How NFTs could change global business models beyond the art industry

Grimes NFT
Grimes’ Battle of the WarNymphs NFT on Nifty Gateway.

  • NFTs are tokenized versions of unique assets like works of art that can be traded on a blockchain.
  • They create opportunities for business models that didn’t exist before, like artist stipulations.
  • Future NFT developments could transform markets like property, vehicles, and land ownership.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sotheby’s has become the latest establishment name in art to dive into NFTs (non-fungible tokens) through its collaboration with anonymous digital artist Pak and NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway.

The auction house sold The Fungible Collection, a “novel collection of digital art redefining our understanding of value,” for more than $17 million (£12 million).

Some pieces, such as “The Switch,” a monochrome 3D construction that is going to be changed by the artist at some unspecified moment in the future, received bids well in excess of $1 million.

Read more: A digital artist who made $700,000 off one NFT drop explains how to stand out as a creator and thrive at selling virtual art

For the uninitiated, NFTs are tokenized versions of assets that can be traded on a blockchain, the digital ledger technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum. Whereas one bitcoin is directly interchangeable with another, meaning they are fungible, NFTs are the opposite because the underlying assets are unique in some way and can’t be exchanged like for like.

This uniqueness enabled Christie’s to sell digital artist Beeple’s “Everydays” NFT in March for an eye-watering $68 million. For those who don’t have that sort of money, NFTs are also being used for trading collectibles like baseball cards and computer gaming items like swords and avatar skins.

Bubble trouble?

The excitement around NFTs feeds a similar narrative to other recent price surges such as GameStop and dogecoin, in that these are speculative bubbles brought about by stimulus checks in the US, lockdown boredom, and low interest rates.

Look no further than celebrities like music star Grimes and YouTuber Logan Paul releasing their own flagship NFTs to ride the wave. Even Vignesh Sundaresan, the entrepreneur who bought Beeple’s record-breaking artwork, sees investing in NFTs as a “huge risk” and “even crazier than investing in crypto.”

But history also tells us to be careful about dismissing NFTs as a passing fad, since the importance of technological innovations often becomes clearer once the hype dies down. Many commentators dismissed the influx of tech companies around the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s, and the first wave of mass cryptocurrency enthusiasm in 2017, only to be proven hopelessly wrong when Amazon and bitcoin re-emerged.

NFTs themselves are actually well down from their highs, with a 70% drop in average price since February. Perhaps this is less the bursting of a bubble than a “weeding out” of gimmicky tokens now that the initial hype has begun to die down.

This phenomenon is captured well in US consultancy Gartner’s hype cycle, which illustrates the typical progression of a new technology. With NFTs, we are probably emerging from the “peak of inflated expectations” on a journey towards the same “plateau of productivity” that Amazon reached a long time ago.

This ties in with what Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter said about why capitalism works. Schumpeter viewed capitalism as a relentless churn of old into new, as the latest and most innovative enterprises replace those that came before – he called this “creative destruction“.

In this light, NFTs are the newcomers challenging how we perceive and register ownership of assets. And the tension between innovation and incumbency also contributes to the skepticism that always surrounds such new technologies.

What happens next

NFTs create opportunities for new business models that didn’t exist before. Artists can attach stipulations to an NFT that ensures they get some of the proceeds every time it gets resold, meaning they benefit if their work increases in value. Admittedly football teams have been using similar contractual clauses when selling on players for a while, but NFTs remove the need to track an asset’s progress and enforce such entitlements on each sale.

New art platforms, such as Niio Art, are able to demonstrate in a really simple way that they own digital works. When customers borrow or buy art from the platform, they can display it on a screen in the knowledge that there is no issue with copyright or originality because the NFT and blockchain ensures that ownership is authentic.

NFTs give musicians the potential to provide enhanced media and special perks to their fans. And with sports memorabilia, between 50% and 80% of items are thought to be fake. Putting these items into NFTs with a clear transaction history back to the creator could overcome this counterfeiting problem.

