LimeWire returns as NFT market

LimeWire, the nostalgic name for peer-to-peer file sharing that bit the dust in 2011, returns in May with new owners and a focus on, of all things, NFTs. The brand synonymous with the illegal sharing and downloading of music and video will now turn to these forms of media as part of an NFT marketplace “without the technical barriers of today’s NFT landscape”.

LimeWire’s resurrection comes courtesy of “serial founders” Paul and Julian Zehetmayr, co-founders of b2b software company Stack Holdings. The duo are positioning the new LimeWire as a service for “NFT newbies” who may want to participate in the highly speculative market but lack a good understanding of crypto markets.

“The biggest challenge with digital collectibles and the broader crypto market in general is that it’s really limited to a small group of sophisticated users,” Paul Zehetmayr said in a statement. “If you’re an average music fan on the internet, you may not own any cryptocurrency or have access to a crypto wallet, let alone understand the mechanics of collectibles on the blockchain. We want to remove all of these hurdles and make it easier for people to participate, while providing an exciting platform for crypto natives.

One of the main ways LimeWire claims to achieve this is by offering more traditional payment methods that don’t require a crypto wallet. Users will be able to purchase NFTs and other digital collectibles by credit card, wire transfer and other popular means through a partnership with payment platform Wyre.

This is not an entirely new concept in the field of cryptography. Coinbase, Rarible, and MoonPay (one of the companies behind the recent NFT celebrity promotion) already offer credit card purchases of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, but this ease of purchasing crypto assets with credit comes with some disadvantages which are not widely known. A number of credit card issuers treat crypto purchases as a cash advance, which incurs higher interest rates and additional fees.

Where LimeWire tries to separate itself is in what those purchases get you. “It is important to note that we are not relaunching LimeWire as an alternative to streaming platforms, but rather as an additional channel for artists to sell exclusive music and art directly to collectors,” said Julian Zehetmayr. “We will also offer a unique method for artists to connect and engage with their most loyal fan community.”

The company says it works with “top artists” to create exclusive content while developing its own community tools to directly connect artists to “their most loyal group of fans and buyers”. No artists have been named to date, but the company’s partners and advisors include members of HER and Wu-Tang Clan leadership teams. LimeWire’s roadmap hints at an “official motion picture industry launch” in Q4 2022, though no details on such a launch were detailed in the company’s announcement.

Alongside the Zehetmayrs, LimeWire’s management team includes several crypto veterans, most of whom previously worked for European, supported by Peter Thiel Bitpanda cryptocurrency exchange.

LimeWire aims to enroll one million users in its first year and currently has a waiting list for those interested before its launch. Its first NFT airdrop will reward the top 10,000 “inviters,” or waitlisted people who onboard other users through their referral link, with an exclusive NFT.

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