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S. Preston, a Digital Artist, Makes his NFT Debut

Last month, Candy Digital worked with a well-known sports fan to create MLB Stadium Series.

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S. Preston, a digital artist, had been selling his prints for a decade. But, as the non-fungible token market has grown, he now has his name on a series of non-fungible tokens created by Major League Baseball.

In an interview with Blockworks, Preston said he first learned about NFTs in 2020, during the coronavirus epidemic. However, the artist began making calls to explore how he might enter the space earlier this year, as the digital collectable platform NBA Top Shot, which began its public beta testing phase last October, grew in popularity.

In March, Dapper Labs, a Canadian blockchain technology company, raised $305 million in private finance, including Michael Jordan, to scale NBA Top Shot. Since going public, the trading card site was said to have made $500 million in sales.

“I believe that’s when every league’s ears perked up in the sports world,” Preston added. “… I saw this double world of memorabilia collectors and then the NFT OpenSea world of NFT collectors, and I felt like I belonged somewhere in the middle.”

Morphing prints to NFTs

Preston informed his more than 21,000 Twitter followers on March 2 that he had minted his first NFT. Wendy Peffercorn, a lifeguard in the baseball film The Sandlot, was combined with Taylor Swift’s 1989 album cover to create the black ink and copic marker image. The NFT is still available for 0.2 Ether.

But he saw Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, for which he has been a licensed artist for years, as a better way to break into the NFT market. Preston has also worked with the NFL and NBA, Looney Tunes, and LucasFilm and is well-known among Disney fans for his drawings of Disney princesses in sporting attire.

On July 4, Candy teamed up with Major League Baseball to produce an NFT of Lou Gehrig’s legendary “Luckiest Man” speech, which he gave after being diagnosed with ALS on July 4, 1939. The digital collectible company will reveal other products in the coming weeks, including S. Preston’s MLB Stadium Series.

He told Blockworks that the stadium artwork, which he first made roughly ten years ago, was the catalyst for his career. The collection was preserved at the Baseball Hall of Fame’s permanent archives in Cooperstown, New York.

He stated that the art, which has been marketed as prints for years, is focused on evoking an emotion or connection to the squad rather than being extremely intricate.

The first two stadium NFTs, which depicted Preston’s interpretations of Fenway Park’s green monster and Citi Field’s home run apple, debuted on Aug. 9. The others will be released monthly through the end of September.

The NFT, a ceremonial first pitch, two tickets, a stadium tour, a meet-and-greet, and a S. Preston print are all included in the one-of-a-kind “Gold Edition,” which goes to the highest bidder. During the designated auction period, anyone can purchase additional “Steel Edition” NFTs for $100.

“Through his unique minimalist approach at the crossroads of sports branding and graphic arts, S. Preston has established himself with sports fans and art lovers alike,” Candy Digital CEO Scott Lawin told Blockworks in an email. “Connecting and connecting with the next generation of fans and collectors through new digital realizations of his work is fascinating to behold and represents the future of fandom,” says the artist.

According to a Candy Digital spokeswoman, his Yankee Stadium NFT sold for $33,000, the highest auction price so far. According to the spokesperson, as of Sept. 2, more than 4,000 Steel Editions had been sold, with nine of the 30 ballpark NFT sets auctioned off.

Physical art versus NFTs

Preston, a graphic artist, said that he had never before been able to offer collectors a one-of-a-kind creation, but NFTs have altered that.

“People always wanted the most collectible version of my paintings, therefore that was always a gap in my career. These are one-of-a-kind pieces for me. These are my own creations. This is the end.”

In recent months, the NFT market has exploded. Following the public sale of its Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) collection, OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, reached $3 billion in monthly volume in August, or 925,000 ETH.

Despite the space’s growing popularity, Preston claims that many collectors only want to acquire art that they can exhibit, making NFTs a difficult notion for them to grasp. But, he continued, “The next stage of growth for NFTs comes when that thinking evolves.”

Preston stated, “Art is not its functional value on the wall. You won’t want to put a Mickey Mantle rookie card on the wall if you buy one. The more money you pay, the more you want to save it in a shoebox or a vault. So it’s both an investment and a collection. It’s the worth of possession.”

What can we expect?

Preston predicts that his work on NFTs will earn him a lot more money in three to five years, when some of the skepticism and animosity surrounding the field will have dissipated. Still, he enjoys being an early contributor to the field.

“I believe the boom will come when the Fanatics, Amazons, and eBays of the world decide which chain to use and build those massive marketplaces,” he said. “At this point, it’s just exposure. We’re aware of its existence, usefulness, and other features, but once the marketing machine gets behind it, I believe that’s when everyone will get on board.”

Preston intends to continue working with Candy Digital to turn some of his previous artwork into NFTs with accompanying video, similar to Lou Gehrig’s release. He also hopes to produce NFTs to sell alongside some of his original artwork, mentioning that he is currently working on images for the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes.

The 49-year-old artist stated that he intends to prioritize his work as a physical artist.

“I believe that in 10 or 15 years, when NFTs truly become the MP3s of the art world,” he said, “the younger artists who grew up with an iPad and an Apple Pencil will gain the most from the expansion of the NFTs.”

NFT

Could this trademark application indicate that PayPal is developing an NFT market? 

A trademark application for blockchain and cryptocurrency technology has been submitted by PayPal. Some claim that the file has something to do with Web3 and the metaverse, although it may be tied to an NFT marketplace.

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A recent trademark application by PayPal has been found, and it suggests the development of a service pertaining to several facets of blockchain technology. The file, which was made on October 18, makes a notable allusion to the potential introduction of a non-fungible token (NFT) market.