But beyond these fields, the potential of NFTs goes much further because they completely change the rules of ownership. Transactions in which ownership of something changes hands have usually depended on layers of middlemen to establish trust in the transaction, exchange contracts and ensure that money changes hands.

None of this will be necessary in future. Transactions recorded on blockchains are reliable because the information cannot be changed. Smart contracts can be used in place of lawyers and escrow accounts to automatically ensure that money and assets change hands and both parties honour their agreements. NFTs convert assets into tokens so that they can move around within this system.

This has the potential to completely transform markets like property and vehicles, for instance. NFTs could also be part of the solution in resolving issues with land ownership. Only 30% of the global population has legally registered rights to their land and property. Those without clearly defined rights find it much harder to access finance and credit. Also, if more of our lives are spent in virtual worlds in future, the things that we buy there will probably be bought and sold as NFTs too.

There will be many other developments in this decentralized economy that have yet to be imagined. What we can say is that it will be a much more transparent and direct type of market than what we are used to. Those who think they are seeing a flash in the pan are unlikely to be prepared when it arrives.

James Bowden, lecturer in financial technology, University of Strathclyde and Edward Thomas Jones, lecturer in economics, Bangor University

The Conversation
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NFT sale prices are dropping, but experts say it might not be a bad sign

NBA Top Shot Press Logo_Collectibles_
NBA Top Shot.

  • The average price of NFTs dropped over 60% in April compared to February highs.
  • Experts say declining sale prices are not a bad sign for the overall NFT market.
  • Other crypto-art investors question whether the market is in a bubble.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The average sale price for crypto art has dropped over 60% from a February high, according to the market research site NonFungible.com.

On Friday, the average price for a non-fungible token or NFT was about $1,549 while average February prices were over $4,000.

Many people in the crypto space have speculated whether NFTs are in a bubble. After selling a crypto-art piece for nearly $70 million, digital artist Mike Winkelmann – also known as Beeple – told Insider he believed NFT prices could be in a precarious position.

Winkelmann, as well as Nifty Gateway co-founders Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster, have compared the recent NFT boom to the dawn of the internet and the bubble that followed.

Noelle Acheson, the managing director of research at CoinDesk, told Insider that interest in crypto art is likely far from over.

Read more: What you need to know about NFTs, the collectible digital tokens that are selling for millions online

“The NFT craze is not so much about prices and quick profit as it is about a new model of creative monetization, a new type of engagement with fans and a new cultural ‘experience’ for users,” Acheson said.

Beeple V4
Beeple’s record sale

While the average price of NFTs have fallen from their highest point in February, average crypto art prices have been fluctuating in recent weeks. Between February and the end of March, prices dropped 70% but have since climbed 30% from a low around $1,200 last month.

Melissa Gilmour, the founder of the London-based NFT agency Lily & Piper told CNN the price drop is likely not permanent.

“There are elements of a hype cycle in this one, but we still see it as an immense long-term opportunity,” she told CNN.

Still, March’s lows were far above where the NFT market was just four months ago. In January, the average price for a crypto art piece was about $195 – the year before it was $30.

Acheson told Insider prices evening out could actually be a good sign for the longevity of the NFT market.

“Just because something is settling down doesn’t mean it’s over,” Acheson told Insider. “Sale prices may very well continue to go down from these spikes we saw in February, but just look at where the market is from just three or six months ago.”

More people appear to have gotten into NFT trading. Data from CoinDesk’s Quarterly Review shows that NFT trading volumes rose to 25 times December volumes in March and they don’t appear to be slowing down. March sales volumes were up nearly 40% from February on top NFT marketplaces, according to CoinDesk’s data.

Acheson said the decrease in the average sale price of NFTs could be attributed to less outlying sales, driving up the overall average.

