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Thanksgiving in the Crypto World: NFT Declines and Black Friday Offers Become Mainstream?

This Thanksgiving, holiday-themed NFTs and Black Friday crypto bargains are expected to be popular conversation starters, but how will they be received?

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Cryptocurrency mass acceptance is already underway, with the advent of the Metaverse and major businesses announcing nonfungible token (NFT) drops. According to recent findings from the Pew Research Center, nearly a quarter of 10,371 adults in the United States were familiar with bitcoin, while only one-eighth (13 percent) were completely unfamiliar. According to an additional study conducted by online broker BrokerChooser, the United States is the third most interested country in NFTs, trailing only Canada and Australia.

Given the United States’ interest in cryptocurrency, it’s not surprising that the price of Bitcoin (BTC), NFTs, and cryptocurrencies, in general, will be discussed at the Thanksgiving table this year. Black Friday sales on holiday-themed NFTs and bitcoin may be particularly appealing.

The most intriguing mainstream NFTs for Thanksgiving

With this in mind, a fascinating topic for discussion may be the growing number of popular businesses and stores adding holiday-themed NFTs into their product offers. For example, on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, Macy’s, one of America’s top department shops, will debut its “Macy’s Parade NFT” series.

According to Dave Torres, vice president of digital marketing at Macy’s, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has mirrored the finest of pop culture for more than nine decades. In addition, Torres noted that Macy’s had created art in the sky and on the ground with its iconic balloons and floats during the Thanksgiving parade. As a result, Torres stated that one of the goals of the parade NFT project was to understand new trends better while also ensuring that Macy’s is ready to embrace the next frontier of digital brand interactions. “We saw an opportunity to link brand innovation with our charity efforts for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in a way we never believed possible when we engaged ourselves in this project,” he said.

The Macy’s NFTs are powered by Sweet, an enterprise NFT solutions provider, and are developed on the Polygon blockchain. According to Tom Mizzone, CEO of Sweet, a consumer brand NFT platform, the Macy’s Parade NFT series includes parade balloons from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s 95-year history:

“Each parade balloon has been carefully selected to represent a specific decade from the 1920s to the present, and each balloon has been captured and grafted into a series of 9,510 generative NFTs designed by the very talented NFT artist REOMETRY.”

The Macy’s Parade NFT series, according to Mizzone, is unique for a variety of reasons, one of which is that just ten of the NFTs are available for purchase. “Those ten are only available through a Sweet auction that is currently running and will expire on November 30. “On Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2021, the remaining 9,500 NFTs will be accessible for free on a first-come, first-served basis,” he stated on an official website.

All revenues from the 10 NFTs up for sale, according to Mizzone, will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This American non-profit organization supports children with life-threatening illnesses. In terms of the 9,500 free NFTs Macy’s is giving out, Mizzone explained that the retailer is going above and beyond typical charitable giving by demonstrating how to use NFT technology and smart contracts to create a continuous giving initiative:

“Every time an owner of a Macy’s Parade NFT decides to sell their NFT in a compatible aftermarket, 10% of the sale price will be donated to Make-A-Wish. So essentially, you’ll have 9,500 NFT owners when this is all said and done and an open-ended future of donations to, in this case- Make-A-Wish. As more retail brands begin to see the opportunity that exists with NFTs, Macy’s is setting a precedent of what’s possible in the realm of giving back.”

Martha Stewart, an American businesswoman and television personality, has created Thanksgiving-themed nonfungible tokens on her website, MarthaFRESHMint, in addition to Macy’s NFT collection. Following the release of her Halloween-themed NFT collection, Stewart will release a Thanksgiving-themed NFT collection this year, including audio recordings of Stewart’s Thanksgiving recollections.

Tokns Commerce, an NFT solutions provider for legendary brands and creators, collaborated with Stewart to create a licensed “storytelling” Thanksgiving-themed collection. According to Jamie Tedford, CEO of Tokns, a commercial solution for NFTs, the collection includes over 100 NFT collectibles that show a new perspective on iconic pictures from Martha Stewart Living magazine:

“With our featured drop, Martha has invented a new category we’re calling ‘Storytelling NFTs.’ This one-of-one NFT features exclusive audio of Martha recalling family Thanksgiving traditions and recounting the story of her first attempt at hosting Thanksgiving dinner — burnt Turkey and all.”

Stewart, according to Tedford, believes that storytelling has become a lost skill, which has grown more difficult in recent years of social alienation. “We wanted to use NFTs to reintroduce narrative and bring this little-known story of Martha’s terrible first Thanksgiving in her new house back to life.” In addition, Tedford continued, “Her legendary voice recording and accompanying original music set a new standard for generating a rare, wonderfully created one-of-a-kind NFT.”

Black Friday sales and cryptocurrency spending options for the holidays

While Turkey Day NFTs from Macy’s and Martha Stewart highlight cryptocurrency’s growth, retailers, merchants, and major brands have also started to support crypto payments in time for the holidays.

For example, on November 23, Regal, a movie theater chain with over 500 locations and 7,000 screens in 42 states, announced a partnership with digital payment network Flexa to allow consumers to pay for movie tickets, food, and beverages using cryptocurrency. Regal will accept Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Doge (DOGE), USD Coin (USDC), DAI (DAI), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), Chainlink (LINK), Cosmos (ATOM), Basic Attention Token (BAT), and other cryptocurrencies.

