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Visa is showing some bullish behavior around NFTs. As reported on at our sister network Bitcoinist today, Visa made a splash by purchasing a CryptoPunk to kick off the week. The purchase was made late last week for around 49.50 ETH – approximately $150,000.
The company is showing clear optimism on the future of the NFT market. If that purchase wasn’t enough to convince you, the firm also released a new NFT report.
“Crypto And Commerce”
The brief report can be found as the latest white paper to feature the company’s crypto research tab on the Visa.com website.
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Titled “NFTs: Engaging Today’s Fans In Crypto And Commerce,” the report positions NFTs as having “vast potential in the sports and entertainment world.” While many early NFT projects are bound by a sense of community, a unique identity, or early adopter positioning, there is also no question that NFTs have massive potential in being the next wave of sports collectibles. Of course, with the recent CryptoPunk purchase, it’s clear that Visa understands that the potential goes well beyond just collectibles.
Nonetheless, the report goes on to provide a fundamental layout of what NFTs are, and why collectors, fans, teams, leagues, and talent are finding them attractive.
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The FLOW blockchain is highlighted with Ethereum in the latest Visa report. | Source: FLOW-USD on TradingView.com
Related Reading | TA: Ethereum Forms Bullish Pattern, Why ETH Could Continue Higher
Lay It All Out There
The report goes on to talk about various NFT use cases, including in sectors like art and gaming (our team emphasized the importance of project use case in a recent Altcoin Evolution report). Additionally, the analysis highlights Ethereum and Flow blockchains as pivotal players in the NFT space.
The document approaches it’s close by laying out the importance of storage and access, and highlights the different types of marketplaces that can be utilized for distribution.
In sports particularly, the end of the Visa document outlines several different verticals that the company sees as notable areas of potential: loyalty and gamification, utility across metaverses, ticketing, fan governance and decision-making, and fan data with pseudo-anonymity. Indeed, several of these verticals are already seeing fruitful growth (fan tokens, for example, are already empowering fans across different sports and teams to have a say in impactful decisions).
The final ribbon on the report outlines some anticipated considerations and risks, including environmental impacts, fees, and licensing, legal, and regulatory considerations. The company also makes note to highlight emerging efforts in crypto, including Visa Crypto APIs, blockchain research from the firm, and their own Digital Currency Innovation Hub.
As per the aforementioned Bitcoinist article, the Visa wallet data from OpenSea has been gifted a variety of NFTs. Visa of course knows that “innovations such as crypto and NFTs are likely to shape sports, entertainment, and other communities going forward.”
What will be the next big purchase for the Visa wallet?
Related Reading | Grayscale Tops Up Ethereum Investment To $10 Billion
Featured image from Pixabay, Charts from TradingView.com
Digital collectibles platform Terra Virtua has moved from the Ethereum blockchain to Polygon in an attempt to be greener.
In a Monday announcement, Terra Virtua said it had switched to Polygon as part of a plan to create a more sustainable nonfungible token, or NFT, ecosystem. The platform claimed the move would reduce the energy necessary to create a single NFT by more than 99%. However, Terra Virtua will also remint all digital collectibles previously unsold on Ethereum in the move to Polygon.
“Our mission is to revolutionise how audiences engage with NFTs and make them accessible to everyone, but we believe that the environment shouldn’t have to pay the price for this new game-changing technology,” said Terra Virtua co-founder and CTO Jawad Ashraf. “By harnessing the power of this new blockchain, we can ensure that our NFTs are limiting their impact.”
According to Terra Virtua, the move is part of an upgrade to take the platform out of beta testing. The project said it would also be forming licensing partnerships with global intellectual properties and adding features.
At the time of publication, the platform is offline as part of an announced “site-wide upgrade.” Users have until Aug. 22 to purchase Terra Virtua NFTs minted on Ethereum.
Related:UN sees blockchain technology as tool to fight climate crisis
The digital collectibles platform has been steadily expanding since securing $2.5 million in a private funding round last November. In addition to hiring talent aimed at taking the NFT market mainstream, the platform has also launched a series of high profile digital collectibles to coincide with a major movie release.
Sales of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) have surged to record highs in the first half of 2021.
