Jay-Z and Andreessen Horowitz back a $19 million investment in NFT platform Bitski

Jay-Z

An NFT platform that’s branding itself as the “Shopify for NFTs” raised $19 million in Series A funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Jay-Z.

Bitski is an NFT marketplace that aims to enable brands to easily create and sell non-fungible tokens through its platforms. Its website encourages content creators to “jump in, zero blockchain experience required,” and allows users to purchase digital art with credit cards.

A16z’s Sriram Krishnan said the venture firm led the Series A funding round and he will be joining the Bitski board.

“We have a number of investments focusing on NFTs and the metaverse – from Dapper Labs to OpenSea. It only stands to reason we invest in the infrastructure that makes NFTs accessible,” Krishnan said in a blog post.

Other investors in the funding round include Serena Williams, MrBeast’s Night Media, and Ari Emanuel, Endeavor CEO. Galaxy Digital, Winklevoss Capital, and Coinbase Ventures participated in a $1.81 million seed funding round in November 2019 for Bitski.

The popularity of non-fungible tokens has boomed in 2020, though some warn that a bubble is forming and ready to burst, particularly in the market for NFT art.

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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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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet sold for $2.9 million as an NFT

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has sold his first-ever tweet for $2.9 million dollars as an non-fungible token, or NFT, on Monday.

The tweet, published on March 21, 2006, simply said: “just setting up my twttr.” The first offer was made on December 15 and the bidding ended on March 21.

Dorsey first tweeted a link listing his tweet as an auction on March 5. On March 9, the executive said in a tweet that he will “immediately convert proceeds to bitcoin” and donate to nonprofit GiveDirectly’s Africa response. Hours after the news broke, the executive posted a screenshot of his donation, thanking the buyer.

An NFT is a unique digital asset secured on a blockchain that has gained traction this year, in step with the rapidly rising popularity of cryptocurrencies. Each NFT has its own signature, which can be verified in the public ledger and cannot be duplicated.

When a person buys an NFT, they gain the rights to the unique token on the blockchain. For instance, if a person buys an image, a meme, or in this case, a tweet, they are not buying the content per se. In fact, they have no ownership of the artwork itself and have no control over the rights to distribution. Instead, they are buying the rights to the unique token that connects their name to the artwork.

“An NFTs value is largely derived as a function of scarcity and speculation,” said Tom C.W. Lin, a professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law told Insider. ” An NFT itself does not have much intrinsic value beyond those factors.”

Dorsey’s tweet was auctioned on Valuables, a platform by Cent, a social media network built on blockchain. Tesla’s Elon Musk has also listed a tweet on the same platform but has yet to sell it.

For Dorsey’s tweet, it was bought using Ether for 1630.5825601 ETH, which was worth around $2,915,835 at the time it sold, Cent CEO and co-founder Cameron Hejazi confirmed to Reuters. Dorsey will receive 95% of the proceeds, while the remaining amount will go to Cent.

The buyer is Sina Estavi. Based on Estavi’s Twitter biography, he is the CEO of blockchain company Bridge Oracle and is based in Malaysia.

Crypto art has been around for over half a decade but became mainstream only recently, with an auction by Christie’s of a digital work for almost $70 million in February representing a watershed moment.

In the past month, over $1 billion has been spent on digital assets, according to data from CryptoSlam.

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Time Magazine is selling NFTs and will begin accepting cryptocurrencies for digital subscriptions within 30 days

time magazine mobile

Time Magazine announced on Monday that it plans on getting into the crypto market.

According to a Tweet from Time’s President Keith Grossman, the magazine and news website will begin accepting cryptocurrencies as a form of payment for digital subscriptions within the next thirty days.

The company will also be selling three of its magazine covers as non-fungible tokens, according to a report from Yahoo Finance.

Time released its first-ever NFT cover on Monday featuring the words “Is Fiat Dead?” in a nod to iconic cover designs from the past. The company is auctioning the NFT and two others on SuperRare, a digital artworks marketplace.

The move by time to enter the NFT and market comes amid a boom for the digital collectibles industry.

After Beeple’s $69 million sale of “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” NFTs have become the talk of the town. Google searches for “NFT” hit a record high over the weekend, and even musicians like Steve Aoki are entering the market selling millions worth in digital art/collectibles.

Time President Keith Grossman told Yahoo Finance’s Julia La Roche that he believes other media companies will be “very hesitant” to jump into digital currencies “beyond collectibles.”

