If you were around on the internet into the late 2000s then changes are you came across LimeWire, the peer-to-peer music sharing service that ultimately ran into some legal difficulties with music labels before closing in 2010.
With its distinctive green logo and dense UI, LimeWire encapsulated the Napster period where almost anything – legal or otherwise – was possible online.
Fast forward to 2022 and LimeWire is coming back, courtesy of two Austrian entrepreneurial brothers, Julian and Paul Zehetmayr, who have acquired the naming rights for the service.
The plan? NFTs, of course, with a focus on music. As CNBC reports, LimeWire will relaunch in May as an NFT marketplace specifically tailored to buying rare musical items such as limited edition, unreleased demos, and digital merch.
Interestingly, the service will be denominated in US Dollars, not cryptocurrencies, and users will be able to purchase tokens using standard credit cards, in partnership with a startup called Wyre.
Are NFTs a smart bet?
The reasoning behind focusing on NFTs, rather than trading cryptocurrencies, is fairly simple, according to Julian Zehetmayr.
"The issue with the NFT market is that most platforms are decentralized," he told CNBC. "If you look at bitcoin, all the exchanges are making it really easy to buy, trade and sell bitcoin. There’s no one really doing the same in the NFT space."
While NFTs were indeed one of the hottest digital asset types in 2021, their star seems less bright in 2022. According to NonFungible, the average selling price of an NFT has declined to around $2,000, down from an all-time high of $6,900 on January 2. Some of the drop occurred after Russia attacked Ukraine.
The industry is also very consolidated around a few crypto wallets. Chainalaysis research in January showed that around 32,000 wallets hold 80% of the total value. During 2021, users spent around $41 billion on NFTs.
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Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.