U.S. household uses in a workweek,” with the entirety of the Bitcoin and Ethereum ecosystems sucking up more electricity than the country of Thailand.

That fact spawned a wave of people scared about the side-effects that cryptocurrency and the proliferation of Web 3.0 would have on the planet. Thankfully, that’s subject to change in the coming months with “Ethereum 2.0,” which will switch the Ethereum blockchain from proof of work to proof of stake.

Proof of work was the system Ethereum used to operate under, where computers would have to guess the answer to complex math puzzles, with the first to win being able to verify new transactions, writing them onto the blockchain and receiving some sweet, sweet Ethereum as a reward for its hard work.

The process was dubbed “mining” and took a lot of energy to operate. “Proof of stake,” however, promises to adjust all that by throwing the mining process out the window and instead having a group of computers verify the transaction together in a digital version of teamwork.

Ethereum 2.0 is still being rolled out, with the Ethereum 1.0 and Ethereum 2.0 systems co-existing as the transition to the new system takes place — a process crypto-enthusiasts are calling “The Merge.”

As The Merge continues, it’s going to alter LimeWire’s environmental impact and move it into a more eco-friendly space, but for many Twitter users, that simply won’t be enough. To them, the idea of a LimeWire NFT marketplace is flawed to begin with, and many find it comical.

Others are recalling LimeWire’s long history as a computer-wrecking service, with many still in shock from the slew of viruses it gave their computers.

Limewire's new positioning feels eerily similar to when Napster unsuccessfully attempted to rebrand itself to a streaming service in 2016 before being bought out by Web 3.0 companies Hivemind and Algorand earlier this year.

Web 3.0 companies seem intent on capitalizing off early 2000s nostalgia as they attempt to find footing in music by hiding behind the guise of platforms that once promised to democratize the listening process at the expense of the music industry's financial interests. Now, they’ve become the music industry.

Photo via LimeWire/ @LimeWire