Grossman said that his company is “very comfortable seeing the trend lines as to where this is going. And so our goal is is to get there first to get there fast. And then to be able to open it up to others.”

Bitcoin’s rise to over $60,000 per coin, before a recent pullback, has brought new attention to the digital currency market. Over the past year alone bitcoin has seen its price jump roughly 800%. And despite warnings from economists, investors, professors, and more, the digital currency continues its historic rise.

Now that institutional investors like Tesla and Square have entered the fray, major companies are far more comfortable making announcements about digital assets.

Time isn’t the only company that has begun accepting digital currencies. From Mastercard to luxury hotel chains, a slew of new businesses have decided to allow customers to pay with digital currency.

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Elon Musk turns down $1 million offer for an NFT of his tweet, saying it ‘doesn’t feel quite right’

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Elon Musk has been a key driver of the craze for all things crypto

  • Elon Musk said he would not sell his tweet as an NFT in the end, despite offering it up on Monday.
  • The Tesla boss said it “didn’t feel quite right” to sell the tweet of a song about NFTs.
  • Musk – who changed his title to “Technoking of Tesla” on Monday – has been a key driver of cryptomania.
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Tesla “Technoking” Elon Musk has turned down a $1.1 million offer to buy one of his tweets as a non-fungible token after putting it up for sale, saying it “doesn’t feel quite right.”

Musk – who has been a key driver of the mania for all things crypto – said on Monday that he was selling a tweet of a song about NFTs as an NFT, days after a token sold for a record $69 million.

Yet the Tesla boss and multi-billionaire had a change of heart on Tuesday night, tweeting: “Actually, doesn’t feel quite right selling this. Will pass.”

Musk’s tweet is listed on the blockchain-backed auction platform Valuables and had attracted a bid of $1.12 million from a user called @sinaEstavi.

The tweet is of a techno song about NFTs, with the lyrics: “NFT, for your vanity, computers never sleep, it’s verified, it’s guaranteed.”

The video features a gold trophy emblazoned with the words “Vanity Trophy”, “NFT” and “HODL”, a reference to holding assets instead of selling them.

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.

They are the hottest new thing in the crypto world, and grabbed global attention last week when digital artist Beeple sold an NFT for $69 million, making him one of the three most expensive living artists.

It was only a matter of time before they grabbed Musk’s attention too, given that he has been a major force behind the recent bitcoin rally and has long championed meme cryptocurrency dogecoin.

Musk officially changed his job title to “Technoking of Tesla” on Monday in his latest irreverent move. Tesla chief financial officer Zach Kirkhorn has also been given the title of “Master of Coin”, a change that could reference Tesla’s purchase of $1.5 billion in bitcoin.

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‘Big Short’ investor Michael Burry slams NFTs with a quote warning ‘crypto grifters’ are selling them as ‘magic beans’

Michael Burry big short
Michael Burry.

  • Michael Burry subtly criticized non-fungible tokens (NFTs) this week.
  • “The Big Short” investor shared a quote comparing NFTs to “magic beans.”
  • Burry has blasted Tesla, bitcoin, Dogecoin, GameStop, and other popular bets this year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Michael Burry isn’t a fan of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), if his Twitter profile is any indication.

The investor has changed his header image to a screenshot of this quote: “NFTs exist so that the crypto grifters can have a new kind of magic bean to sell for actual money, and pretend they’re not selling magic beans.”

The quote is from “NFTs: crypto grifters try to scam artists, again,” an article posted by David Gerard on his “Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain” blog last week. Gerard is the author of a book with the same name as his blog, which tackles bitcoin, smart contracts, and other cryptocurrency topics.

NFTs serve as virtual certificates of ownership and authenticity for digital items, and are stored securely on a blockchain. They’re getting lots of attention after a digital art NFT was sold for $69 million at a Christie’s auction last week.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, “Shark Tank” star Mark Cuban, and other high-profile figures have also discussed and dabbled with the technology in recent days. However, critics question the value of NFTs given it’s virtually impossible to stop others copying, downloading, and sharing digital images and videos.

Moreover, Gerard argues on his blog that NFT proponents are using artists as “aspiring suckers” to pump cryptocurrencies, and handing them “crumbs” for their efforts.

Burry is best known for his billion-dollar bet against the US housing bubble in the mid-2000s, which was chronicled in the book and the movie, “The Big Short.” He’s slammed popular investments including Tesla, GameStop, bitcoin, and Dogecoin this year, and warned investors against buying into speculative bubbles.

The Scion Asset Management boss recently signaled he was taking a break from tweeting. However, the latest change to his Twitter profile suggests he still wants to have his say.

