In an effort to democratize access to nonfungible tokens, art collections and other digital assets of value for the masses, Bitwise Asset Management launched its new index fund on Dec. 16.
As per the announcement, the Bitwise Blue-Chip NFT Index Fund is designed to allow accredited investors to invest in major nonfungible tokens and art collections.
The NFT industry has exploded in 2021. Retailers throughout the world purchased millions of dollars worth of CryptoPunks, drawing institutional and accredited investors. In the third quarter of 2021, NFT trading volumes surpassed $10 billion for the first time.
The crypto firm stated that the Bitwise Blue-Chip NFT Index Fund is now available to qualified investors for private placement subscriptions. The minimum investment is set at $25,000. While speaking on the new development, Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan stated that:
“New frontiers in the art are rare. Entirely new artistic mediums are even rarer,” said Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan, adding that NFTs have emerged as the first digitally native medium for owning art and collectibles, “with enormous potential for meaning, value and use in our increasingly digital world.”
Bitwise launched several new crypto products in 2021 to satisfy the increasing demand, owing to the fast-changing digital asset industry. The firm announced the debut of its Crypto Industry Innovators exchange-traded fund (ETF) in May 2021.
In July, major American institutional investors contributed $70 million to the crypto index fund manager in order to beef up its balance sheet and double the size of its staff.
Related: Bitwise CIO ‘not so sure’ about Bitcoin hitting $100K in 2021
The phrase “NFT” was coined in 2017. Although little known at the time, two highly significant NFT projects, CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties, were launched in 2017. Propy sold the first NFT home. This was the beginning of NFT’s widespread adoption, which coincided with the cryptocurrency bull market cycle.
On Nov. 2, crypto trading and payments firm Crypto.com revealed the release of the first authorized UFC nonfungible token.
According to the news release, the UFC’s new NFT series will include digital collectibles such as fight night paintings, event posters, championship belts, fighter personas and avatars.
On Nov. 4, the collection of NFTs known as “UFC 268 Packs” will be made available. The upcoming bout “UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2” will be represented by this event’s fight posters and belt designs. The NFTs will be accessible for purchase to fans “while supplies last.”
According to Cointelegraph in July, the world’s largest MMA entertainment firm, UFC, signed a $175 million sponsorship deal with crypto.com. During a press conference at Madison Square Garden in New York City, UFC President Dana White announced the agreement, which he said was the organization’s largest sponsorship deal to date.
The collaboration is another significant step toward the integration of crypto and the sports industry. Crypto.com is highly interested in the worldwide fan base of UFC, which has over 625 million followers around the world.
Crypto.com recently partnered with Matt Damon, a renowned actor for his blockbuster movies such as Elysium, The Bourne series, and many more. In addition, Crypto.com has teamed up with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, Formula One, the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, the Italian Football League, Paris Saint-Germain, and renowned musician Snoop Dogg.
Related: UFC announces regional partnerships with top crypto-only sportsbook
All official UFC memorabilia and goods may be purchased through the Crypto.Com secure app market, which allows fans to purchase NFTs with its native token MCO or other popular cryptocurrencies via this existing operational payment system.
Crypto.com co-founder and CEO Kris Marszalek said, “UFC is a premier global sports brand with legions of avid fans worldwide, and we’re excited to leverage our technology to provide unique fan engagement opportunities and security for their collectibles,” adding that they want to “help UFC fans secure and engage with their collectibles.”
Ethereum (ETH) has experienced a significant adoption rate thanks to booming non-fungible token (NFT) and decentralised finance (DeFi) sectors. As a result, ETH’s trading volume across different platforms has been on an upward trajectory.
Reportedly, Ethereum accounts for almost half of the trading volume on top exchanges compared to a quarter a year ago.
The Ethereum network is one of the most sought-after in the crypto ecosystem because it aids in the development of different features like smart contracts and NFTs.
The reason for the booming NFT sector is that it offers a unique application of blockchain technology when creating unique and finite tokens.
For instance, OpenSea, a popular marketplace, recently processed $95 million worth of NFT transactions in two days compared to the cumulative volume of $21 million recorded in the entirety of 2020.
Moreover, the big four accounting and auditing firm Ernst & Young (EY) created NFTs for an award-winning Italian film using its blockchain-as-a-service platform, which runs on the Ethereum network. Therefore, this explains why ETH’s trading volume has been on an upward trajectory on top exchanges.
It is still the early days for Ethereum in DeFi
According to crypto data provider Documenting Ethereum:
“Only ~1.81% of all Ethereum addresses have used decentralized finance so it’s still the very early days.”
DeFi is a blockchain-based form of finance that does not use centralised intermediaries like banks and brokerages to offer traditional financial instruments. Therefore, it uses blockchain-powered smart contracts.
