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CNN Pulls Plug on Web3, NFT Project Vault

The abrupt closure of CNN’s crypto venture led some users to call the move a “rug pull” after the cable network promised future NFT drops.

3 min read
CNN is one of the world's largest cable news networks. Image: Shutterstock.

Cable news network CNN has pulled the plug on its web3 experiment, the company confirmed in a statement on Monday evening.

In a statement shared on Twitter, Vault by CNN said the decision had been taken to “say goodbye” to the project.

No specific reason was given for the move. 

Vault by CNN was created last year and offered buyers non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that commemorated major news events.

“Vault was originally launched as a six-week experiment, but the support and engagement from our community let us expand this project into something much larger,” the Vault team said in the statement.

But the original announcement made last year by the news outlet made it clear that the company expected it to go beyond the initial six weekly drops, promising that “future drops” would include a wider range of topics and formats “as Vault by CNN grows and adapts to its community of collectors.”

Users decry ‘rug pull’ 

That community expressed shock at the abrupt closure of the project on Vault’s Discord server following the announcement, with some even calling the move a “rug pull.”

Users pointed out that Vault had been teasing upcoming features and drops as recently as last month. 

In documents hosted on the project’s website, exclusive CNN perks and merchandise are listed as “coming soon.”

Responding to questions from upset collectors, a CNN staffer who goes by the display name “Jason” on Discord confirmed there would be some form of “distribution” to compensate those who bought NFTs.

“The distribution will be either FLOW tokens or stablecoins deposited into each collector's wallet,” he wrote. “We are currently working out the details, but expect the distribution amount to be roughly 20% of the original mint price for each Vault NFT owned.”

He added that the collections would live on and the Vault Marketplace would remain active.

Vault by CNN history

At the time of Vault’s launch in the summer of 2021, CNN said the project represented a chance for collectors to own a piece of history.

It also partnered with startup Infinite Objects to offer select buyers display cases, allowing them to show off their purchases physically inside their homes, as well as on user pages in the Vault.

Users did not need any crypto to buy an NFT, with payments collected through Stripe, though they did have to create a digital wallet with Blocto to make transactions. The project was built on the Flow blockchain.

Topics depicted by the NFTs ranged from presidential elections to space launches. A recent collaboration with Jeremy Fall’s Probably Nothing commemorated the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.

It’s not clear how much CNN raised from the project, but based on initial auction prices of sold-out NFTs, it is likely to have been hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Speaking to Business Insider in April, the cable network’s director of emerging products Jason Novack said: “NFTs are unlocking entirely new possibilities that have not existed until very recently – including being a strong source of revenue.”

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