There has been $2.5 billion in NFT sales in the first six months of this year according to DappRadar, a massive increase over the $13.7 million in sales for the same period in 2020.
Citing stats from Dune Analytics, Reuters reported that June has been a record month for the OpenSea NFT marketplace with almost $150 million in sales. This is almost a thousand percent higher than the sales figure for all markets over the entire first half of the previous year.
NFT buyers and enthusiasts view them as unique digital collectibles with intrinsic value because of their cultural significance. Others simply treat them as investments, speculating on rising prices.
According to NonFungible.com, which aggregates Ethereum- based NFT transactions, there have been between 10,000 and 20,000 buyers per week since early March. The NFT tracking and discovery platform reported that there had been $1.3 billion in sales for the period, but excluded around $8 billion in DeFi-based NFTs.
The most prolific NFT sale so far has been by renowned artist Beeple with his “Everydays: The First 500 Days” fetching a staggering $69 million dollars in March following a Christie’s auction.
Sales figures from analytics platforms such as DappRadar only track on-chain transactions meaning those sold at auction may have part of the transaction take place off-chain, so they must be manually added to the data, Reuters noted.
Related:Nifty News: Embarrassing mistake in $5.4M NFT of web source code, Animoca raises $50M …
Collectible and sports-themed NFTs are the most popular according to data from Nonfungible with digital art coming in third place. Almost 300,000 sports-related tokens have been sold in the first half of the year compared to 124,000 for art. Its latest figure for June 6 reported just shy of 140,000 total NFT sales on the day for Ethereum-based tokens.
As reported by Cointelegraph in June, NFT transaction volume has multiplied by more than 25 times since December 2020 as they usher in a new paradigm of interacting with culture, music, sports, and the media.
Despite not yet having functional smart contracts on the layer-one, intrepid Cardano developers have recently hacked together methods to mint bootleg nonfungible tokens. These experiments in hosting unique data on the blockchain are reminiscent of the pre ERC-721 standard era for Ethereum — and, what’s more, so far they’ve proven to be enormously popular with token drops routinely selling out.
In a post on Reddit today, ADA Technology Management (ATM), a staking pool operator for Cardano, revealed what they claimed to be two NFT images they’d minted on the chain. In the thread the company said they were planning to offer NFT minting as a service to pool delegators.
The so-called NFTs come with a number of caveats, however. Because Cardano doesn’t yet support smart contracts or have a NFT token standard, in order to create a NFT users mint a native token one-of-one native token.
“Tokens on Cardano are native and are on the same level as ADA. Instead of smart contracts, so called “minting policies” control the flow of a certain token group. NFTs are basically tokens on Cardano with a quantity of 1,” explained Alessandro, the self-described “brains” behind SpaceBudz, a Cardano-native collectibles project and the author of a Cardano Improvement Proposal to establish a Cardano NFT metadata standard.
@spacebudzNFT sales are starting to get a little bit crazy
Big shoutout to @StaleDev for making this bot! pic.twitter.com/UW7iwCUL6J
— NFT Room (@NFTRoom) March 30, 2021
Developers can then embed in the token metadata a link to an Arweave and/or InterPlanetary File System address where an image is stored. One example NFT shows that the “metadata” section of a mint transaction includes a link to a IPFS address which displays the associated SpaceBud. The end result is a wholly unique token permanently recorded and transferrable on the Cardano blockchain — a NFT by many, if not all, definitions.
Despite the extra hoops developers have to jump through to create them, the NFTs have proven to be enormously popular with users.
According to Alessandro, SpaceBudz sold out all 10,000 NFTs in just three days at a price of 50 ADA per, and there’s already an eager secondary market where especially rare SpaceBudz have sold for as high as $40,000.
Even before SpaceBudz, CardanoKidz was working on Cardano-native NFTs as early as August 2020. Multiple pre-sale rounds sold out “within hours of launch,” according to Zac, a member of the CardanoKidz marketing team. One Satoshi-inspired Kid sold for 32,000 ADA even before the tokens were minted, and the NFTs themselves went live in late March.
