OpenSea raises $100M at $1.5B valuation for NFT marketplace

OpenSea raised $100 million at a $1.5 billion value from A16z to scale its open nonfungible tokens (NFTs) marketplace.

The New York-based OpenSea said it has become the largest digital marketplace for crypto collectibles and NFTs. It sells NFTs, which are uniquely identifiable digital items that can be authenticated through blockchain (the transparent and secure digital ledger behind cryptocurrencies).

Andreessen Horowitz, also called A16z, led the second institutional funding round, with participation from angel investors Michael Ovitz (CAA cofounder) and actor-investor Ashton Kutcher. The funding amount means that the OpenSea is a unicorn, or startup with a $1 billion valuation. It is one of 900 unicorns valued at a cumulative $3 trillion.

With this capital, OpenSea will continue to scale its NFT platform, with immediate focus on hiring engineering talent, expanding internationally to new markets and audiences, and overall making more ways users can easily access, buy, and sell digital assets.

CEO Devin Finzer said in an interview with GamesBeat that we’re experiencing one of the biggest fundamental changes the internet economy has seen in decades, and he is proud to have been leading it for a while now as what he considers the best user experience and entry point for NFTs.

“The fundraise is really all around bringing widespread adoption to NFTs,” Finzer said. “And it’s about growing the platform that we’ve built, which has seen significant volume growth over the last the first half of the year. We think NFTs are really one of those once every couple-of-decades paradigm shifts that is just incredibly exciting.”

The new injection of funding comes as OpenSea NFTs are expanding to more mainstream audiences, and represent an entirely new economy based on digital ownership. Today, OpenSea is the largest marketplace for NFTs, representing gaming items, digital art and collectables, event tickets, domain names, and millions of other assets backed by blockchains.

Expansion to gas-free Polygon

Previously, OpenSea was restricted to Ethereum, the popular cryptocurrency platform that has been criticized for using a lot of computing power and wasting energy. Now it is adding transactions on the Polygon platform, which enables transactions with no huge transactions fees related to computing usage.

Today, the company announced that all Ethereum gas fees (those associated with the computing costs for minting NFTs on the blockchain) have been removed for creators, buyers, and sellers on the OpenSea marketplace. These are the kind of steps that OpenSea has to take to make blockchain less esoteric and more palatable for the mainstream.

“We’re now the first cross-blockchain NFT marketplace,” Finzer said. “We announced support of our Polygon integration, which is a Layer 2 platform for Ethereum. That enables zero transaction costs for creators, buyers and sellers. And we’re rolling out new blockchain integrations in the future.”

Over time, the company wants to lower transaction costs across platforms (as it has done with the addition of Polygon), enable people to use whatever payment method they have, and then educate the market about NFTs. Users can use any crypto wallet they want with OpenSea.

“We’re making the product more accessible to a mainstream consumer by building out kind of the core marketplace onboarding and really solidifying OpenSea as the brand directly tied to NFTs, very similar to how Coinbase established itself as the brand around cryptocurrency,” Finzer said.

Market waves

In June alone, OpenSea sold $160 million in digital assets on its NFT marketplace, and it experienced a 45 times increase in volume growth during the first half of 2021 from just $8 million in sales in January.

High-growth collectible avatar projects like Hashmasks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and Meebits, which combine elements of art, blockchain tech, and social clubs, have also taken off on OpenSea in 2021.

“What’s exciting with NFTs is that the use case is not just purely financial or purely speculative,” Finzer said. “Folks from all sorts of different industries have started getting curious. It’s true that a lot of these are the early adopter crowd. But it’s really expanding beyond people who are really interested in trading stocks or what have you, to people who are more interested in creative work.”

NFTs have exploded in applications such as art, sports collectibles, and music. NBA Top Shot (a digital take on collectible basketball cards) is one example. Built by Dapper Labs, NBA Top Shot has surpassed $700 million in sales. And an NFT digital collage by the artist Beeple sold at Christie’s for $69.3 million in March. Gaming has a couple of new unicorns, or startups valued at $1 billion, in Animoca Brands and Forte. NFTs are now selling at a rate of $62 million a week, though the initial hype around NFTs is dying down from a peak in May of $175 million a week, according to Nonfungible.com.

“There has been a bubble mechanic going on there. But now as you pointed out we’re sort of seeing a rise of a more sustainable growth in terms of the market,” Finzer said. “OpenSea has been doing particularly well in this environment.”

A multifaceted market

OpenSea provides both a marketplace and platform where users can easily connect their crypto wallets to instantly purchase or list their NFTs for sale.

With OpenSea’s new injection of capital, the company plans to invest in its next phase of ecosystem growth with cross-blockchain support, enabling an open data economy.

“We think this is an opportunity for those who maybe were curious about crypto and blockchain but didn’t really feel like there was a platform with real utility that could take this beyond financial speculation,” Finzer said. “We think NFTs and OpenSea are really, extremely well-positioned to drive the next wave of adoption of blockchains.”

