Visa Arrives In The Metaverse With Its First NFT Purchase: A $150K Avatar
By Ell Ko, 24 Aug 2021
Image via Larva Labs
Payment giant Visa has taken its first steps into a different universe—the metaverse—while signaling that a digital, virtual reality is truly on its way… with a purchase of a fast-growing bit of the NFT world, CryptoPunks.
CryptoPunks are unique pixelated non-fungible token (NFT) works of art developed by Larva Labs which, once purchased, certify their authenticity and ownership on the blockchain.
Generated algorithmically, the avatars come donning different features and are widely used by their owners as profile pictures. They sell for extortionate amounts—Visa paid 49.5ETH (US$150,000) for its own—and are even given spots in auction houses.
Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto at Visa, explains that the company did this because it wanted firsthand experience of “what it takes to acquire, custody and interact with an NFT.”
“We think that NFTs are going to play a really important role in the future of retail and social media, entertainment and commerce,” Sheffield, who is an NFT collector himself, tells Forbes.
The company worked with a newly-licensed bank, Anchorage, to facilitate the transaction. Understanding that this move may become the blueprint for future corporate NFT purchases, the bank underwent the full know-your-customer process in order to verify the seller.
After obtaining the NFT, Anchorage stored it in Visa’s digital vault, only accessible with a private key. Diogo Monica, president of Anchorage Digital, likens the “very heavily blinded digital door” to a traditional vault in a bank.
Visa’s Punk, 7610 is a female character with a mohawk, green eyes and bright red lipstick. She is one of 3,840 female Punks, and definitely the only one owned by a financial services giant… as of now.
It has been reported that although this is the company’s first NFT, it won’t be its last. Visa truly believes that the economy will be transformed, and a crypto address will become an integral part of life, comparable to a mailing address.
“In the same way Visa’s been here through shifts of commerce before, we're really excited to help drive this new shift of commerce in the future.”
Over the last 60 years, Visa has built a collection of historic commerce artifacts - from early paper credit cards to the zip-zap machine. Today, as we enter a new era of NFT-commerce, Visa welcomes CryptoPunk #7610 to our collection. https://t.co/XoPFfwxUiu— VisaNews (@VisaNews) August 23, 2021
[via Forbes, image via Larva Labs]
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