In June 2021, CNN launched « Vault »: a project to « make moments from history available for purchase ». The project involved minting as NFTs various clips of CNN footage and photographs from their archives, such as CNN’s predictions that Bush and Obama would win their presidential elections, or « War Notes »: a series of photos and accompanying handwritten notes from Ukrainians impacted by the Russian war on Ukraine. On October 11, CNN announced they would « no longer be developing or maintaining this [Vault] community ».
Although CNN claimed in their shutdown announcement that « Vault was originally launched as a 6-week experiment », CNN had not mentioned that the project was an experiment that was expected to possibly end. As recently as last month, Vault had been teasing upcoming events scheduled around election day in November, and encouraging users to buy more Vault NFTs to access the upcoming drops.
As an apparent attempt to placate angry users worried that the value of their NFTs might drop, CNN promised to return « either FLOW tokens or stablecoins » for « roughly 20% of the original mint price ». However, the project is built on the Flow blockchain, where users can only withdraw stablecoins $10 at a time—and with a $4 fee on each withdrawal. Some angry users in the project’s Discord channel threatened legal action, claiming that CNN had rug pulled.