Sotheby’s Makes First Crypto Investment, Backing NFT Startup Using Ethereum Blockchain

53 NFTs, among them “Bored Ape Yacht Club #8817” by Yuga Labs, are up to auction during the Natively Digital 1.2 sale on Sotheby’s Metaverse. At 11.11 a.m. this Thursday, the highest price for this item was $2.8 million.

Sotheby’s, the world’s most prestigious auction house that specializes in luxury and art, will bet on the future of the digital art scene by participating in the $20 million seed round funding Delaware-based NFT studio Mojito and joining with Future Perfect Ventures, Creative Artists Agency, and the NEA’s Connect Ventures.

The firm’s value is estimated at around $100 million, according to the statement. Future Perfect partner Jalak Jobanputra will sit on the board of directors. Mojito plans to use the funds to expand its engineering teams into developing the Mojito platform and forming more partnerships to launch specific brand-specific non-fungible token (NFT) platforms that operate differently than the current standard of Amazon well as eBay type platforms.

Sotheby’s is joining the growing number of collectors and dealers embracing NFTs to add them to their offerings, and digital art is expanding its reach. However, Sotheby’s takes its partnership with digital art one step further, making its first investments in a cryptocurrency company and putting its hopes on the potential success and widespread acceptance of NFTs and other cryptocurrencies as products that can be sold.

“We believe in the future of using blockchain to expand ownership of digital assets,” declares Charles F. Stewart, Sotheby’s CEO. “There is a huge attention and curiosity about NFTs. We receive information on these types from the majority of our current collectors and clients. However, we are working with a large new clientele who are attracted to this type of segment. Sotheby’s goal is to facilitate access to and ownership of outstanding art and fine objects. So focusing on and developing this field is very sensible.”

The first NFT auction took place just five months ago, but it was a single event. With a brand new custom-designed marketplace explicitly designed to sell NFTs as well as an investment into the business behind it, Sotheby’s auction house appears to be fully invested. Last week, Sotheby’s opened their NFT Marketplace, Sotheby’s Metaverse, along with a new sale curated by Sotheby’s, Natively Digital 1.2: The Collectors, which will accept bids until the 26th of October. The Second edition of Sotheby’s inaugural NFT auction, Natively Digital, will feature 53 items from the collection from 19 noted collectors such as NFT Girl, Steve Aoki, the AOI collection, and Paris Hilton. In addition to tracking assets on the Ethereum blockchain, the marketplace allows buyers to pay with bitcoin, ether, and USDC cryptocurrency and fiat currencies. This year, Christie’s first NFT auction launched the cryptocurrency boom with the $69 million auctions of “Everyday — The First 5000 Days” by the artist dubbed Beeple. Then, Guggenheim Partners’ co-founder revealed plans to construct the world’s biggest NFT museum only a few blocks from MoMA on a high-rise with a view of Central Park. In the last few months, NFTs are being used to earn revenues (and draw attention) through an entirely new business model for Gucci, Burberry, and Balenciaga. The total NFT transactions over the same time frame have grown from $50 million to almost $408 million as per NFT marketplace analysis software

Therefore, it’s probably no accident to note that Mojito is the first company to venture out of Serotonin, a venture, and marketing company that helps businesses get noticed by utilizing applications built directly using a blockchain, also known as Web3. Mojito develops and maintains NFT marketplaces, such as Sotheby’s Metaverse, for businesses to join the lucrative market in their way. Mojito’s marketplaces work with Ethereum applications.

“The crypto industry has been given a bad reputation because it is difficult and inaccessible. We’re here to ease the entry barrier by making it simple and enjoyable and allow brands to create their own unique experience,” says Dan Kinsley, the CEO, and co-founder of Mojito. “I’m passionate about decentralization in general and helping bring users into the space, and this is a great conduit for that.”

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Robert Scoble
Robert is the assistant managing editor for HC News, overseeing coverage of markets, companies, strategy and business leaders. Originally from Boston, Scoble began his journalism career in 1997 & now resides outside New York.

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