First Full Colour (FC) 001 minted. @IOHK_Charles pic.twitter.com/FThPDvDNZX
— CardanoKidz | Cardano NFTs (@CardanoKidz) April 2, 2021
Zac credits tools like a community-developed token and minting policy tracker for helping to make developers’ lives easier. The official Cardano developers, IOHK, appear to be embracing the new vertical as well, as lead engineer Polina Vinogravoda gave a quick tutorial on minting NFTs on the chain on Tuesday.
A host of other projects round out the upstart ecosystem, including CryptoPunk-inspired CardanoBits, and minting platform CNFT. While still rudimentary, the NFTs on Cardano are cheaper than those on Ethereum as well: minting a native token costs roughly 2 ADA, or $2.50.
While the developers working in this nascent community have managed so far, ultimately they’re excited for smart contracts to make their lives easier.
“We can’t wait for smart contracts to arrive for more functionality but we had JUST enough tools and experience to make NFTs work on Cardano,” said Zac. “It’s been an incredible journey so far.”
In a flurry of price action reminiscent of 2017 mania, shortly after announcing that they had acquired NFT display and tracking platform Tokenwave, pop-culture collectibles giant Funko’s stock (NYSE: FNKO) rallied over 20%.
Unlike many price-pumping announcements heavy on hype and sparse on content from the last bull run (and the dozens inevitably to come over the next few months), Funko and NFTs may be a perfect fit, however.
On Thursday the creator of the widely popular Funko Pops collectibles line announced in a press release that they had acquired a majority stake TokenWave, the developers of the TokenHead NFT app built on the WAX blockchain. The release notes that the investment is their “initial entry into the NFT market,” and that the company will be releasing digital collectibles at a $9.99 price point starting in June.
Additionally, the company has physical-and-digital hybrid products in the works, such as pairing the “rarest of the Funko NFTs with exclusive redeemable Funko Pop!s.” The company will also be leveraging its extensive licensing agreements — an increasingly important source of NFT platform traction.
The company’s stock rallied as high as $24.81 on the news on Thursday before retreating into the afternoon. FNKO stock closed at $20.96 per share, up 6.5% on the day and over 100% on the year.
When reached by Cointelegraph, a representative for Funko declined to comment.
The move should be familiar to industry veterans. At the tail end of the last bullrun, multiple companies, such as Kodak, saw massive stock price increases following blockchain-related announcements. Given the spate of C and D-list celebrities looking to make a quick buck on NFTs, it was inevitable that companies would follow suit.
Funko may well be an exception to the rule, however. NFTs are an ideal collection vehicle, and digital collectibles provides a new way for the company to connect fans to brands, meaning that the company could have staying power in the blockchain space. Likewise, Funko’s chosen platform, WAX, has already seen some success with licensed NFTs, including with a recent Godzilla vs. Kong release.
MoonCats, the long-dormant tokenized collectibles platform that was re-discovered earlier this month, now has a problem on its hands — trading bots.
MoonCats collectibles depict 8-bit cats that live on the moon that can be traded or “adopted” by users. The project was launched on Aug. 9, 2017 by developer Ponderware, with a hard limit of 25,500 MoonCats set to be created through a process similar to Ethereum mining.
However, the MoonCats community is now fearing the upcoming release of the final 160 Genesis cats may be hijacked by trading bots, with users complaining that Mooncats has become overrun by bots programmed to accumulate new cats the moment they can be purchased.
MoonCats was rediscovered earlier this month amid the booming growth of the NFT industry. When collectors recently became aware of the project, it was reported that MoonCats NFTs were going for between $50 to $200. However, prices have since increased rapidly, with MoonCats now trading for 1 ETH on averag.
The most sought-after breed of tokenized space cats are “Genesis MoonCats” — tokens that were among the first 256 mined on the platform. A Genesis MoonCat sold for 100 ETH worth roughly $180,000 earlier this month.
With the final 160 Genesis cats currently awaiting release and the MoonCats community fearing they may be all bought by bots, Ponderware is looking to the MoonCats community to decide how to proceed next.
On March 17, the developer launched a smart-contract poll for MoonCats users asking: “Should the MoonCatRescue developers destroy their private key so that no future Genesis MoonCats can ever be released?”
