LimeWire is back and this time with NFTs

How many of you remember the original platform?

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Apr 18, 2022

You may not be old enough to remember LimeWire, but all I can say is that the struggle was real. The dawn of the early internet renaissance has arrived. LimeWire, the much-loved, much-hated file-sharing service widely blamed for the demise of the traditional music industry, has now announced its relaunch after a decade-long hiatus due to a major copyright litigation. The contentious file-sharing website has been rebuilt as a crypto platform, with the goal of correcting the mistakes of its predecessor.


LimeWire will not be offering illicit copies of “Sk8er Boi,” and Linkin Park’s “Numb” this time. Instead, the well-known peer-to-peer platform is rebranding itself as a marketplace for digital collectibles, or NFTs, with an initial focus on “music-related assets,” such as pre-release recordings, unreleased demos, artwork, live video, and virtual goods.


Transferring the service’s intellectual properties to brothers and entrepreneurs Paul and Julian Zehetmayr—who will operate as CEOs—was reportedly a difficult procedure after 12 years of inactivity. Nonetheless, here we are. The new LimeWire is set to debut in May. This may be a transparent attempt to cash in on Y2K nostalgia and jump on the NFT bandwagon.


Paul Zehetmayr admits the attractiveness of LimeWire’s moniker in an interview with Bloomberg, dismissing worries about its links to piracy and virus-filled downloads: “All the controversy that might have been in the past with the music industry has turned into nostalgia after around 12 years of the platform being down,” he says.


Naturally, NFTs are not without controversy, ranging from the lack of diversity that lurks beneath the decentralized, democratic appearance of crypto art venues to the environmental impact of various minting methods.


On the plus side, the resurrected LimeWire aims to repair the damage that the original company caused to the music industry—while laying the groundwork for some of today’s most popular streaming services—by giving artists 90% of the revenue, with plans to attract 1 million users in its first year. To avoid a second large-scale LimeWire incident in the wake of anticipated crypto regulation in Europe and the United States, the co-CEOs have reportedly implemented strong anti-money laundering procedures.


Founded in 2000, the original LimeWire was shut down in 2010 after a 4-year-long legal struggle with the U.S. music business which resulted in a federal judge ordering a “permanent injunction,” declaring that the site caused a “vast scale of infringement” on purpose. At the time, 50 million monthly users were sharing thousands of copyrighted works.


In other related news, check out the world’s first NFT vending machine.


Photo via LimeWire