OpenSea confirms outage after platforms report issues with displaying NFTs

OpenSea said programmatic access to the API was fully restored within hours.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor

Popular NFT marketplace OpenSea confirmed an outage that affected its API, causing problems for multiple sites that use it to display NFTs. 

On Thursday, several people took to social media to report issues with their NFTs displaying. MotherBoard was the first to report the outage.

An OpenSea spokesperson said the outage occurred at 6:05am PT, and by 8:30am PT, the outage was resolved. But their own status update page shows the outage lasted far longer, with programmatic access to the API being fully restored by about 3:30pm PT.

OpenSea said the time discrepancy was because they kept their programmatic API disabled while monitoring their fix to ensure site reliability.

OpenSea initially told ZDNet that their platform team was "immediately all hands on deck to identify and correct the issue."

"We know how important a reliable site with minimal downtime is to our community, and are working quickly to address this area in a number of ways, including expanding our engineering team to more than 200 people by the end of this year, re-architecting OpenSea for scale, and reducing our customer support times significantly," the OpenSea spokesperson said. 

The spokesperson added that the NFT ecosystem exploded last year, and interest in NFTs skyrocketed. OpenSea's transaction volume increased over 600x in 2021, according to the spokesperson, who added that the massive increase in user activity prompted "technical growing pains" as they tried to scale rapidly.

Data from tradingplatforms.com shows that NFT global sales surpassed the $4 billion mark over the last 30 days. OpenSea topped the sales charts, handling nearly 500,000 transactions that earned $3 billion in returns. The platforms transactions grew by 20%.

The OpenSea spokesperson pointed to a blog released two weeks ago from OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer that sought to address the site stability challenges that the platform has experienced over the last few months.

"I recognize that the impact of OpenSea downtime is significant for many of you who depend on our platform. We take accountability for the recent instabilities -- and I wanted to personally apologize, explain, and outline our plans to prevent this from affecting you in the future," Finzer said.

"Improving site reliability has been a priority for some time (in fact, it's one of the focus areas I mentioned in our recent funding announcement). We were a team of just seven people at the start of 2021, and as NFTs took off last year, we had to scale fast. That kind of scale comes with growing pains, which many of you have experienced firsthand."

Finzer reiterated what the OpenSea spokesperson told ZDNet, pledging to build out the engineering team, rearchitect OpenSea and reduce customer support times. 

In October, security firm Check Point Research said that flaws in the OpenSea NFT marketplace could have allowed "hackers to hijack user accounts and steal entire crypto wallets of users, by sending malicious NFTs."

The outage on Thursday occurred on the same day that Twitter announced it would allow some users to use NFTs as their profile picture.

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