A “yes” outcome will prevent Genesis MoonCats released in the future, as the private key to the wallet holding the cats will be deleted. A “no” outcome will see the private key preserved and further discussions between Ponderware and the MoonCats community to establish a “fair” method for distributing the final Genesis cats. The developer stated:
“A fair distribution of those cats may prove technically, socially, and/or economically impossible. We will work with the community to meet the challenge, but it is likely to be a complex and drawn-out issue.”
As of this writing, the poll shows that 72% of respondents are in favor of destroying the private key, while 28% are opposed.
Bots have been causing problems across the NFT space for many months. On Feb. 26, NBA Top Shot was forced to delay the launch of their Premium Pack due to high levels of botting activity on the platform. Dapper Lab’s CEO, Roham Gharegozlou, addressed the delay, noting the firm is not interested in quick sellouts generated by trading bots.
every decision has tradeoffs, and we’ll always prioritize real fans – i am sorry for the delayed drop today i know 100k+ of you were super excited, but for many this will be their first rare pack drop in @nba_topshot – we didn’t want a super fast but unfair sellout https://t.co/6npaHKbd92
— Roham (@rohamg) February 25, 2021
In March 2020, the Ethereum-based collectible game Axie Infinity sought to discipline botting activity by issuing 30-day bans for any accounts associated with the use of bots.
Blockchain tech may soon become an integral part of the world’s largest basketball league.
According to a report from Sportico yesterday, a group of some of the wealthiest and most powerful National Basketball Association team owners are forming a committee to investigate blockchain use cases for the NBA.
Called the Blockchain Advisory Subcommittee, members include Mark Cuban, Joe Tsai, Ted Leonsis, Steve Pagliuca, Vivek Ranadive and Ryan Sweeney. According to Sportico, the goal of the subcommittee is to “explore ways to integrate blockchain across the league’s business.”
Two obvious possible use cases include ticketing and collectibles. Blockchain-based ticketing has made significant strides and now has an active userbase, and Mark cuban in particular has been vocal about his support for using blockchain to enable his team to reap profits from secondhand sales and scalping.
Likewise, blockchain-based collectibles have found an unusually snug product-market fit with the NBA’s highlights and stat-obsessed fans. Flow blockchain’s NBA Topshot tradable highlight project has raked in over a quarter billion in sales. Additionally, the company counts multiple NBA players as investors.
However, Cuban said in a statement to Sportico that the committee was not founded as a response to the exploding popularity of NBA Topshot, and is instead focused on broader applications of blockchain technology.
Cuban is by now a familiar name to members of the crypto community. Despite a past history of disparaging digital currencies, he’s now embraced them — especially Ethereum-native protocols and tools like NFTs. After a halfhearted NFT release, on-chain sleuths found his address and discovered the billionaire owns a number of DeFi protocol tokens.
Additionally, according to a recent Tweet his decision to accept Dogecoin for Mavericks tickets and merch appears to have been a success:
The @dallasmavs have done more than 20,000 #Dogecoin in transactions, making us the LARGEST #DOGECOIN MERCHANT IN THE WORLD ! We thank all of you and can only say that if we sell another 6,556,000,000 #DOGECOIN worth of Mavs merch, #dogecoin will DEFINITELY HIT $1 !!!
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) March 6, 2021
Fans might also recognize Vivek Ranadive, the owner of the Sacramento Kings. After buying the team in 2013, he advanced a number of tech-centric and radical ideas, including playing 4-on-5 defense and setting up an app to let fans vote on the next play. When it comes to blockchain, he was also one of the first to accept crypto for tickets, and set up a mining facility in a Kings arena.
Basketball players, pop singers and now high-end vinyl toys – lots of different groups are trying out non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on Ethereum as a new way to monetize.
Superplastic is a company that makes artistic vinyl toys for the collectibles market. It’s debuting two new figures on the Winklevoss-owned Nifty Gateway, from Guggimon and Janky, two artists with strong Instagram followings.
We might be seeing fresh interest from the non-crypto world because of the sector’s growth. NonFungible.com released its 2020 report on NFT data for 2020, finding over 220,000 active wallets in the space and counting 31,504 sellers and 74,529 buyers for the year. The data site captured $251 million in NFT trade volume.