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Billionaire investor Chris Sacca told people not to ignore the $69 million NFT sale this week

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Chris Sacca.

  • Chris Sacca sees the $69 million NFT sale this week as significant.
  • The venture capitalist said people shouldn’t ignore non-fungible tokens.
  • Sacca highlighted the appeal of collectibles and the value of creators getting paid.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Some people will have rolled their eyes at the record-breaking $69 million sale of a digital artwork at a Christie’s auction this week. They should pay attention to what the transaction signifies, billionaire investor Chris Sacca tweeted after the news broke.

“No matter how you feel about NFTs, don’t look away from this,” he said. He was referring to non-fungible tokens that serve as virtual certificates of ownership and authenticity for digital items, and are stored securely on a blockchain.

“It’s okay to not get why someone would pay that, and it’s okay to be bummed about the climate impact,” Sacca continued. “But don’t be willfully ignorant about what’s happening.”

Metakovan, the pseudonymous buyer of “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” by artist Beeple, will receive a NFT confirming they’re the new owner of the piece. However, there’s nothing to stop other people downloading and sharing copies of the artwork.

Sacca – an early investor in Uber, Twitter, and Instagram – has praised NFTs and downplayed concerns they’ll be a short-lived fad.

“Very cool and I am a collector at heart,” he said in a Twitter thread last month. “I don’t think it’s a bubble, and I do think it will work.”

However, the Lowercase Capital founder and former “Shark Tank” star said he wouldn’t be abandoning physical memorabilia anytime soon. “I have a feeling this is going to be the tech that finally turns me into the ‘Yeah, but I only listen on vinyl’ guy,” he joked in the thread.

Sacca lauded NFTs as the next frontier for collectibles, and praised them for allowing creators to collect royalties on future resales of their work, in a Forbes interview published this week.

“Collections as a reflection of your identity are powerful,” he said. “And I will never underestimate the beauty of tools that empower creatives to do and get paid for their best shit.”

Billionaire investor and fellow “Shark Tank” star Mark Cuban also touted NFTs in an interview this week, labeling the ability to receive royalties a “game-changer” for digital commerce.

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Billionaire Mark Cuban is selling a motivational quote as a NFT for $1,700

Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban.

  • Mark Cuban is selling one of his quotes as a non-fungible token (NFT) for $1,700.
  • The “Shark Tank” billionaire has 10 of the tokens for sale with a 15% royalty.
  • Cuban is also selling hype videos for his Dallas Mavericks basketball team.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Billionaire investor Mark Cuban is selling one of his motivational quotes as a non-fungible token (NFT) for $1,700 worth of cryptocurrency.

Cuban’s listing consists of a digital image of him with the words, “Nobody ever changed the world by doing what everyone else was doing – Mark Cuban” pasted on top of it.

The “Shark Tank” star and Dallas Mavericks owner’s quote has been butchered in the listing description: “No one ever changed the world by what everyone else was doing,” it reads.

Cuban still had 10 of the NFTs up for sale at the time of writing. They’re each priced at just under 0.96 ether, the cryptocurrency built on top of the Ethereum blockchain.

NFTs are essentially digital certificates of ownership and authenticity, which are securely stored on a blockchain. They’re unique tokens used to identify and track digital items.

Cuban is charging a 15% royalty on secondary sales, meaning he gets a cut if the buyers of his NFTs resell them in the future.

The investor, who made his fortune by selling his audio-streaming startup to Yahoo during the dot-com boom, has two other items listed on Mintable, a digital-goods marketplace.

“The UnderDog has spoken,” a motivational video for the Dallas Mavericks, is priced at close to $2,300. “MavsSunsGameDayExperience,” a 30-second hype video featuring players dunking glowing basketballs, recently sold for about 0.75 ether or more than $1,300.

The hype around NFTs hit a fresh high this week after one was sold for $69 million in a Christie’s auction. The buyer of the digital artwork goes by the pseudonym Metakovan and runs a NFT fund called Metapurse.

Cuban discussed his own experimentation with NFTs in an interview earlier this week. He described the option to charge royalties on resale as a “game-changer” that has “changed the nature of selling anything digital.”

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Star NFL QB Patrick Mahomes says it was a ‘no brainer’ for him to get into NFTs

Patrick Mahomes celebrates win
  • Patrick Mahomes is getting into the non-fungible token market with the “Museum of Mahomes.”
  • The star NFL quarterback said he would buy “at least one” NFT for himself.
  • NFT sales have been booming after the digital artist Beeple sold a piece for $69 million.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Patrick Mahomes says it was a “no brainer” for him to get into non-fungible tokens given the recent rise of the digital assets.

