- Visa made its first foray into the digital-collectibles market by purchasing CryptoPunk 7610 for around $150,000.
- The payments giant made the purchase on August 18 for 49.5 ether.
- Visa said by purchasing an NFT, it is “jumping in feet first” to help its clients understand the space better.
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Visa recently made its first foray into the digital-collectibles market by purchasing CryptoPunk 7610, its first non-fungible token, for around $150,000, according to an announcement Monday.
The payments giant made the purchase on August 18 for 49.5 ether, according to Larva Lab, the team behind CryptoPunks.
“What began as an early artistic experiment has quickly become a cultural icon for the crypto community,” Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto at Visa, said in a statement, referring to the CryptoPunk series.
He continued: “To help our clients and partners participate, we need a firsthand understanding of the infrastructure requirements for a global brand to purchase, store, and leverage an NFT.”
-VisaNews (@VisaNews) August 23, 2021
Sheffield, who worked with Anchorage Digital to complete the process, said he believes NFTs will play a crucial role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment, and commerce. By purchasing an NFT, he said Visa is “jumping in feet first.”
The crypto head, who is also a self-proclaimed NFT enthusiast, said he is confident NFTs have the potential to become a “powerful accelerator for the creator economy and lower the barrier to entry for individual creatives to earn a living through digital commerce.”
He cited the rise of e-commerce and how small and medium-sized businesses can harness blockchains to produce digital goods.
“We can envision a future in which your crypto address becomes as important as your mailing address,” he said.
CryptoPunk 7610 is one of 3,840 female punks made by artists Matt Hall and John Watkinson, the founders of Larva Labs, in 2017.
In total, there are 10,000 24 x 24-pixel CryptoPunks with no two that are exactly alike. Other characters in the collection are composed of nine aliens, 24 apes, 88 zombies, and 6,039 males.
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In June, one alien punk fetched $11.8 million, setting a new world auction record for a single CryptoPunk, luxury auction house Sotheby’s said.
These tokens are digital representations of artwork, sports cards, or other collectibles tied to a blockchain, typically on ethereum. Each NFT has a signature that can be verified in the public ledger and cannot be duplicated nor edited.
When people buy NFTs, they gain the rights to the unique token on the blockchain, not the artworks themselves. But the fact that the information on a blockchain is next to impossible to alter makes NFTs appealing, especially to artists.
Still, experts believe the space is still nascent and has ways to go before becoming mainstream. It has some challenges it still needs to overcome such as interoperability, scalability, and accessibility.