As NFT sales become more democratized and accessible, average sale prices will likely go down

Bhad Bhabie NFT
Bhad Bhabie dropped several NFTs

Data from NFT-tracking site DappRadar shows the volume and number of users across most popular NFT marketplaces is continuing to go up. Data from theblockcrypto.com shows the weekly number of NFT transactions are near February levels, with thousands of buyers and sellers trading every day across top platforms like NBA Top Shot and Sorare.

While mainstream sites like NBA Top Shots – a platform that recently received a $2 billion valuation from DappRadar – have largely driven sales volume, more accessible marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible have become increasingly popular in recent months.

Investors have also turned their interest toward less curated sites like OpenSea, Rarible, and Mintable. In March, OpenSea received $23 million in funding from investors like billionaire Mark Cuban. Other platforms like Topps have already begun planning to launch an IPO.

More celebrities have also gotten into selling their own NFTs since February sales caught the national spotlight. In March alone, The Weeknd, Snoop Dogg, Halsey, and Shawn Mendes started selling their own digital art pieces on curated sites like Nifty Gateway, SuperRare, and Crypto.com.

While artists like Grimes and DJ 3LAU have had jaw-dropping sales, other artists have had less success.

Grimes NFT
Grimes Battle of the WarNymphs NFT on Nifty Gateway

Grimes showed the music industry how lucrative NFTs can be when she sold her collection for $5.8 million in under 20 minutes. In March, Shawn Mendes’ NFTs averaged only a couple thousand dollars a piece. The same month Halsey’s highest selling NFT was about $7,000, while others sold for under a grand.

Artists like 3LAU and producer RAC attribute their success to their history in the crypto world. While the world of NFTs continues to expand, the average price of the digital art pieces may also continue to drop.

As new buyers enter the space drawn in by big names, SNL skits, and flashy sales, they might be more inclined to invest more conservatively in NFTs. Music industry expert Cherie Hu told Insider newcomers to crypto investing will have more difficulty identifying valuable NFTs and will likely be less willing to spend large amounts of money on crypto-art drops.

“In most cases, it’s not your typical fan making these kinds of big purchases,” Hu told Insider. “Artists like 3LAU have built up a network of buyers in the crypto space.”

Furthermore, NFT creators that are new to the space may need more time to build up their credibility in the crypto world.

“[Investing in crypto art] is for people who are looking to take some risks,” Winkelmann said in an interview with The New York Times’. “Just making an NFT does not give it any value.”

Much like the internet bubble, NFT creators like Winkelmann and buyers such as NFT investor Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile believe that NFT prices will eventually drop, but the phenomenon of NFTs as viable investments will not go away.

“When the [internet] bubble burst, it didn’t wipe out the internet,” Winkelmann told The Times. “It wiped out the crap.”

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The New York Stock Exchange is minting crypto art commemorating the first trades of 6 companies that recently went public

NYSE NFT
  • The New York Stock Exchange announced on Monday that it had minted six NFTs.
  • The NFTs represent the first trades of several companies that recently went public on the NYSE.
  • The crypto art pieces are not currently up for sale, but will be gifted to the companies, a source told Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) announced on Monday that it was getting into crypto art by minting its own digital collectibles designed to commemorate the first public trade of six stocks.

The NYSE is not only the largest stock exchange in the world, but it is also the first to get into crypto art. The collectibles will represent the first trades of Spotify, Snowflake, Unity, DoorDash, Roblox, and Coupang. NYSE said it plans to launch more first-trade collectibles in the future.

The digital collectibles will operate as non-fungible tokens or NFTs. NFTs are digital collectible tokens that allow the buyer to connect their name directly to the creator via the blockchain.

NFTs have boomed in recent months. In February, one crypto art piece sold for nearly $70 million. Since, celebrities and public figures from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to singer Shawn Mendes have gotten in on the trend, which has brought in millions for opportunistic creators and resellers of the pieces.

Read more: NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are the hottest thing in entertainment, art, and crypto right now. Here’s a simple explanation of the craze.