The star NFL quarterback sat down with CNBC on Friday to discuss “The Museum of Mahomes,” which is set to launch March 17 on MakersPlace, a digital art selling platform.

In the interview, Mahomes said he got into NFTs in order to “find another way to connect with my fans.” The Kansas City Chiefs star is teaming up with a group of artists who call themselves The Impossible Brief to put on an NFT sale.

There will be six different art pieces for sale in the digital “museum” ranging in price from $2,500 to up to $15,000. The virtual exhibit will also include one mystery item that has yet to be priced.

Ten signed helmets and jerseys will be given away to randomly selected winners who take part in the sale as well.

Mahomes will donate part of the proceeds to his foundation, called “15 and the Mahomies”, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Missouri.

The Kansas City Chiefs star said he wants to do what he can to find “another asset” for fans to buy as a way to connect with players.

When asked whether or not he would buy into NFTs himself, the star quarterback said he would have “at least one of them.”

Mahomes said buying the NFT would be like Lebron James buying his own Rookie Card.

Lebron’s rookie card, in physical form, sold for $1.8 million in 2020 at Goldin Auctions and is the most expensive basketball card ever purchased.

NFTs have been the talk of the town of late after a work from the digital artists Beeple sold for a record $69 million in a Christie’s auction on Thursday.

The NFT market witnessed 299% year-over-year growth in 2020, according to a study from a PNB Paribas subsidiary. With Mahomes entering the market in 2021 and high dollar sales piling up the growth trend for NFTs may very well be set to continue going forward.

Read more: Buy these 30 stocks poised to lead an electric-vehicle revolution that will account for 50% of new-car sales by 2030, UBS says

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The runner up for the $69 million art NFT is the same crypto whiz kid who once paid $4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett

Justin Sun Warren Buffett
  • Crypto whiz kid Justin Sun was the runner up in the $69 million NFT auction.
  • He tried to enter a $70 million bid but his offer wasn’t received by Christie’s.
  • Sun rose to fame after paying $4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Crypto whiz kid Justin Sun was the runner up in the record-breaking Christie’s auction for a $69 million piece of digital art on Thursday.

Sun – who once paid $4.6 million for a charity dinner with Warren Buffett – bid $60 million for the digital work, called “Everydays: The First 5000 Days.” Including the buyer’s premium, he would have paid $69 million for the piece.

However, he was outbid by a mystery buyer offering $250,000 more with 20 seconds to go, he said in a Twitter thread. He tried to raise his bid to $70 million but the offer wasn’t accepted by Christie’s system, he added. He shared an email, ostensibly from a Christie’s representative, that confirmed his higher bid wasn’t received in time.

Sun called for Christie’s to use blockchain technology to make the auction process more transparent and avoid similar problems in the future. He tweeted, ” If you need my assistance in incorporating blockchain technology to your system, let me know! Happy to help :)”

“Everydays: The First 5000 Days” was created by the digital artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple.

The work is a mosaic of the 5,000 daily pieces of digital art that Winkelmann has produced since he began the project in 2007. It’s connected to a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) which acts a digital certificate of authenticity that runs on the blockchain.

Sun, the boss of two cryptocurrency companies, Tron and Rainberry (formerly known as BitTorrent), first garnered attention from the media after he paid $4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffet and then postponed the meetup for more than six months.

Sun also drew the media’s gaze after he pledged $1 million to support Greta Thunberg’s campaign against climate change and said he would give away $1.2 million to 100 people during 2020.

The 30-year-old crypto boss also invested $10 million in GameStop near the peak of the Reddit-fueled rally.

Now, Sun is in the spotlight again as the unlucky runner up for the largest Non-Fungible Token purchase in history. Only two works of physical art surpassed the piece’s sticker price in 2020.

Wu Bin’s “Ten Views of a Lingbi Rock” sold for $76.6 million and Francis Bacon’s “Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus” sold for $84.6 million, according to ArtNet.

The NFT sale was also larger than any sale at Christie’s auction house in all of last year. The closest contender to the NFT was Roy Lichtenstein’s “Nude With Joyous Painting” that sold for $46.2 million.

The sale of “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” is the latest in an explosion in the market for NFTs. In fact, according to a study from NonFungible.com, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, the NFT market grew 299% year-over-year in 2020 to more than $250 million.

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