Obviously, mainstream appeal should grow the sector further, and aiming to attract celebrities has always been part of Nifty Gateway’s strategy. Beyond social media’s newly famous, the mainstream stars are starting to get interested as well. Recently, both Lindsay Lohan and Grimes, the pop star and mother of Elon Musk’s latest child, have announced token offerings.
It might be tough to compete with analog celebrities for mindshare, but Superplastic has the advantage of a dedicated following of people who like to speculate on aesthetic goods.
Odds are some number of those fans will be persuaded to check out this whole digital art with provable provenance thing. Let’s just hope the company has a plan for preparing its followers to understand what gas fees are.
Each artist will auction one NFT each: “Electric Scream Dream” by Janky and “Well, That Was Fucking Weird!” by Guggimon. There will also be six SuperKranky figures designed together by both artists.This isn’t the first foray of a toy company into crypto or NFTs. In fact, CryptoKaiju has offered analog toys whose ownership corresponds with an ERC-721 token on Ethereum for a while now. Superplastic has no plans to connect these digital offerings with a real-world toy.
The innovation of Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the world of blockchain promises to introduce a new means for authenticating ownership of digital artifacts.
Non-fungibility refers to these tokens’ uniqueness and indivisibility, which means that NFTs can’t be exchanged for other tokens as they hold special features and valuation.
These unique tokens can act as the ultimate proof of ownership, ensuring that artists are reimbursed for their efforts and collectors can purchase and trade the tokens with ease.
While sharing his thoughts on NFTs, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee took issue with the non-finite nature of NFTs. He noted in aseries of tweetsthat it takes zero cost to create an unlimited number of these tokens.
The problem with NFTs is that they are Non-Finite Tokens. There is zero cost to create unlimited number of tokens.
Sure, Justin Roiland’s NFT is unique and awesome. But what’s stopping Matt Groening or Mike Judge or thousands of other artists from creating millions of new NFTs? https://t.co/anlEmfhmPW
— Charlie Lee [LTC⚡] (@SatoshiLite) February 15, 2021
“Because of the near-zero cost to create another NFT, the market will eventually be flooded with NFTs from artists trying to cash in on this craze. Supply will overwhelm demand, and the prices will eventually crash,” the crypto enthusiast explained.
Lee added that he had created a unique Chikun NFT, which cost him nothing except the gas fee on Ethereum. He argued that should the demand for hisChikun NFTshoot up, other artists could get in on the action by creating identical Powered Chikun tokens, resulting in diminishing value.
NFTs are a Hot Topic
Charlie Lee’s views on the artificial scarcity of NFTs come just days after the subject dominated talks at the just concludedETH Denver virtual conference.
Over the past year, numerous NFT-backed games saw significant advancements in player bases and governance, propelling the technology into the limelight in the crypto space.
The weekly volume of the non-fungible token’s market now stands at about $8.2M as the tech continues to garner adoption in gaming and collectibles. Even celebrities likeRick and Mortycreator Justin Roiland are now turning to NFTs to distribute art and interact with fans virtually during the Covid-19 induced lockdowns.
As a result, NFTs are starting to see some serious adoption, with recent Dune Analytics data showing that traffic on popular NFT marketplace Opensea is beginning tocurve parabolic.
Speaking during the ETH conference, Alex Salnikov of Rarible noted that collectibles and gaming aren’t the only fields where NFTs play an increasingly significant role. He argued that smart contracts’ technical advancements are leading a boom in DeFi and creating more use cases for NFTs.
Opinion Is Divided on NFTs
While NFT criticscontendthat these tokens have non-finite attributes, many proponents argue that they are scarce and authenticable on the blockchain.
Some detractors also cite concerns over the inability of NFTs to stimulate real-world volume, adding that NFTs such as digital paintings can only be purchased and held instead of being traded.
On the other hand, NFT advocates argue that these tokens hold great promise in expanding the digital resource economy and reshapingthe future of collectibles.
NFTs may well represent the blockchain’s next frontier; the new landscape’s eventual maturation will undoubtedly result in exploding real-world volumes and thriving markets as new use cases emerge.