OpenSea, a market for NFTs, raises $23M Collection A led by a16z crypto, says $95M in digital merchandise was offered on the service in Feb., up from $8M in Jan. — cybertechyt
OpenSea, the world’s leading crypto marketplace, has raised $23 million in an attempt to be the Amazon of NFTs
As CryptoKitties rose to prominence on the scene in 2017 and encapsulated much of what was going on around a zany cryptocurrency called Ethereum, most people believed that the collectible digital cats were just a joke. A cute joke, but still a joke.
Nevertheless, Devin Finzer, when he encountered those spiffy felines that year, had a different reaction: he realized that cryptocurrency was more than just a means of making a living. This is not to say that Finzer was against finance in any way. After all, a year earlier he had sold a startup that helped people claim money through a financial score-checking app called Credit Karma.
In fact, CryptoKitties “raised some eyebrows,” according to Finzer, who is a Brown University computer science graduate who has done programming stints at a variety of tech companies, including Google, Flipboard, and Pinterest. But he was also able to see in the pixelated pussycats an opportunity for a business venture. CryptoKitties was the first crypto app to target a more mainstream audience and target them as opposed to traders or people who were more interested in speculative use cases, says Finzer.
As CryptoKitties grew in popularity, Finzer came up with an idea. Basically, he said, “I think we could create the equivalent of Amazon or eBay for all of these new non-fungible tokens,” also known as NFTs, which are digital content that can be recorded within the digital databases that support virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Finzer joined forces with a friend, Alex Atallah, a Stanford alum who has worked as a software engineer at Apple and Palantir, joined the startup accelerator program at Y Combinator, and founded OpenSea.io, an e-commerce platform that uses blockchain technology.
A sailing trip on the open seas
We are now three years into the CryptoKitties craze and NFTs, the progeny of the CryptoKitties craze, are resurrecting after a lengthy slump in Bitcoin prices. On OpenSea, you can sell millions of dollars worth of digital content every day, including artwork created by a creator called Beeple, a flying Pop-Tarts rainbow cat, and millions of dollars’ worth of music each day.
The rate of growth that we have seen over the past few years is astounding. Based on Finzer’s estimates, it is estimated that 95 million dollars of digital merchandise have been sold on the marketplace in February alone, which is up from the $8 million sold in January. During the first six months since the site was launched, sales have increased 100-fold, and the marketplace is competing for market share with sites such as Mintable, Nifty Gateway, and Rarible, who are all fighting for the same market share.