LimeWire, the nostalgic name in peer-to-peer file sharing that bit the dust in 2011, is coming back in May with new owners and a focus on, of all things, NFTs. The brand synonymous with sharing, and illegally downloading, music and video will now turn its eye to those media forms as part of an NFT marketplace “without the technical hurdles of the current 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 to onboard “NFT newbies” that may want to participate in the highly-speculative market but don’t have a good grasp on 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 savvy users,” Paul Zehetmayr said in a statement. “If you are an average music fan on the internet, you might 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 those obstacles and make it easy for people to participate, while at the same time offering an exciting platform for crypto natives.”
One major way LimeWire claims it will accomplish this is by offering more traditional payment methods that don’t require a crypto wallet. Users will be able to buy NFTs and other digital collectibles via credit card, bank transfer and other common means through a partnership with payment platform Wyre.
This isn’t a wholly new concept in the crypto sphere. Coinbase, Rarible and MoonPay (one of the firms behind the recent facepalming push of celebrity NFT promotion) already offer credit card purchases of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, but that ease of purchasing crypto assets with credit comes with some drawbacks that aren’t widely known. A number of credit card issuers view crypto purchases as a cash advance, which incurs higher interest rates and additional fees.
Where LimeWire is attempting to separate itself is in what those purchases get you. “It’s 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 community of fans.”
The company claims it is working with “top-tier artists” to create exclusive content while it builds out its own community tools to connect artists to “their most loyal group of fans and buyers directly.” No artists have been named to date, but the company lists members of H.E.R and the Wu-Tang Clan’s management teams among its partners and advisors. LimeWire’s roadmap alludes to an “official launch into film industry” in Q4 2022, though no details about such a launch were detailed in the company’s announcement.
Alongside the Zehetmayrs, LimeWire’s management team features multiple crypto veterans, most of which previously worked for European, Peter Thiel-backed cryptocurrency exchange Bitpanda.
LimeWire aims to sign up one million users in its first year and currently has a waitlist for those interested ahead of its launch. Its first NFT airdrop will award the top 10,000 “inviters,” or waitlisted folks that onboard other users through their referral link, with an exclusive NFT.