While the NYSE appears to be getting in on the NFT trend, the exchange’s tokens are not up for sale. The NFTs are housed on Crypto.com, a less than month-old NFT trading platform that has already launched crypto art sales for several celebrities including Snoop Dogg and Boy George.

A source familiar with the matter told Insider NYSE does not plan to sell its NFTs, but has already gifted them to the respective companies. The NYSE also plans to mint future NFTs and gift those to the memorialized companies as well, according to the source.

The NFTs for each company feature a short clip containing information about the first trade, including the sale price, date, and a string of numbers representing the first trade quote code.

Stacey Cunningham, the President of NYSE, said the NFTs will help commemorate the very first moments a company joins NYSE by highlighting the data from a company’s very first trade.

“NYSE technology is processing over 350 billion order, quote and trade messages across our markets on our busiest days, more than any other exchange in the world,” Cunningham said in a LinkedIn post. “Only one of those messages marks the NYSE First Trade: the exact moment a company became public, creating an opportunity for others to share in their success.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tom Brady is launching a new company called ‘Autograph’ that will sell unique digital memorabilia from sports icons and celebrities

tom brady 2020
  • Tom Brady is launching a company called “Autograph.”
  • The site will sell digital memorabilia from sports icons and celebrities like Brady.
  • The NFT market has been highly profitable for sports through platforms like NBA Top Shot.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

NFL star Tom Brady is launching a company for digital collectibles called “Autograph.”

The platform will sell crypto memorabilia from sports icons and celebrities like Brady, according to the company’s site.

“Autograph will bring together some of the world’s most iconic names and brands with best in class digital artists to ideate, create and launch NFTs and ground-breaking experiences to a community of fans and collectors,” co-founder and CEO of Autograph Dillon Rosenblatt told CNN.

Brady and millionaire entrepreneur Richard Rosenblatt will act as co-chairs of the company. Autograph boasts a team with several big business names, including Lionsgate CEO Jon Filthier and Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino, as well as three of the founders of DraftKings.

There has been a boom in interest in digital collectible in recent months. Items that function as non-fungible tokens or NFTs have generated millions of dollars in sales. In March, a $70 million digital art sale made history.

Since then, artists and celebrities from rapper Snoop Dogg to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have gotten in on the action.

Read more: What you need to know about NFTs, the collectible digital tokens that are selling for millions online

The items operate as unique digital assets. When someone buys an NFT they gain the rights to the unique token on the blockchain that acts as a digital certificate of authenticity. The token can gain value due to its relation to its creator or content. For example, tokens that represent memes like the Nyan Cat can gain in value as they increase in popularity online, though the NFT buyer is not be able to control the image’s distribution.

The NFT market has been especially profitable for sports. The site NBA Top Shot, which allows people to buy NBA sports clips, recently received a $2 billion valuation from NFT tracking site DappRadar. Top NBA clips, including a LeBron James dunk moment, have sold for over $200,000 on the platform.

As an NFL legend, Brady NFTs would likely see similar high sales. Yesterday a Brady rookie card sold for about $2.3 million – smashing the record for the most expensive football trading card sale, according to Bleacher Report.

Brady himself is no stranger to selling his personal brand. In February, Brady merchandise sales set records as he became the best-selling NFL player ever, according to Reuters.

Autograph isn’t Brady’s first company. In 2013, the football star launched TB12, a sports performance and nutrition company.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Take a look at the digital ‘Mars House’ that just sold for over $500,000 – the world’s first crypto real-estate sale

"Mars House" on SuperRare
“Mars House” on SuperRare

  • A digital house sold for over $500,000 to a Toronto buyer.
  • The house can be uploaded into the buyer’s metaverse or even recreated in the physical world.
  • NFT real estate could be set to boom, according to the head of real estate group Republic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A digital home sold for over $500,000 online in March.

