NFT Roundup #8: Hedge Funder Stevie Cohen plays with NFTs; UAE jumps on the NFT bandwagon; Solana's quick growth; A metaverse index fund; A hybrid NFT company to list in the US
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This is a curated newsletter, covering news stories about NFTs. The NFT market is moving rapidly, and this is an attempt to provide some means of keeping up with its developments. Your curator is Dave Friedman.
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Steve Cohen, owner of the New York Mets baseball team, and well-known hedge fund manager, has invested in a sports-related NFT platform:
Recur, the crypto platform owned by the Winklevoss twins, raised $50 million at a post-money valuation of $333 million. It’s backed by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, Gary Vaynerchuk, Jason Derulo, and Gemini.
The company develops an NFT platform that connects brands to their fans and enables companies, celebrities, and athletes to engage with those fans through an NFT experience. Founded by Zach Bruch and digital licensing pioneer Trevor George, the company is looking to disrupt the ways in which IP holders are able to monetize their assets.
The company has partnered with Veritone to license PAC-12 highlights and NIL rights for the conference’s athletes. Recur will also be partnering with CLC, a division of Learfield, to license other universities’ rights.
As I’ve mentioned before, there are so many different NFT platforms and marketplaces at this point, that a consolidation is inevitable. I would expect to see increased M&A activity in this space in about a year’s time, to continue for a period of years, until the NFT marketplace space has a few dominant players.
To a very a great extent, investors’ bets here are likely not bets on sustainable businesses, but rather on M&A. Being bought out is a reasonable outcome for at least some of these investors.
Shiny is a luxury NFT marketplace in the United Arab Emirates:
Shiny, the UAE’s first luxury NFT marketplace, is set to launch this October.
“After the NFT bubble burst and the dust settled, we realised that what people need is a place where they can find high-quality art by promising creators, not just work that was haphazardly assembled to capitalise on a fad,” said Maria Popova, Shiny CEO.
“We want our organisation to give artists who have worked hard a platform to showcase their talent, and investors and customers looking to start an art collection a place where they can consistently find good, thought-out pieces. We are working on drops with Sara Shakeel, Abdulla Elmaz, Caitlyn Grabenstein and Baptiste Picq, among others. They have previously collaborated with the likes of Dior, Balenciaga, Mercedes-Benz, Emirates and Netflix, so we’re very excited to bring their exclusive pieces to our collectors.”
Shiny’s web site is presently just a landing page, so whatever plans the company has to associate NFTs with luxury are unclear. I have thought for a while that NFTs are very similar to luxury products, in that both fulfil a people’s instinct for mimesis. In fact I even wrote a post about this very topic, based on an off-hand tweet I made about Bernard Arnault acquiring a net worth of around $200 billion on nothing more than other people’s desire for luxury goods:
Solana, the scalable blockchain and would-be Ethereum killer, has had quite a summer. Its underlying token, SOL, has shot up in price from under $1.00 to around $154 as of this writing.
Crypto impresario Anthony Pompliano interviewed Kyle Samani, co-founder and managing partner at Multicoin Capital, who noted:
“Solana today is growing at an extremely rapid pace. Users being on-boarded, assets being issued, stablecoins going into it – all of these things. Look at the last nine days: it’s just a vertical line from, call it a billion in assets to like 10 billion.”
Of particular interest regarding Solana, and this newsletter, is its potential for NFTs. Since it is so scalable and its gas fees are so low, as compared to Ethereum, it remains an open question whether the NFT market will migrate to Solana, stay mainly on Ethereum, or split between the two. To a very large extent, what happens probably depends on whether Ethereum can manage its move to Ethereum 2.0, which is supposed to be more scalable than the current Ethereum blockchain.
A lot of what is happening in DeFi looks like traditional finance, replicated on chain. And here comes an index fund for the metaverse:
DAOventures is launching Metaverse Farmer on September 17th, the world’s 1st DeFi Metaverse Index Fund with Yield that helps investors profit from NFT and crypto game trends.
Index funds are traditionally a popular investment option for those looking for portfolio exposure to a broad asset class or sector. This index fund product from DAOventures however, is built entirely on-chain, and also takes advantage of DeFi innovations for additional yields.
As far I can tell, this fund is based in Singapore. I don’t know whether it is accessible to US investors. However, we can assume that the fund will invest in blockchain games like Axie Infinity or whatever hot new game comes along. The metaverse doesn’t really exist today, though we can see some indications of it forming. (For a great primer on what exactly the metaverse is, see the aptly named Metaverse Primer.)
But, as I noted above, a lot of DeFi looks like traditional finance recapitulated on chain. And this play looks no different: invest in a basket of metaverse-related NFTs, and sell interests in that basket to crypto investors, in the form of a token on chain.
With apologies to Jane Austen, it is a truth rarely acknowledged that bull markets create all sorts of unlikely business marriages. With this in mind, Bonanza Goldfields Corp, which trades over the counter under the ticker BONZ, is going to merge with Marvion Media Limited, “a metaverse blockchain technology company”:
Marvion™ Media Limited is a metaverse blockchain technology company, unlocking, enhancing and preserving the value of media and entertainment intellectual property through blockchain and related technologies to create Hybrid NFTs. The company's vision is to offer the ultimate artist and fan engagement, leveraging technology in both digital metaverse and physical experience realms. Marvion™ will be adopting their Hybrid NFT (h-NFT) format across all minted NFTs. The h-NFTs will undergo full know-your-client (KYC) and verification processes prior to Marvion™ acquiring the intellectual property. This is to ensure that only authentic and high quality NFTs are available on the platform.
Commenting on the business model, Julian So, interim CEO of Marvion™ Media Limited said, "Marvion™ is focused on addressing one of the key concerns facing NFT owners - intellectual property (IP) ownership. Many NFT investors we have engaged with are unaware that as an NFT owner, they do not own the underlying IP associated with the art work within the NFT smart contract. The IP actually continues to reside with the artist. What this means is that NFT owners have no right to take legal action against IP infringements. This is a critical issue that Marvion™ hopes to address through the Hybrid NFTs. This will disrupt the media and entertainment industry."
If this all sounds like bullshit, that’s because it probably is.