OpenSea’s marketplace supports multiple blockchains, such as Polygon and Ethereum, and will announce support for Flow and Tezos in the near future. Investing in the interoperability and scalability of OpenSea’s cross-chain marketplace is part of the company’s larger vision to bring users closer to Web3. Users can pay with stablecoins such as USDC, but they can’t pay with U.S. dollars just yet.

OpenSea launched in 2017, announcing a $2 million round a few months later from Founders Fund alongside industry-leading crypto firms. In March 2021, the company announced a $23 million institutional round led by A16z, with participation from existing investors and angels including Ron Conway, Mark Cuban, Belinda Johnson, Naval Ravikant, Ben Silbermann, and more. The company is hiring engineers and other staff.

Finzer said games such as Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, F1, and Crypto Voxels are taking off with NFT sales.

“We’re really excited about NFT’s representing a paradigm shift in technology where most of consumer tech has been dominated by a few large companies,” Finzer said. “We think NFTs are bringing back a Renaissance, where creators, collectors, developers, and all sorts of projects will emerge, very analogous to the paradigm shift where the birth of the internet really brought thousands of new early applications and ultimately, billions of people, changing their lives in a big way.”

Source: venturebeat.com

Beeple Just Debuted a New NFT Sales Platform With a Series of Works Made in Collaboration With British Tennis Star Andy Murray

The first drop featured images of Murray’s best moments at Wimbledon.

When British tennis player Andy Murray slunk off the court last week after losing to Canadian Denis Shapovalov, some eagle-eyed art hounds may have noticed a new insignia on his polo shirt.

The logo wasn’t that of any of the typical companies that sponsor athletes of Murray’s caliber. The tally marks on his shirt were, in fact, the graphic identity of Wenew, the new NFT platform founded by Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, alongside a slew of entertainment industry veterans and Ryan Schreiber, the founder of Pitchfork.

Wenew is a platform hawking “iconic” moments in time, often in collaboration with the artist or athlete who achieved great success. The company’s Twitter bio reads: “The Memory Palace of the Metaverse.” The NFT also comes with a physical object, like a signed or replica poster.

The idea is akin to NBA’s TopShot, through which you can “own” famous moments from NBA games, sort of like a digital trading card. So far, TopShot has more than 800,000 registered accounts, and has generated around $500 million in sales in the first six months of its existence.

Beeple is famous for his diaristic project Everydays: The First 5,000 Days, which sold for $69 million at Christie’s, making it the third most expensive work at auction by a living artist, and introducing the concept of non-fungible tokens to a much wider audience.

The first drop, which sold out in seven minutes on July 2, featured a sliding scale of NFTs in varying edition sizes, all associated with Andy Murray’s triumphant victory at Wimbledon in 2013. (Murray’s win was a defining moment for the U.K., which celebrated a homegrown winner after a 77-year drought.)

Some of the offers included images of Murray’s victory speech and awards ceremony in 2013, exciting moments from the 2013 final match, his runner-up speech in 2012, and a picture of the moment of his victory, which ultimately sold for $177,777 to a user with the handle @PranksyNFT. That NFT came with tickets to Wimbledon 2022, plus a 30-minute session playing on the famed courts with Murray himself; each drop will be associated with a physical artefact, the company said.

According to a spokesperson, Wenew is “cognizant of the environmental impacts of Blockchain-based technology” and to that end, partnering with the Open Earth Foundation to find ways of minimizing energy-intensive transactions, as well as donating a portion of proceeds to help fund their work. Wenew is also working with Polygon, which is a two-layer blockchain solution, helping to curb some of the detrimental environmental impact.

Michael Figge, a co-founder of Wenew explained the idea as a more thoughtful and cultured way of approaching NFTs.

“A lot of things in the NFT world feel like a cash grab right now, and we wanted to put storytelling first,” he told The Verge.

Source: news.artnet.com

Binance NFT Marketplace to Launch With Warhol, Dali Collection

Trading will start 10 a.m. local Singapore time on Thursday.

Binance’s non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace is set to launch Thursday with an auction featuring works by Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali.

  • Trading in the marketplace will commence at 10 a.m. local time in Singapore (02:00 UTC, or 10 p.m. ET Wednesday), Binance said.
  • The “Genesis” auction will be the marketplace’s first premium event – auctions for high-end work by select artists – and will feature Warhol’s “Three Self Portraits” and a digitized NFT of Dali’s “Divine Comedy: rebeget.”
  • The Dali work has been redesigned to feature the bitcoin (BTC, +4.77%) symbol, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao’s signature and the Binance logo, visible only by zooming in.
  • The auction will start with the launch of the marketplace and last for five days.
  • The marketplace was announced in April and will run mainly on the Binance Smart Chain with the Ethereum network supported as well, allowing users to view Ethereum NFTs in their Binance wallets.

Source: www.coindesk.com

Digital land in Decentraland sells for $913K… to a virtual property developer

A virtual real estate investment firm has a new platform record for the most expensive digital land plot in Decentraland’s metaverse after spending $913,000 on 259 parcels.

A virtual plot of real estate situated within the Ethereum-based open-world game, Decentraland, has sold for more than $913,000 — valuing the intangible property on par with the average price of a real world house in Brooklyn, New York.