The house was sold as a non-fungible token, or NFT, on the SuperRare marketplace. In exchange for about $512,712 worth of ether, the Toronto buyer received 3D files and clips of the NFT piece, called “Mars House,” set to music.

The files can be uploaded to the buyer’s metaverse and used as a home for their avatar. A metaverse is a virtual world similar to “SimCity” or “Minecraft.” In the metaverse, users can buy digital assets including homes and clothes while living and interacting with other users via an avatar in the virtual world. One of the most popular NFT metaverses is Decentraland, a community-owned site where users can build their own reality.

The NFT is the first blockchain-based digital house in the world, according to SuperRare. The artist Krista Kim worked with Jeff Schroeder from the band Smashing Pumpkins to generate the music for the clip.

The house, which is set on Mars, appears to be made up almost entirely of glass.

from on Vimeo.

The artist said she was inspired during quarantine to build the digital house.

“Kim ventured into NFTs while exploring meditative design during quarantine; her hope was to use the influx of digital life as an opportunity to promote wellbeing,” the press release said. “Comprised entirely of light, the visual effects of her crypto-home are meant to omit a zen, healing atmosphere.”

Read more: What you need to know about NFTs, the collectible digital tokens that are selling for millions online

Though the house currently only exists on the blockchain, it can be recreated in real life by glass furniture-makers in Italy or via LED screens, according to the press release.

“Everyone should install an LED wall in their house for NFT art,” Kim said in the release. “This is the future, and Mars House demonstrates the beauty of that possibility.”

The over $500,000 sale is just one of many NFT drops that have captured the spotlight in recent months. Earlier in March, digital artist Beeple sold a crypto art piece for nearly $70 million. NFT sales have encompassed anything from 3D images and videos to memes and tweets.

In March, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet for $2.9 million.

Janine Yorio, the head of the real-estate group Republic, said NFT real estate could be the future of home-buying.

“I predict that the best parcels of virtual real estate will appreciate faster than real-world real estate,” Yorio said in a post on CoinDesk, showing how NFTs have already gathered value in recent months.

In February, an NFT buyer was able to flip a crypto art piece for $6.6 million, or nearly 1,000% its initial purchase price. Over the past 30 days, NFT sales have generated over $1 billion, according to CryptoSlam.

Furthermore, virtual real-estate sites like Decentraland have continued to grow in recent months. The site’s internal currency, “MANA,” has a $225 million market value. MANA prices have risen over 321% in the past year, according to Yorio.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A majority of Americans surveyed think the digital art craze is more than just a fad and that NFTs are the ‘next big thing’

rise in interest for NFTs 2x1
  • A majority of Americans believe NFTs will be the next big thing, while a third of Britons think it is just a fad.
  • 36% of Americans and 27% of Britons think the NFT space is “just another playground for the mega-rich.”
  • Market research firm Piplsay from March 29-31 polled 30,390 people in the US and 6,050 in the UK to assess attitudes towards NFTs.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have soared in popularity in 2021. Artwork, tweets, and news columns turned into digital art have fetched millions of dollars at auction.

In an online survey conducted in the last week of March, 59% of Americans surveyed said they believe NFTs are more than a fad, and will be “the next big thing”. Counterparts in the UK, meanwhile, were less certain, with 33% of Britons responding that its a passing fad.

18% of Americans surveyed believe the market for digital art is a bubble waiting to burst.

Still, a large percentage – 61% of Americans and 54% of Britons – view the nascent space in a positive light.

Conducted by research group Piplsay from March 29-31, the survey polled 30,390 people in the US and 6,050 in the UK to assess what people think of the latest blockchain-related digital trade.

Despite Americans believing in NFTs as potentially being here to stay, the survey revealed that 33% do not believe these are safe investment, while 41% of Britons also don’t trust in the security of NFTs.

The market for digita art secured on a blockchain first opened up in 2015, and has since gained traction. The NFT space has been boosted by support from prominent figures including Jack Dorsey, Mark Cuban, and Kings of Leon, and has moved in step with the rapidly rising popularity of cryptocurrencies.

