A decade after its shutdown, the file-sharing site is back
The once-popular, now defunct file-sharing site LimeWire has made a surprise announcement that it will relaunch as an NFT marketplace. Remaining true to its legacy, the LimeWire NFT marketplace will have a strong focus on music.
LimeWire was an incredibly popular download software in the early 2000s. After being shut down in 2010 after a long and drawn-out legal battle with the Recording Industry Association of America, the site eventually shut down. At its peak, LimeWire was one of the most prevalent peer-to-peer file-sharing websites, allowing users to download music and other content free of charge.
This of course happened in the often gray area of file sharing and digital copyrights, in a time when those laws were as clear as they are now. LimeWire, BitTorrent, and Napster were eventually succeeded by subscription-based streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix.
The new LimeWire will focus on music, letting users buy and trade rare items such as limited edition productions, unreleased demos, and digital merchandise. The company aims to provide a far more accessible approach to NFTs and count the manager of the rap group Wu-Tang Clan, Tareef Michael, on the advisory board to attract users.
LimeWire relaunch a year in the making
Last year, Austrian brothers Julian and Paul Zehetmayr bought LimeWire’s intellectual property and other assets. Saying they’ve been planning to bring the platform back ever since. Now, more than a decade after closing, LimeWire is making a comeback as a marketplace for trading NFTs.
The new platform’s payment functionality has been developed in partnership with Wyre. LimeWire says it will list prices in U.S. dollars rather than crypto and that users will purchase tokens using a credit card fiat on-ramp.
“The issue with the NFT market is that most platforms are decentralized,” Julian Zehetmayr told CNBC. “If you look at bitcoin, all the exchanges are making it easy to buy, trade, and sell bitcoin. There’s no one doing the same in the NFT space.”
LimeWire Token in the making
So far, LimeWire’s revival has been funded with funds raised privately by the Zehetmayrs through the sale of their past ventures. The brothers say they plan to raise additional capital through launching a LimeWire token, which they will initially sell to a select number of investors ahead of a public sale later down the line.
The token will grant holders the ability to vote on changes to LimeWire’s policies and which artists are featured in its music charts. Fundamentally the LimeWire token will act as a governance token. It will be interesting to see how the brothers go about the distribution of the token and if they will lean on already musically aligned projects to help them spread the word.
Coinbase of NFT Marketplaces
Arguably the parallels between file-sharing sites of the past and NFT marketplaces of today are many. Moreover, both operate in a reasonably unregulated space. Platforms like Coinbase succeed due to their mass marketing, easy onboarding, vital fiat on and off-ramps. LimeWire hopes to bring a similar user experience to NFTs by keeping the user experience simple. In addition, they want to make sure that any blockchain or crypto tech is hidden in the background. It will be interesting to see how the venture unfolds in the coming weeks and months and, more importantly, whether DappRadar will track the platform’s activity once active.
NFTs are more relevant than ever
2021 saw heightened interest in NFT collections and digital collectibles with further metaverse and gaming utility. It’s safe to say that NFTs took off in a big way in 2021, with trading reaching billions of dollars. Arguably, NFTs brought a more visual, easier to understand digital asset that has now taken on a life and audience of their own. NFTs attracted everyone from crypto enthusiasts to celebrities, and the trend does not look to be calming any time soon.
The idea of applying NFT technology to music has long been discussed. Organizations such as MyCelia and Audius tried to pioneer music repped as NFTs some time ago. However, the centralized behemoths are not about to relinquish their vice grip on the industry and its revenues.
While pockets of activity such as Kings of Leon releasing an album last year as an NFT with added extras like event tickets included and Snoop Dog teaming up with Gala Games to revitalize the Death Row Records brand in the digital space, all point at the bigger picture. However, one thing will always be accurate in music. Artists need access to audiences, and audiences want a wide variety of music, and unfortunately, the two rely heavily on each other.
This will be a core challenge that needs to be conquered in order to move forward effectively and put power back into the hands of artists. Perhaps more importantly for platforms like LimeWire in the long term is being able to show an artist tangible proof there are other options away from platforms like Apple Music and Spotify.
The above does not constitute investment advice. The information given here is purely for informational purposes only. Please exercise due diligence and do your research. The writer holds ETH, BTC, AGIX, HEX, LINK, GRT, CRO, OMI, IMMUTABLE X, ENS, GALA, AVASTR, GMEE, CUBE, RADAR, FLOW, FTM, BNB, SPS, WRLD, ATOM, and ADA.