Virtual real estate is sold in the form of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) dubbed LAND in Decentraland, with the digital plot being sold to virtual real estate-focussed investment firm, Republic Realm. The plot actually represents 259 parcels of digital land, with the transaction settling for 1,295,000 of Decentraland’s native MANA tokens — worth roughly $913,000 at the time of sale.

On Twitter, the investment firm emphasized its commitment to building on the virtual real estate and adding value to Decentraland’s metaverse.

Decentraland allows players to explore its crypto-powered metaverse, offering an experience akin to a blend between Minecraft and Second Life but with true ownership over in-game items and a player-driven in-game economy.

Republic Realm is a division of online investment platform Republic, which has secured backing from notable investors including Binance, Galaxy Digital’s Galaxy Interactive, and AngelList. The division accepts investment from accredited investors on an invitation-only basis, limiting its backers to 99 entities.

On its website, Republic Realm asserts that “people are spending increasingly more time in virtual worlds,” adding:

“At the intersection of emerging technology like virtual reality and blockchain, developers, investors, and hobbyists alike are creating a vibrant digital real estate market.”

According to data provided by NFT data aggregator, NonFungible, the sale is the largest in the history of Decentraland in dollar terms, beating out a roughly $704,000 transaction that was recorded on May 28.

However when measuring LAND trades by their price in MANA, Republic Realm’s buy is the eighth-largest in the game’s history, with one virtual plot having sold for 2.7 million MANA during November 2018 (roughly $211,000 at the time).

In February, rival crypto gaming metaverse, The Sandbox, recorded a virtual land sale worth roughly $2 million, making it the largest sale of crypto-powered digital real estate in history.

NonFungible ranks Decentraland as the fourth-largest NFT project by weekly sales volume, hosting $1.3 million worth of NFT transactions over 335 trades for the past seven days. Decentraland ranks sixth for all-time volume, hosting $64.6 million worth of trades over nearly 126,000 transactions.

Pioneering NFT project CryptoPunks currently dominates NonFungible’s rankings, driving roughly $4.15 million over 72 transactions this past week, and $356 million over its 13,749 all-time sales.

However, according to fellow NFT data aggregator, CryptoSlam, CryptoPunks is the fourth-largest NFT by weekly volume, sitting behind Axie Infinity’s $23 million in transactions, NBA Top Shot’s $16.7 million in trade, and Bored Ape Yacht Club’s $7.3 million worth of weekly sales.

Source: Cointelegraph

Introducing Binance NFT, A Groundbreaking NFT Marketplace Launching June 2021

In June, Binance will launch Binance NFT, the world’s leading NFT marketplace and trading platform. The new marketplace will bring together artists, creators and crypto enthusiasts from around the world. Expect a packed lineup of premier exhibitions and NFT collaborations, along with Binance’s industry-best liquidity—all with minimal fees for users and creators.
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NFT Calendar X NFTNDX.IO Partnership Announcement

NFTCalendar team is thrilled to announce their new partnership with NFTNDX.IO, a trusted NFT explorer project, that helps in checking the authenticity of the tokens and their original creators. NFTCalendar and NFTNDX will collaborate in different areas that will make sure to bring more value to the NFT enthusiasts and the NFT ecosystem, by offering all the needed tools and insights for collectors and visitors.

NFTNDX.IO will also be listed as an official partner of NFTCalendar.

Alex Metzger, NFTCalendar creator’s thoughts on the partnership:

“NFTNDX & NFTCalendar join forces for a new way of providing valuable informational services to the digital collectors, eliminating the unwanted trust issues, challenging the status-quo together, putting another brick in the foundation of the better NFT Ecosystem.”

NFTNDX’s Founder Ayoub Dardory added:

“The new partnership between NFTNDX and NFTCalendar will bring more value, transparency, and trust to the ecosystem, by providing a seamless experience to collectors through the journey of the NFTs they are interested in starting from or even before their listing date, which will make us an essential service in the NFT space.”

NFT sales top $2 billion in first quarter, with twice as many buyers as sellers

  • Sales of nonfungible tokens soared to more than $2 billion in the first quarter — more than 20 times the volume of the previous quarter, according to a report from NonFungible.com.
  • NonFungible.com said the industry is largely dominated by the art and collectibles segments, and specifically projects such as CryptoPunks and SuperRare.
  • Despite the recent price drops from the February highs, NonFungible.com said the average price of NFTs “increased significantly” during the quarter.

Continue reading “NFT sales top $2 billion in first quarter, with twice as many buyers as sellers”

Upcoming NFT Drops #2 – Coinbase CEO Has Jumped On The Bandwagon

Hi NFT Community,

Hope you managed to fill up your collections with cool NFT artworks as the first week of April was really full of great drops. True collectors do not rest on their laurels and continue hunting for rare digital artworks, right? That is why we are calling your attention to the greatest drops that are being released in the following seven days. Let’s look through the most desired pieces of this week in the crypto space!
Continue reading “Upcoming NFT Drops #2 – Coinbase CEO Has Jumped On The Bandwagon”