While it is still an emerging market, that also did not prevent major brands from Taco Bell to the NBA from getting on the bandwagon.

36% of Americans and 27% of Britons surveyed think the NFT space, given its highly speculative nature, is “just another playground for the mega-rich.”

NFTs are unique digital assets secured on a blockchain. Each NFT has its own signature, which can be verified in the public ledger and cannot be duplicated.

When people buy NFTs, they gain the rights to the unique token on the blockchain, and not the artworks linked to the NFTs themselves.

The NFT market saw immense growth, with buyers vastly exceeding sellers, and has grown into a $250 million market, according to a 2020 report from L’Atelier BNP Paribas and nonfungible.com.

Read more: BANK OF AMERICA: Buy these 14 semiconductor stocks poised to benefit from Biden’s multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan – including one set to surge 39%

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Crypto-art investors could face a surprise on tax day since NFTs can lead to a hefty tax bill

5,000 everydays artwork by Beeple, which was sold at Christies auction house for $69 million
5,000 everydays artwork by Beeple, which was sold at Christies auction house for $69 million

  • Crypto art is taxed when it is purchased and sold, as well as through the cryptocurrencies used to buy the NFTs.
  • NFTs are not yet subject to the same sales taxes as physical art pieces.
  • After his $70 million NFT sale, Beeple likely faces taxes worth tens of million of dollars.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

While crypto art sales have boomed in the past month, catching the national spotlight with flashy price tags, what many buyers and sellers might not realize is that non-fungible tokens or NFTs can generate a large tax bill.

In March, a crypto art piece by digital artist Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, made history when it sold for nearly $70 million. When told how he would be taxed on the sale, Winkelmann expressed surprise.

“Holy s—, that’s a lot of taxes,” Winkelmann told CNBC.

Winkelmann may be facing a tax bill worth tens of millions of dollars. As an artist, Winkelmann will also have to pay federal and state income taxes on his earnings from the sale, in addition to reporting the cryptocurrency gains on his 2020 tax return.

The Internal Revenue Services sees buying and selling NFTs as a realization of investment gains, and therefore subject to the capital gains tax.

There are multiple ways you can get taxed when buying and selling an NFT. Capital gains taxes apply to NFTs, in much the same way they apply to selling stocks. However, because NFTs are considered collectibles they are also taxed at an even higher rate of 28%.

NFT buyers and sellers also need to be aware of how the cryptocurrency they used to buy the NFT will be taxed.

Most crypto-art pieces are bought using digital currencies, including ether and WAX. These cryptocurrencies are also subject to a capital gains tax, depending on how much they’ve gained in value since they were originally purchased and how long the buyer held the digital currency.

If the buyer held the cryptocurrency for over a year, they would be subject to a long-term capital gains tax. Long-term capital gains are taxed at 15% for individuals who earn between $40,000 and $441,000 – and 20% for individuals that make more than that amount. Holding the digital asset for less than a year will create a short-term capital gain, which is based upon the effective tax rate for the taxpayer.

In short, NFT buyers and sellers will be taxed when purchasing an NFT using a digital currency, selling an NFT for another NFT, selling an NFT for a cryptocurrency, as well as when converting the cryptocurrency used to buy and sell the item back into US dollars.

On the other hand, NFTs are not yet subject to the sales tax that would be applied to a physical piece of art – an issue that art law expert Diana Wierbicki told ArtNet state tax laws could soon catch up to.

The IRS has been cracking down on cryptocurrencies in recent months. This year, the IRS put a question about crypto investments on the first page of 2020 tax returns. People that fail to report digital assets or attempt to hide them could face serious penalties from the IRS.

Many NFT buyers and sellers likely do not know the hefty tax fees they will face. Shehan Chandrasekera, head of tax strategy at CoinTracker, told CNBC that there’s so many unknowns when it comes to the emerging market of NFTs that many people probably won’t know what to expect on tax day.

