The world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, which is often presented as a censorship-free zone by its advocates, is currently in the midst of a censorship controversy surrounding OpenSea.io and Rarible.com, two leading marketplaces for Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Both have banned political cartoonist Stonetess and his popular “Flurks” NFTs.
NFTs are non-interchangeable units of data stored on blockchains, used to verify ownership of digital assets — much like a certificate of authenticity in the art world. They are often used to verify ownership of works of digital art.
Both OpenSea and Rarible have banned a range of NFTs called “Flurks,” from the popular pseudonymous political cartoonist Stonetoss comics, who is known for his works mocking woke political culture, such as the “bash the fash” comic, below.
Thus far, neither OpenSea nor Rarible have responded to inquiries about why the Flurks NFTs were delisted.
Stonetoss launched a range of 5,000 NFTs on Saturday, which sold out in less than 30 minutes, collecting nearly $2 million in fees. In an email to OpenSea, Stonetoss hailed the launch as “wildly successful,” denouncing those calling for his blacklisting as acting in bad faith.
I am reaching out because I fear your platform is being coopted as a tool for political censorship.
I also sent this message to your support page. My collector community would like a reply.
— stonetoss comics (@stone_toss) November 22, 2021
Stonetoss is frequently the target of left-wing activists who attempt to have him censored on various platforms. In his message to OpenSea, Stonetoss linked to a section on his website responding to common allegations against his art.
Surprisingly, I am not actually a 90 year-old member of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. Additionally, I am not a national socialist, fascist, alt-right, or any kind of supremacist. My actual crime may be worse however – I make transgressive art.
In my defense, cartooning has a long tradition of slaying society’s sacred cows. Its practice predates the United States itself. My work is similar to those often featured by Charlie Hebdo (here), published in the New York Times (here), and shown on Family Guy (here); all famous non-nazis.
I have also featured works from other artists including artists of color.
In his message to OpenSea, Stonetoss suggested that the reason for his censorship may have been because one of his “Flurk” characters is depicted holding a confederate flag. Stonetoss noted that other Flurks featured communist and LGBT flags.
“If I had to guess, it may have been because of the inclusion of the confederate flag as an NFT trait. Mind you, my collection also included traits such as a Gay Pride flag, a Gadsen flag, a Soviet army ushanka (hat), and a hammer-and-sickle shirt.”
“It is obvious that the inclusion of the confederate flag like this is in no way an endorsement of anything it represents any more than including a hammer-and-sickle shirt is an endorsement of communism.”
“If this is not the reason for my delisting, I would like to know what is.”
Breitbart News has reached out to OpenSea and Rarible for comment.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.