TIME Magazine’s muddled NFT launch clogs the Ethereum blockchain
American news magazine TIME rolled out a non-fungible token (NFT) collection yesterday, offering collectors a chance to get unlimited access to its website until 2023. A report unveiled this news earlier today, noting the collection’s name is TIMEpieces, and it comprised 4,676 tokens linked to digital artworks. Each NFT went for 0.1 ETH (approximately $281) at the time of writing.
Reportedly, the sale opened earlier today, and the entire collection sold out in a few minutes. While this was a success for TIME, the sale congested the Ethereum blockchain sending transaction fees to the moon. According to a data tracker, the transaction fee that the collectors paid almost quadrupled the price of the NFTs. For instance, one address paid $70,000 for 10 TIMEpieces NFTs.
TIME’s plan for the NFT launch involved releasing the NFTs at a set time and allowing the prospective buyers to purchase the pieces on a first-come-first-served basis. However, according to data from blockchain explorer Etherscan, bots did the minting instead of real people. This is evident in the figures whereby the 100 addresses with the most NFTs in the TIMEpieces collection own 24% of the supply.
Ethereum’s priority fee contributed to the chaos
On top of the clogging, Ethereum design made the problem worse through its priority fee. This is an extra fee that users can pay to encourage miners to pick their transactions on top of others that have not put in as much cash in their transactions. Seeing as the network got congested after too many people tried to purchase the NFTs, some used the priority fee to their advantage.
Nonetheless, this tactic did not work for everyone. For instance, an enthusiast going by @Zeneca_33on Twitter lamented,
Shout out to all that tried and failed and are now feeling the FOMO for the Time drop. Even with months of experience navigating gas wars, a war chest, and pumping 5k+ priority fee and 10k+ max fee, I didn’t get through. There’ll be another opportunity next week.
TIME President admits the sale was disorganized
Despite the rush to purchase the NFTs, the buyers still do not know what they bought, seeing as the NFTs lead to a red TIME logo. Nonetheless, TIME’s President, Keith Grossman, said the individual artworks for each piece would load at 10:00 PM today. According to him, the collectors will have to use the refresh metadata button on OpenSea to see what they own.
While the sale was successful, Grossman agreed that it was disorderly. He added that the inequitable distribution of the NFTs and the high fees was far from ideal. Speaking about gas fees, he said that he had learned a lot from this occurrence. Grossman disclosed that TIME limited the number of NFTs that a single address can purchase to 10 in hopes of stopping bots.
Although these efforts did not bear much fruit, Grossman said,
We’re going to make sure that the next time that we do this, everything that we have seen that went wrong or that didn’t go as we planned, is fixed.