“People’s knowledge of this tax in the U.S. is very poor,” he said. “I just don’t think people know about it.”

This article was reviewed for accuracy and clarity by Sheneya Wilson, an expert on Personal Finance Insider’s tax review board.

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The mysterious buyers of Beeple’s $69 million crypto art piece revealed their real names: ‘these pseudonyms were never meant to be masks’

Beeple V5
  • The buyers of Beeple’s $69.3 million piece dropped their real names in a blog post.
  • The buyers said they wanted people of color to know they could use crypto as “an equalizing power.”
  • Vignesh Sundareson and Anand Venkateswaran have created the world’s largest NFT fund.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The buyers who spent nearly $70 million on Beeple’s crypto art piece revealed their identities in a blog post about a week after the purchase.

Earlier in March, the auction house responsible for the sale announced that the pseudonymous founder of an NFT fund, Metakovan, had bought the piece. In a blog post on Metapurse, millionaire entrepreneur Vignesh Sundaresan came forward as one of the buyers.

Crypto investors Sundareson and Anand Venkateswaran have been going by their online usernames @Metakovan and @Twobadour. The two said they had been dropping hints about their identity ever since they made history with the $69.3 million Beeple purchase.

“These pseudonyms were never meant to be masks,” Sundareson and Venkateswaran wrote in their post. “The point was to show Indians and people of color that they too could be patrons, that crypto was an equalizing power between the West and the Rest, and that the global south was rising.”

Sundareson and Venkateswaran’s purchase became international news as it made the artist of the piece, Mike Winkelmann, one of the most valuable living artists. In the past two months crypto art has boomed, generating over $1 billion in less than a month, according to CryptoSlam.

The two entrepreneurs started out in crypto back in 2013. Sundareson said at the time he didn’t have enough money to fully invest in Bitcoin, so he offered escrow services. Since then, both Sundareson and Venkateswaran have become the founders of the world’s largest fund for non-fungible tokens or NFTs.

Before purchasing Winkelmann’s piece on Christie’s auction site, the two had already bought 20 Beeple art pieces.

While some critics think the Metapurse founders’ Beeple investment may be an effort to simply buoy the market or stack the cards in favor of their NFT fund, Sundareson told ABC News he expects the piece to continue to gain in value.

Sundareson told CNBC on Tuesday that he would have paid even more for the piece if he had to. The bidding war for the Beeple piece came down to the last minute, as Sundareson and Venkateswaran beat out Tron CEO Justin Sun during the final moments of the auction.

“This NFT is a significant piece of art history,” Sundaresan told CNBC. “Sometimes these things take some time for everyone to recognize and realize. I’m okay with that. I had the opportunity to be part of this very important shift in how art has been perceived for centuries.”

Read the full post on Sundareson and Venkateswaran’s NFT journey on Metapurse.

Read the original article on Business Insider

NBA Top Shot maker Dapper Labs just nabbed another $305 million investment from the likes of Michael Jordan and Will Smith

NBA Top Shot Press Logo_Collectibles_
Dapper Labs has a $2.6 billion valuation after the round, a source close to the company said.

  • Dapper Labs, the startup behind NBA Top Shot, announced $305 million in new funding Tuesday.
  • The round comes from more than 30 pro athletes and venture capitalists, including Michael Jordan.
  • With the investment, Dapper Labs plans to expand its platform to other sports leagues.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dapper Labs, the startup behind virtual trading-card platform NBA Top Shot, has closed a $305 million funding round as the market for digital collectibles continues to boom, the company announced Tuesday.

Led by the investment firm Coatue, the round includes Michael Jordan, current NBA players like Kevin Durant, Alex Caruso, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala, and several other professional MLB and NFL athletes. Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, 2 Chainz, Venrock, The Chernin Group, and USV are also involved in the round.

