NFT Marketplaces Tighten Restrictions Amidst SEC Scrutiny

As of 18 September, three prominent non-fungible tokens (NFT) marketplaces have imposed restrictions on trading activities involving the Stoner Cats cartoon NFT collection.

This NFT project, creatively conceived by actress Mila Kunis, who also lends her voice to an animated web series accompanying the collection, has been met with varying responses from each of these marketplaces.

OpenSea and Blur have opted to maintain visibility of Stoner Cats items within their collections but have taken measures to inhibit trading.

Listings and offers are discreetly concealed under individual NFT pages, rendering trading unavailable.

An OpenSea representative confirmed that Stoner Cats can neither be bought, sold, nor transferred on their platform, clarifying that the collection has not been delisted or removed.

Users were referred to the company’s general policies for further insights.

Conversely, Rarible has chosen a more comprehensive approach by entirely concealing the Stoner Cats collection from public view.

Notably, Rarible assures users that they retain ownership of the items in question, as most NFTs can still be transacted freely on the blockchain or on other compatible marketplaces.

Reports suggest that these marketplace decisions may have been influenced, either directly or indirectly, by regulatory considerations.

On 13 September, the United States (US) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took action against Stoner Cats’ parent company, charging it with securities violations and announcing a $1 million settlement.

These events coincided with abrupt trading fluctuations.

According to data from DappRadar, daily trading volumes for Stoner Cats surged from nearly zero to exceed $6,000 and $11,000 on 12 and 13 September, before sharply declining once more.

It is plausible that the marketplaces’ decisions to restrict trading may be rooted in concerns about the sustainability of these trends, rather than any perceived legal risks.

However, none of the marketplaces have provided explicit justifications for their actions, and any underlying causes remain speculative.

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