Cryptoart’s value skyrockets
The total market value of crypto art recently hit $684 million.
September 2020 marked the first time a crypto art piece was bought for at least $100K, following the unprecedented sale of “Matt Kane’s Right Place & Right Time” on Async.art. This served as a signal to show the untapped potential in this emerging market.
The crypto art industry also heavily relies on the Ethereum network.
From June 20 1995 until June 23 2021, Hongkongers concerned about growing Chinese influence in the Special Administrative Region had at least one local media outlet in their corner.
Apple Daily was known for its pro-democracy stance, when not covering sensationalist tabloid-style news — two editorial innovations that set it apart from almost all other media outlets in Hong Kong at the time of its launch.
And although the publication survived a 2020 raid on its offices, when the CEO, COO, Editor in Chief and other executives were arrested by police on June 17 2021 on suspicion of violating Article 29, a Hong Kong law passed in 2020 with the backing of the Chinese government that precludes “collusion with external forces to endanger national security”, Apple Daily was finished.
But Irish artist Kevin Abosch intends to ensure that even though Apple Daily is gone, it will not be forgotten.
His new artwork, PERSISTENCE, is a USB drive that contains over 11,000 news articles from Apple Daily, as well as an executable file that can be used to boot a Koii node secured by the Arweave blockchain.
“The battle to preserve freedom of the press will be fought with technological weaponry,” claims Abosch
Numerous organizations, including Reporters Without Borders, are on record as suggesting that the national security law in question was used by the “Hong Kong government… to take down a symbolic figure of press freedom.” The European Union spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security said that the closing of Apple Daily “seriously undermines media freedom and pluralism, which are essential for any open and free society.
“It’s understandable that autocrats fear decentralized technology as they fear anything they can’t control absolutely,” continued Abosch in reference to what he describes as the “China-controlled Hong Kong government”.
“PERSISTENCE is not just an art intervention — It is a proof of concept for a weapon designed to thwart attempts to censor journalists.”
Abosch has become a celebrated artist in the cryptoart sector, renowned for his experimentations with cryptography and codes. He has previously told Cointelegraph that “My truth, and the promise of crypto, is that privacy is a human right.”
Related: NFTs make it possible for gamers to have digital property rights.
This is his second collaboration with Koii Labs, which is developing a decentralized protocol for high volume, transparent activities in areas including public archive curation, reputation systems, and digital media rights.
Koii founder Al Morris said that “Whether conflicts are armed or cultural, the history books are usually written by the prevailing force. Decentralized technology makes it possible for the voices of all participants in the human struggle to preserve their experiences forever.”
Abosch has previously discussed his plans to outfit an orbital CubeSat with a Koii node, with the intention of providing climate change mapping to researchers. At the time, he also revealed that he had coded a reference to the location of Uyghur ‘concentration camps’ in Xinjiang into an artwork that he had presented to the National Museum of China in Beijing.
Abosch also includes an encrypted key suggesting ownership of a non-fungible token (NFT) and a set of hacker tools on the PERSISTENCE drive “that may prove useful under certain circumstances”.
The artwork will be presented at London’s Pippy Houldsworth Gallery from July 9 until August 6 2021.
A physical showroom for nonfungible tokens is set to open in Riga, Latvia, where NFTs of street art from around the globe will be put on display. The gallery is being launched by KIWIE 1001, an NFT project born from the Latvian street art collective of the same name.
Submissions are open to anyone who wishes to enter, and pieces can be submitted via the project’s Discord channel. Winning pieces will be voted on by the KIWIE 1001 community and will be presented in the Riga gallery when it opens in June.
Street art and NFTs might seem like a strange pairing, particularly given the reluctance by street artists to engage with the commercial side of the art industry. Yet displaying it as NFTs actually solves one problem that accompanies the presentation of street art, namely, how do you show it to someone without breaking down the wall it’s spray-painted on?
Minting the pieces as NFTs on the blockchain might seem like a lot of work when a photograph would suffice, but lead business strategist at KIWIE, Kristaps Vaivods, said hosting the tokens in a physical location would also help spread awareness of NFTs, while allowing artists to get noticed.
“While NFTs have quickly jumped into the mainstream, there is still a lot more work left to be done to inform the public on their benefits and applications,” said Vaivoids.
“We’ve launched the NFT showroom to help other artists get noticed and spread awareness of this new artistic revolution. NFTs open many doors in terms of creative ways of defining ownership where it used to be impractical, and they allow smaller artists to make a living without necessarily catering to large collectors,” Vaivods added.
You can now go to a museum in Japan to experience moving digital art. You can also go to a digital platform like Somnium Space, or Superworld, to experience further digital rabbit holes.