For its logo, PayPal submitted two trademark applications. The first one concerns “downloadable software” for cryptocurrency trading and storage. The second discusses cryptocurrency-related payment processing services.

Although users may currently buy cryptocurrencies on PayPal’s platform, this filing suggests that there may be more to come. The concept of assets is substantially broader in the filing’s terminology. Mike Kondoudis, a trademark lawyer licensed by the USPTO, claimed on Twitter that this filing relates to NFTs and the metaverse.

Although there is no proof to support this, it would not be shocking if it were true. The finance business would be adding its name to a lengthy list of businesses that are starting to make inroads into the Web3 and metaverse spaces.

PayPal is investing more in cryptocurrency.
Over the past two years, PayPal has intensified its focus on cryptocurrencies. First, the company made a huge announcement for the industry by saying that consumers would be able to purchase cryptocurrency on its platform.

However, it didn’t start enabling users to move those funds into wallets outside of the network until recently. It indicated that it would roll out additional crypto-related features in the latter part of last year. One of those additions might be an NFT marketplace.

It teamed up with Coinbase’s TRUST network more recently. This was viewed by many as an endorsement of the sector. The TRUST network upholds consumer security and privacy while adhering to the banking industry’s Travel Rule.

Increased Criticism of Payment Giant
Additionally, PayPal has been in the spotlight for all the incorrect reasons. The business has recently come under fire for a contentious policy that penalized users for disseminating false information. Later, it claimed that false information was released with the amended policy. Crypto aficionados, however, were eager to point to this as evidence of the value of decentralization.

PayPal established a blockchain and cryptocurrency advisory committee earlier this year. According to the company’s management, working with governments is essential to overcoming obstacles and seizing possibilities.

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NFT

Seba Bank, a cryptocurrency company, aims to store valuable NFTs

Seba Bank, a cryptocurrency company, has launched its first NFT service, a blue-chip NFT-specific institutional-grade, certified, and independently audited hot and cold storage custody product.

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The launch comes in response to requests from customers to keep their NFTs with the bank alongside other crypto assets, such as the already-approved Bored Ape Yacht Club, Cryptopunk, and Clone X NFTs. The bank stated that new collections would be added based on customer demand.

With its newest offering, Seba Bank seeks to entice investors who view NFTs as an asset class and crypto natives. Not your keys, not your bitcoin is a well-known phrase in the crypto sphere, and adherents of this maxim could object to having their Apes or Punks stored with a third-party custodian.

Urs Bernegger, co-head of markets and investment solutions at Seba Bank, however, highlights a growing group of NFT holders who are more at ease handing up their NFTs and private keys to a company.

They don’t want the key because they aren’t even aware of how to handle and store it. He claimed that they’re more concerned with damaging the key than giving it to a bank.

It’s a significant issue. Between 2.3 million and 3.7 million bitcoins, according to Chainalysis, are trapped in inaccessible wallets. Numerous accounts of people have lost millions owing to losing private keys, including Russian officials, students, and engineers. Families have also been prevented from accessing substantial quantities of money following sudden deaths in which wallet owners had not disclosed their private keys.

Bernegger asserts institutional custody can be advantageous for native crypto users as well. There has been an increase in businesses providing services that employ NFTs as collateral for conventional banking services like loans.

Seba Bank is thinking about implementing these features in the future. Based in the crypto-friendly Swiss town of Zug, the four-year-old bank already backs several investing, credit, lending, and staking options for cryptocurrencies and might extend them to NFTs.

“Instead of traveling to the market, for instance, we could create a club for collectors and assist them in finding other collectors. There are a few things we have in mind, but we laid the groundwork by storing NFTs securely at first, “explained he.

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The NFT album maker for Kings of Leon now includes a metaverse music venue

YellowHeart, a Web3 ticketing startup, is opening a metaverse music venue in an effort to transform how performers, teams, and event organizers distribute tickets and interact with fans.

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The facility, constructed on Spatial, will feature Grammy-nominated blues musician G.Love as its opening act later this year. Fans can communicate with one another, participate in meet-and-greets before and after performances, and use several screens to view what is happening in various areas of the stadium simultaneously.

They will soon be able to order meals and drinks before the event, which will also be available as digital things.

The idea of an online concert has so far primarily been popularized by big gaming companies. The most well-liked virtual competitions have occurred on sites like Fortnite and Roblox. Ariana Grande’s Fortnite concert in August 2021 received 78 million viewers. Next month, Decentraland will host its second Metaverse Music Festival. Over 100 musicians are on the lineup, including well-known performers like Ozzy Osbourne and Soulja Boy.

In addition to throwing an event, YellowHeart, which assisted Kings of Leon in releasing an NFT version of their most recent album, stated that it hoped to accomplish more. It was established in 2017 with the lofty goal of revolutionizing the music ticketing sector as a whole, which has historically been dominated by powerful reselling organizations and exclusive ticketing relationships. These alliances frequently impose limitations on what purchasers can and cannot do with their tickets. Trying to resell a ticket for a concert you can’t go to might be a headache.

YellowHeart believes these issues can be resolved by returning control to artists and fans via web3 technology. Additionally, it may provide advantages that cannot be programmed into conventional tickets.

“These range from complete albums to personalized vinyl records, exclusive merchandise, and immersive visual art. Web3 tickets also allow performers to update fans on new tour dates, music releases, giveaway possibilities, and much more, according to the business.

It has already collaborated with well-known figures, including Julian Lennon, Maroon 5, and MGM Resorts. Contrary to the non-NFT versions offered on Spotify, iTunes, and other platforms, those obtained through YellowHeart entailed particular customer benefits.

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