Dhe crypto scene has long since said goodbye to its lackluster image – even though fraud and money laundering are still practiced in abundance with digital currencies. A new trend, which like Bitcoin is based on blockchain technology, has been catapulted directly into the dazzling circle of superstars – the so-called NFT. The abbreviation stands for Non-Fungible Token.
Simply put, they are unique digitized assets. While a €10 note is fungible – that is, interchangeable with any other €10 note – NFTs are, to some extent, unique. With the help of blockchain technology, property rights can be precisely clarified in the digital world and counterfeiting can be avoided.
A popular application of NFT is the art market. Just last year, the digital artwork ‘Everydays – The First 5000 Days’ was auctioned off at Christie’s for a record $69 million. In the world of the beautiful and the rich, some NFTs are also the entry ticket to particularly exclusive and elitist clubs. The 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 go to the exclusive parties organized by BAYC, you must prove that you own such an NFT monkey.
The comic graphic chimps, of which there are only 10,000, are individually designed and sometimes wear sunglasses, sometimes a blindfold. Sotheby’s sold Bored Ape at auction last October for a whopping $3.4 million. Many celebrities such as rapper Eminem, tennis star Serena Williams and singer Madonna are members of the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Some stars had even replaced their social media profile pictures with those of the cartoon monkey and further fueled the hype.
In most cases, interested parties pay in cryptocurrency ether to purchase NFTs such as those from Yuga Labs. The start-up Moonpay offers the possibility to buy such NFTs without buying ether. Instead, Moonpay acquires the digital currencies needed to purchase NFT and then charges the user for the approximate dollar amount. Thus, through 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 Open Sea marketplace already work with Moonpay, and there are partnerships with over 260 other companies as well. According to their own statements, nearly 10 million customers have processed nearly $3 billion in transactions through Moonpay. The company advertises with the slogan: “Buying NFT was difficult. Until now. On The Tonight Show, American talk show host Jimmy Fallon even called Moonpay the crypto version of Paypal. He used it to buy his very first NFT – a monkey, of course.
Moonpay is worth $3.4 billion
Exclusivity and hype also explain the increased interest from investors. 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 on Wednesday, the company said nearly 16% of its revenue comes 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 also provided capital. The long list of investors includes not only celebrities, but also big tech investors such as venture capital firms Tiger Global Management and Coatue Management.