Something has been cooking in Helsinki, Finland for a while now though, and we are finally ready to show the world the first snippet of it.
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So what is now possible?
What you couldn’t yet do, up until yesterday:
Go to a physical immersive crypto art space, in which you can podcast about, sit on, and buy digital art, made physical, that comes with #NFT certificates.
Be guided to buy digital NFT art, on display via digital screens
Have the physical representations come alive via AR apps, so you can watch mini-docs about the art, as well as watch their still representations come alive
Become art yourself, via a bodypainting, stills, video, and psychological process titled Artevo, which is then transformed into multi-disciplined digital NFT & physical art.
Sit on an art couch, put on VR glasses, and go experience the various rabbit holes created by and on the already existing digital platforms, again available for you to collect also.
A special segment corner of this space, will become a green screen studio, for capturing live performances for NFT art. Brittany Kaiser will be the first international guest, whose life will be turned into integral digital art, launching in Q3 in Dubai & the metaverse. For those still unfamiliar with her story, I recommend “The Great Hack” on Netflix, which now has around 100MM views, revealing the true impact of social media on our lives.
The meta inside the art
Many of you know by now how much effort I put into these artworks, and I’m proud to announce we’ve quietly been working on an AR/VR/AI integrating NFT version of “The Br8ve”, which will drop in a couple of months time. The physical representation of this piece, which took five months to make just into its first version, is now one part of the studio wall in 3x6M size. Soon enough, in Helsinki, Finland, some will be able to point their mobile devices on it, to watch it become alive.
They can then sit on the couch, and experience the full VR experience of it to make further mind-melt bridges on what is possible in this art renaissance of meaning, technology, and purpose.
Here are some insightful influencer comments on FB.
Watch the 30-minute explainer video on “The Br8ve”, revealing the skillset of the potential team behind #BTC – now about to be turned into Physical/AR/VR/AI art.
In order for this space to tranced to earn the meaning behind the word ‘metaverse’, it shouldn’t forget the multi-sensory capacity a human being has in both spirit, matter, and aspiration. I’m incredibly excited to say that this space has a green screen segment for video, a pull-down stills studio inside the circle, sauna facilities, make-up room, chillout area, and much more.
Collect multiple factors of crypto & NFT art history, at once, for less than 1 #ETH.
I recently joined the new Mintable platform with two new experiments. Due to the evolution of how my transition from the legacy art world came about in 2017, most felt my digital art was way too expensive and looked too much like classical renaissance art. The mostly silent critique was that people in the space at the time couldn’t afford it, and the way that I expressed myself ‘was a bit much’. I go into that story more in this episode with Bitcoin LIVE with Nicholaas, which was a real pleasure to do a deep dive with.
I made efforts to course-correct the price thing along the way, but not as significant as these value offers.
The 3D render of the space, with multiple art pieces featuring the whole site, is now available for less than 1 #ETH. All funds will go to build it further. As you might guess, the whole operation will cost significantly more than the edition of 10 will provide, so this is a real opportunity to benefit from helping the independent metaverse culture to thrive.
My long time supporter Mr. Ben Leff already acquired the 1/10 but you can collect:
The 2/10 version here.
The 3/10 version here.
I will mint more as they go, and the price will increase towards the end of the edition.
The other available piece is “Delicatessen”, again, on Mintable.
If someone wants to super secure dip their toes into NFT’s, to guarantee double value #NFT + physical print access, the size of the file that comes with the piece “Delicatessen” allows you to make a wall-size print.
The $99 drop of an edition of 99 (now $130 due to price rise of #ETH) can be found here. The pieces are minted as they sell, and you can get in on the very early mints now for a very affordable price by today’s NFT standards on long-standing career-level work. It’s also a good way to get acquainted with Zach’s printable series concept, in which the piece mints as it is sold, as opposed to floods your store with NFTs and gas fees.
The idea was that you might have 99 problems but affording a cool limited edition #NFT isn’t one. Of course, as we are in a bull run, ETH has gone up a bit, so the price is now at around $120
Delicatessen is now a 150x150cm print on the wall of Flavorium in Helsinki. The file that comes with the NFT allows you to blow it up to the size of the whole wall or more if you like.
Blockchain Valley Virtual
Another worthy mention is all the incredibly exciting things happening with Blockchain Valley Virtual. There will be big news regarding developments soon, but for now, here is a demo on how Niko ain’t playing around when it comes to making our avatar swag.
Last but certainly not least, I’m just going to leave this here with #subtext.
So, we all have at least 99 problems but keep at it folks.
We are in the best possible sector to be in right now – unless if you are the mercilessly ruling class robbing the world blind. In which case you, still, are in the best sector in the world.
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Crypto Artist All links to physical, NFTs, and more below