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NFT Platform And Collector Stuck in Abundance of Legal Battles

Matthew Fleischman

Nifty Gateway, an NFT trading platform, and NFT art collector Amir Soleymani, find themself stuck in an Abundance of court cases spanning two continents.

An auction of a Beeple artwork at NFT trading platform Nifty Gateway, and Art Collector Amir Soleymani, are not too happy with each other.  Leaving the two parties stuck in a series of legal battles that crosses the Atlantic ocean. 

Tale of Abundance 

There are many cases that make up the series of legal disputes involving Nifty Gateway and Soleymani.  While some might come across as straightforward, they might not be so cut and dry.

This whole debacle stated over whether or not Soleymani has to pay for an NFT he bid on.  The catch is that someone else outbid him on the NFT he bid roughly $650,000 on.  

What is quickly becoming the premier NFT Trading platform, Nifty Gateway, back in May hosted an auction.  At the center of this auction was Beeple’s Abundance (2021).  This is a large sale for the NFT trading platform as Beeple made history earlier this year.  During a Christie’s auction,  Beeple’s NFT Everydays: the First 5000 Days sold for an amazing $69.3 million. This sale made Beeple the third-most expensive artist alive.

The story around Abundance though seems to go like this.  Soleymani does not deny he bid $650,000 on Beeple’s Abundance.  What seems to have happened though is that one Taylor Gerring, outbid him at $1.2 million.  Gerring is a co-founder of Ethereum.  

It appears that when someone outbids you on an NFT, they get the item and you keep your money.  What seems to make this auction different though is that Abundance‘s was labeled as a ranked auction.  So even though Soleymani did not win the very top bid, he and the 98 other top bidders still won.  However, they only won other editions of Beeple’s Abundance rather than the original.  

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For his bid of $650,000 Soleymani was going to receive Abundance edition number 3.

The Abundance of legal battles

As to date, Soleymani has not paid a dime to Nifty Gateway, claiming that the auction format was not fair.  Soleymani filed a lawsuit under United Kingdom courts, where he lives.  In his suit Soleymani claims that he put his bid in on the Original artwork Nifty Gateway offered, not the third edition.  As such it seems he does not want any copies of the NFT nor does he want to pay for them.

“I have not previously encountered such an auction which NG seems to have uniquely used for the Abundance NFT…  Ranked Auction was written but the case is more about whether the NG’s [Nifty Gateway’s] Terms are enforceable/binding upon me…. [The bids were made] with the intention of acquiring the original artwork offered for sale in the Abundance Auction and not the third or any other edition thereof.” – Amir Soleymani in statement and filings

The plot thickens, however, as Nifty Gateway founders Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss, filed for arbitration in New York in July.  On top of which Nifty Gateway froze Soleymani’s account, after he continued to refuse to pay.  Meaning they cut off access to the other 106 NFTs he previously bought on the platform.  The NFTs cost Soleyamni hundreds of thousands of dollars. Soleymani in response filed his suit in the UK and his own countersuit in New York.

The core of the matter.

At the base of the matter,Soleymani is a UK resident and claims he is not subject to Nifty Gateway’s terms of use.  The platforms Terms state they are “a contract wholly entered into and wholly performed within the State of New York.”  Therefore, Soleymani claims that as a UK resident he is immune to the terms under the English Consumer Rights Act of 2015. 

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Soleymani’s suit claims that the Act states that a foreign court can not force him to submit to them over this “digital content”. He seems to feel it is not right to “bind the consumer to matters of law with which he has no familiarity,”.  He goes on to say that this could cost him much more money and leave him without the ability to sue.

While Soleymani seems to be not too quiet on the matter, at the time of writing it seems Nifty Gateway is not as talkative.

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