Dapper Labs’ widespread NBA Top Shot non-fungible token (NFT) market froze the account of a consumer whose deal with is a reference to the skilled basketball league’s fraught historical past with China.
After submitting a photograph of their passport in an try and money out the account’s stability, a consumer with the identify “FreeHongKong” was banned by Dapper’s assist crew for “providing false or misleading information during the verification process,” in accordance with a Dec. 30 electronic mail seen by CoinDesk.
CoinDesk was in contact with a Dapper Labs spokesperson on Wednesday morning however the agency didn’t present a remark by press time. Hours later, FreeHongKong informed CoinDesk their identification examine had been verified although the account was nonetheless locked.
The consumer, who revealed his actual identify to CoinDesk, stated their username is a reference to the National Basketball Association (NBA) and its controversial historical past of censorship over Hong Kong-related activism, courting again to a 2019 tweet by one of many league’s common managers, Darryl Morey.
The tweet expressed assist for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, however NBA officers compelled him to delete the tweet and situation an apology in an effort to take care of Chinese viewership. The episode upset many followers and activists who felt freedom of speech was being stifled.
Not your keys, not your Moments
The consumer stays in an ongoing battle to reclaim their account, however Dapper Labs hasn’t paused the gross sales of the account’s collectibles.
In the times following FreeHongKong’s ban, the consumer obtained a message that one of many NFT “Moments” they’d listed on the market had been bought, although they have been nonetheless unable to entry the account.
While the reasoning behind the ban stays unconfirmed and could possibly be unrelated to the username fully, the flexibility for closed platforms like NBA Top Shot to ban customers appears to undermine the worth proposition of digital possession. What good are NFTs if their native platforms can limit entry at any second?
The extent to which corporations like Dapper Labs will be pressured by the company pursuits of its enterprise companions stays unclear, however freedom from such a censorship, which has lengthy proliferated within the Web 2 period, stays on the coronary heart of the imaginative and prescient many have for Web 3.
As mainstream customers rush in, NFTs have turn out to be a lightning rod for censorship controversy. Leading NFT market OpenSea confronted blowback in November for censoring a political cartoonist, whose paintings was additionally pulled from the favored market Rarible. Censorship resistance has lengthy been a core tenet of Bitcoin and Ethereum builders.
Being a crypto intermediary stays a profitable enterprise, nevertheless. OpenSea was valued at $13.3 billion in a latest funding spherical. Dapper Labs snagged a $7.6 billion valuation in its newest elevate. Coinbase went public final April and at the moment boasts a $51 billion market cap.