This batch of funding brings Dapper Labs’ valuation to $2.6 billion, a source close to the company told Insider, and comes as the firm’s Top Shot platform explodes in popularity.

Developed in collaboration with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, the Top Shot marketplace enables fans to collect and trade officially licensed basketball highlight clips called “moments.”

Since launching in October, the platform has attracted 802,000 users and logged $483 million in sales, a spokesperson told Insider. The platform sees millions of dollars worth of moments change hands each day, with some exceptionally rare ones selling for $100,000 or more.

Read more: NFTs like NBA Top Shot are fueling a trading boom in million-dollar sports cards. The CEO of a fractional sports investing platform breaks down why digital collectibles are the ‘perfect intersection of passion and profits.’

The new financing brings the total capital raised by Dapper Labs to $357 million and will enable the firm to expand Top Shot to other sports leagues. In early 2020 it announced plans to develop digital collectibles for UFC.

“NBA Top Shot is successful because it taps into basketball fandom – it’s a new and more exciting way for people to connect with their favorite teams and players,” Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs, said in a news release. “We want to bring the same magic to other sports leagues as well as help other entertainment studios and independent creators find their own approaches in exploring open platforms.”

Founded in 2018, Dapper Labs is also behind another collecting game called CryptoKitties and has its own blockchain system called Flow.

Top Shot moments are a form of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, essentially digital deeds that grant someone ownership to a particular piece of media on the web. Although NFTs have existed for years, the market surrounding them has hit a fever pitch in 2021, with numerous digital art pieces selling for millions.

Do you have a story to share about your experience with NBA Top Shot? Email this reporter at tlevin@insider.com.

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Superstar artist Damien Hirst to sell 10,000 NFTs using a new Ethereum technology called Palm

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Damien Hirst is famous for pickling sharks and encrusting skulls with diamonds

Superstar artist Damien Hirst is set to become the biggest player yet to enter the world of non-fungible tokens, with plans to sell 10,000 artworks tied to corresponding NFTs in a series called “The Currency Project.”

The artist, famous for putting a shark in formaldehyde and encrusting a skull with diamonds, will release his latest works on a new technology called Palm, which will be connected to the Ethereum network that supports the world’s second-biggest cryptocurrency, ether.

It is the latest sign of the craze for NFTs following the sale of a $69 million artwork using the technology earlier in March. Snoop Dogg and Lionel Richie are among the artists getting involved in the hottest new thing in the crypto world.

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are a special class of digital assets that cannot be exchanged with one another for equal value, or broken down into smaller bits. They often operate as a type of collectors’ item and cannot be duplicated.

Hirst said in a statement his new project “challenges the concept of value through money and art.” He will produce 10,000 works on paper that will be tied to corresponding NFTs.

The 55-year-old was briefly the world’s most expensive living artist in 2007 when he sold Lullaby Spring, a medicine cabinet containing 6,000 painted pills, for $19m. He spent around $24 million encrusting a skull with diamonds in 2007, which he sold for $100 million to a consortium.

The artist’s series will be the first release on Palm. It is a new crypto technology and token created by ConsenSys, a developer group at the heart of Ethereum, working with film studio Heyday Films and art company Heni Group.

Hirst said: “Palm is by far the best platform for me. It’s new and art focused, it’s the most environmentally friendly, and it is quicker and cheaper to use. With Palm, artists can invent the future.”

Palm will be connected to the Ethereum network and enable artworks to be encrypted and secured in a more environmentally friendly way, its developers said.

NFTs exist on a blockchain, a public ledger which allows people to verify who owns the token. But the technology involved can be slow, expensive and very energy-intensive.

ConsenSys said its research and development suggested Palm will be 99% more energy-efficient than Ethereum’s main system by reducing the need for computing power, and will have lower costs and faster transactions.

It is not Hirst’s first foray into the crypto world. The artist sold more than 7,000 prints of Japanese blossom paintings in a sale ending in March, with payment possible in bitcoin or ether.

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