Naruto NFT – Detailed information about the project
If you are a crypto enthusiast and manga lover, at the same time, you might have heard of the Naruto NFT project. There has been a lot of buzz surrounding it. You will stumble upon many articles on the web tackling the legitimacy of these digital collectibles.
These NFTs are based on the Naruto characters from one of the most popular manga franchises ever. That’s why the announcement of the Bejutsu NFT project caused so much attention.
In this article, we will see what it was all about regarding the Naruto NFT project. Also, we explain the controversy regarding IP rights infringement in this project and in the NFT world. So let’s start with a quick reminder of the Naruto NFT project.
What is Naruto NFT?
Once the first hint leaked, the Naruto fans were totally hyped and impatient to see Naruto digital collectibles available on the marketplace. The first hint occurred on December 30, 2021. The team behind the project announced the release of Bejutsu NFT, the first licensed Naruto NFT project. But since then, nothing has worked according to the teams’ plan. The curiosity of one journalist, a big Bejutsu manga fan, changed the direction of events.
In the hyped-fueled Web 3 space, there is the chance for the smallest project to draw attention from the public and gather valuable communities. Naruto is. However, the most popular manga and gathering the community from the first announcement was not an issue.
But, some fans were more suspicious than others. Every new NFT raises suspicions if it’s linked to the most popular franchises. It’s really important to do thorough research. And that’s what the journalist Dan Kahan did when he heard that his favorite anime characters would be part of a new crypto art project.
Led by his gut feeling, the journalist felt that the project was a scam. And he tried to prove it for the sake of the protection of future investors in the project.
In the process, he managed to find the alleged licensing agreement. It turns out the agreement was a smoking gun and that his presumptions were correct.
Naturally, he tried to get in contact with the team members and get more information about the Bejitsu project. After receiving a vague response, he decided to come out on social media and warn the users regarding the possibility of an NFT scam.
He had the occasion to communicate with people involved with the project. They actually weren’t completely sure if the license agreement was legit. The only ones who had the answer were the founders of the project.
The founders of Naruto NFT
The founders were Clay and Sidney Taylor, siblings based in Canada. Until the release of the Bejitsu project, these two didn’t have much experience in the NFT sector. In fact, they didn’t have any.
According to their social media accounts, they describe themselves as crypto and web3 passionate fans. Clay was a sophomore at Northwood University in Michigan at the time of the project release. Sidney was a social media manager, mainly for her family business.
The address of their family business was also featured in the Naruto NFT project contracts. However, the lack of expertise wasn’t an obstacle for them to start the business in WEB3.
Naruto NFT and Intellectual property (IP) infringements
Clay and Sidney Taylor had no expertise but were determined to create the project. On October 13, 2021, they tweeted from their personal account that they acquired the license for Naruto NFT and exclusive rights on @Naruto for social media.
They searched for developers and art creators to partner in the project and to create an official website. Later on, they launched the Twitter account touted to be an authentic Behitsu NFT account created in partnership with the author of the Naruto manga series, Masashi Kishimoto.
Clay actually gained $3,000 in a startup pitch competition at Northwood University. The pitch was described as a cutting-edge business venture.
Instead of using official Naruto artworks, they subcontracted BFT artists to create new ones. Most of them are making their first steps in the web3 world. Inexperienced, they accepted the offer without any clue regarding the licensing issues.
As per their contracts, they had to create several Naruto character-based NFTs. And they were guaranteed to get a prepayment and 20 percent of the minting revenue.
Some contractors had their doubts regarding the IP and licensing. However, the founders convinced them that all was settled for the successful project, and also they published a paged licensing contract document on their Twitter account. Also, they announce the post with the video with Masashi Kishimoto confirming the collaboration.
At the same time, the founders encouraged the artist and developers to create a buzz using their personal social media accounts. Some of the posts quickly got huge traction. The painter and digital artist Jeothee Murali, once publishing the news regarding the Naruto project he was working on, gained enormous attention.
Bejitsu account got 40 000 followers without a single tweet. Clay’s personal account gained 20 000 followers within a couple of days.
Naruto NFT and intellectual property infringements
As the story rolled out, we could see the Discord community growing and the hype rising despite controversies surrounding the project. Clay announced on December 27, 2021, that the Discord server would be accessible to initial 10 000 members. Fans didn’t want to miss the chance to be involved. But DMCA takedowns of all suspicious Bejitsu accounts took place. And the faith in the project drastically decreased.
As several artists involved with the project stepped out and left the project, Clay put the whole idea on hold. He publicly announced that he was working on ironing out the whole DMCA situation. He explained that some misunderstandings between several Naruto IP entities caused confusion regarding licensing.
At the same moment, journalist Dan Kahan revealed the results of his research on his private Twitter account. He addressed the question regarding the authenticity of the one-page licensing contract, wondering who was behind that bogus contract.
In fact, as per his funding, the contract was made using a random copyright contract template. Clay confirms that it’s possible they were a victim of a scam, and they were not aware of it until the DMCA occurred.
Getting the copyright licensing contract for the anime franchise is actually not an easy process. That’s why it’s astonishing how two completely unknown individuals claiming their own exclusive rights were taken for granted.
What is Naruto anime – a quick reminder
Naruto is one of the most popular manga publications. Created in 1999 by Masashi Kishimoto, the manga has 45 volumes of the adventures of the young ninja dressed in orange.
The series has been adapted into animation since 2002. It is one of the greatest international successes since Dragon Ball and the Knights of the Zodiac.
It broadcasts in 31 countries worldwide and has sold millions of copies, with an average of 200,000 copies per volume. Describing the initiatory journey of a young child, Naruto is, above all, a social history based on the human relations and feelings that stems from it.
Crypto art projects don’t stop drawing attention. The NFT sector was estimated to be worth a staggering $21 billion in 2021. It’s a space involving high gains but also high risks. In case Bejitsu launched the starting batch of 220 NFTs could bring them 2 million USD. As you know, there are no disputes or chargebacks in Defi.
So the investors would not have a way to recover financially. Fortunately, this didn’t happen, thanks to the vigilance of a curious journalist. But still, there was some harm, especially for artists like Jyothee, who had 160k followers on Instagram, which were wiped out due to the DMCA claims and controversy regarding copyrights.
The whole story illustrates the two faces of NFTs – one that is highly lucrative and the other uncertain and risky. That’s why venturing into any such business requires staying alert and researching everything related to the business and its founders.
Bejutsu wasn’t the only unsavory business in the NFT sector. And it probably won’t be the last. Because where there’s a lot of money to be made, there’s a lot of money to be lost.
Unfortunately for many Naruto saga fans, this NFT project failed due to copyright infringements.
But there was a good lesson for the future NFT creators and investors. This case tells a lot about the importance of licensing and copyrights as the growing pain in the NFT sector. Fortunately, thanks to the additional vigilance of the NFT enthusiasts like Dan Kahan, more serious damage was avoided.
The project was under public scrutiny before the launch, so the rug-pull situation didn’t happen. Using the copyright of such a big franchise couldn’t pass unnoticed. Naruto NFT was in the limelight from the first tease on social media. Therefore, as an NFT investor, extra vigilance and thorough research are ultimately important if you don’t want to end up investing in a project doomed to failure.
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