Metaplex Backtracks, Apologizes After Initially Announcing Beeple NFTs on Solana


Editor’s note: This story from November 6 was updated after Metaplex CEO Stephen Hess apologized for a “miscommunication” regarding the claimed partnership.

The enfant terrible of the NFT art world, Beeple, is coming to Solana. At least, that’s what Stephen Hess, CEO of Metaplex Studios—the creator of Solana’s NFT standard—announced at Solana’s Breakpoint conference in Lisbon, Portugal on Sunday.

But on Monday, Mike “Beeple” Winkelmann disputed the announcement, claiming on Twitter that there was “nothing set or remotely agreed upon” between himself, Metaplex, and Render Network.

Soon after, Hess publicly apologized to Beeple for a “miscommunication” between companies, apparently confirming that—at least for the time being—Beeple NFTs are not heading to Solana.

“I want to sincerely apologize here,” Hess tweeted in response to Beeple. “This was the result of a miscommunication between the orgs involved, but these were my words in the keynote, so I should have confirmed the consent, directly with you, of what was announced.”

Hess further apologized to Beeple for the “confusion I caused here for you, your fans, and community.”

Earlier on Monday, founder and CEO Jules Urbach of OTOY—the creator of Render Network, a decentralized computing platform—further detailed the collaboration between OTOY, Beeple, and Metaplex for Solana-based NFTs.

In a message to Decrypt, Hess declined to elaborate on where the “miscommunication” occurred between the collaborators. Decrypt has also reached out to OTOY representatives and Beeple himself for any further clarification.

Beeple on Solana?

On Sunday, Hess announced what was framed as a done deal to bring Beeple’s work to Solana. “In partnership with the Render Network, we’re excited to welcome Beeple to Metaplex and Solana,” Hess said at Breakpoint, adding that Beeple would be “debuting the future of streaming and immersive 3D NFTs.”

A slide accompanying Hess’s announcement provided some clues; users will be invited to “create your own unique NFT with a Beeple Everyday,” using a “randomized set of objects and time to create with.” (EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5,000 DAYS was the title of Beeple’s Ethereum NFT pastiche that Beeple sold for over $69 million in 2021.)

On Monday, ahead of Beeple’s tweet, OTOY’s Urbach provided more details on the alleged partnership at Breakpoint. “Mike’s excited with this technology,” Urbach claimed. “It’s going to be some time next year when we put this out there. This is how we both see the future of NFTs developing.”

Beeple is already closely involved with Render Network, having served as an advisor to the platform, which provides creators with a decentralized, peer-to-peer network that lets users tap into remote rendering power.

In December, Render Network raised $30 million in a funding round with participants including the Solana Foundation and Alameda Research.

Since his headline-grabbing $69 million NFT sale last year, Beeple has branched out into tokenized physical artwork with a “kinetic video sculpture” paired with an NFT, and begun work on a digital art studio to host work by himself and other creators.

Speaking to Decrypt earlier this year, Beeple revealed that he expects to see NFTs increasingly focus on “emotional connection or utility” instead of “pure rampant speculation.”

He added that in his future works, “there will be some sort of utility to having these things” and that he’s interested in exploring the possibilities afforded by dynamic NFTs.

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