Dthe crypto scene has long since said goodbye to its seedy image – even though fraud and money laundering are still carried out in abundance with digital currencies. A new trend that, like Bitcoin, is based on blockchain technology, has been thrown directly into the dazzling circle of superstars – so-called NFT. The abbreviation stands for Non-Fungible Token.
In short, these are unique digitized assets. While a 10-euro banknote is fungible – ie. can be exchanged for any other 10-euro banknote – NFT is to some extent unique. Using blockchain technology, property rights can be precisely clarified in the digital world and counterfeiting can be prevented.
A popular application of NFT is the art market. Last year, the digital artwork “Everydays – The First 5000 Days” was auctioned at Christie’s for a record $ 69 million. In the world of the rich and beautiful, some NFTs are also the entry ticket to particularly exclusive clubs and elite clubs. Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is one of them. To become a member, interested parties must purchase NFT from Yuga Labs in the form of a digital monkey. If you want to join the exclusive parties organized by BAYC, for example, you must prove that you own such an NFT monkey.
The graphic comic chimpanzees, of which there are only 10,000, are individually designed and sometimes wear sunglasses, sometimes a blindfold. Sotheby’s auctioned off a Bored Ape last October for as much as $ 3.4 million. Many celebrities like rapper Eminem, tennis star Serena Williams and singer Madonna are members of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Some stars had even replaced their profile pictures on social media with those of the cartoon monkey, giving the hype further nourishment.
In most cases, interested parties in the cryptocurrency ether pay to buy NFTs, such as those from Yuga Labs. The startup Moonpay allows you to buy such NFTs without buying ether. Instead, Moonpay buys the digital currencies needed for the NFT purchase, and then bills the user for the amount in approximately dollars. So via Moonpay, customers can pay for digitized artwork, music or other NFTs with credit or debit cards, but also with Apple, Google and Samsung Pay.
Crypto-trading platforms such as Coinbase and the NFT marketplace Open Sea are already working with Moonpay, and there are also partnerships with more than 260 other companies. According to their own statements, nearly 10 million customers have processed nearly $ 3 billion in transactions through Moonpay. The company advertises with the slogan: “It was difficult to buy NFT. Until now.” On The Tonight Show, US talk show host Jimmy Fallon even called Moonpay the crypto version of PayPal. He used it to buy his first NFT ever – a monkey, of course.
Moonpay worth $ 3.4 billion
The exclusivity and hype also explain the increased investor interest. Crypto startup Moonpay raised $ 555 million in a funding round late last year and is currently valued at $ 3.4 billion.
In a press release published Wednesday, the company announced that nearly 16 percent of its earnings come from celebrities. More than 60 celebrities, including musicians and actors, have invested $ 87 million in the startup. These included Justin Bieber and Gwyneth Paltrow, who are also members of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. But Bruce Willis, Paris Hilton, Post Malone, Ashton Kutcher, Kate Hudson, Shawn Mendes and Steve Aoki have also contributed capital. The long list of investors includes not only celebrities but also big tech investors like the venture capital firms Tiger Global Management and Coatue Management.