The increased desire for digital currency payment choices, along with the fact that Regal is about to enter its busiest season of the year, makes this announcement particularly appropriate, according to Trevor Filter, co-founder of payments platform Flexa.

“We’re ecstatic to announce this relationship just in time for the holidays, and we’re looking forward to offering Regal’s consumers and merchants simple, dependable, and secure digital currency payment choices.”

In addition to Regal, Bitcoin payments provider BitPay has teamed up with a number of its partners to offer Black Friday bargains to bitcoin users. Ace Jewelers, Newegg, precious metal store APMEX, and many more, according to Merrick Theobald, vice president of marketing at BitPay, would offer consumers discounts or rates that contain no further costs. “To take advantage of these offers, customers must pay using cryptocurrency or the BitPay card,” Theobald explained.

App for Bitcoin Reward Lolli is also offering double Bitcoin reward rates for Black Friday purchases. Lolli rewards customers with Bitcoin for purchases made at big businesses such as Sephora, Groupon, Macy’s, Nike, and others. According to Alex Adelman, CEO and co-founder of Lolli, the average BTC incentive rate would quadruple to 14% during Black Friday.

How will customers react to NFTs and cryptocurrency transactions?

Even though Thanksgiving NFTs and crypto payments appear to be more popular than ever this holiday season, it’s still unclear whether consumers will choose to spend their digital currency on purchases or collect holiday-specific NFTs from big firms.

For example, while customers are anticipated to spend cryptocurrency this holiday season, it may not be as much as in prior years:

“Black Friday this year already started happening for many merchants at the beginning of November, so it may not be easy to identify if spending will increase on Black Friday specifically. However, I do think that the rising prices of cryptocurrencies will get people to spend more on luxury items.”

While Bitcoin is the most extensively used crypto for payments, other coins such as Dogecoin and Litecoin and stable coins are gaining appeal with consumers and retailers, according to Theobald. “Stablecoins have a larger ticket value than regular cryptocurrencies.” This could be because retailers want to accept crypto payments. Therefore they’re urging customers to pay with stablecoins because of the many advantages of blockchain payments,” he speculated.

Some worries remain about holiday-themed NFTs, like environmental consequences and simplicity of usage, particularly for individuals unfamiliar with obtaining nonfungible tokens.

With these issues in mind, Tedford noted that Tokns intends to make NFTs more accessible by eliminating the need for a cryptocurrency wallet. “That’s why we built our platform on Shopify and used Shopify Payments to accept credit card payments and Coinbase Commerce to accept cryptocurrency transactions.” He continued, “We walk customers through the process of moving their NFTs to their crypto wallet once they’ve purchased them.” According to Tedford, credit cards were used in over 90% of transactions on MarthaFRESHMint, with most of these purchases coming from first-time NFT customers.

In terms of the environmental impact of NFTs, Mizzone stated that Sweet uses the Polygon blockchain for a variety of reasons, one of which is that Polygon is a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain. As a result, Polygon utilizes a fraction of the energy that other chains do, according to Mizzone. “Removing that possible environmental barrier is huge if our goal is to reduce the barrier to — and it is.”

Given the maturity and relevance of the NFT field for brands, Torres added that Macy’s has been “very focused” on launching its parade NFTs, adding that “it’s unlikely to be Macy’s last entry into NFTs.”

ART & COLLECTABLES

In the Largest-ever NFT Drop, WAX will Distribute Ten Million Free NFTs

WAX will give out free NFTs to commemorate its success with a variety of companies on board and rising play-to-earn games.

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#nft #nfthours #wax #drop #10million

Despite the recent NFT market surge, WAX has received little attention. Solana and Flow have both had considerable accomplishments in the field, but Ethereum has high-dollar, headline-grabbing sales and most of the overall trading volume.

Despite the lack of publicity, WAX has quietly racked up impressive numbers. It now has the greatest smart contract transaction volume of any network, with DappRadar having recently reported about 18 million daily transactions. In addition, major brands such as Funko, Mattel, AMC, and Sony Pictures have used it for NFT drops.

WAX—short for Worldwide Asset eXchange—has also recently passed the 10-million-to-11-million-total-wallet-accounts-on-the-platform-mark and will celebrate by airdropping a total of 10 million free NFT collectibles to those wallets. It’s the most significant single NFT drop to date, and the first 10 million WAX wallet holders will get it for free.

The free NFTs are distributed across ten different digital pins, commemorating a different period in WAX’s history. The 10 million NFTs jointly mark the platform’s success up to this moment, from its mainnet launch in 2019 to its carbon-neutral accreditation, and even its recent cooperation with AMC and Sony Pictures for “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

WAX CEO and co-founder William Quigley told Decrypt that the company planned to commemorate the wallet’s one-year anniversary with a large-scale drop that would be unfeasible on other major platforms. While the airdrop represents WAX’s history, he also wants it to demonstrate to companies that they can use its platform to execute initiatives involving millions of NFTs.

“Most individuals familiar with NFTs recognize that minting Ethereum NFTs is slow and expensive,” he explained. “So we reasoned: Well, no one has ever attempted to make 10 million NFTs. We’ve only done about 2.5 million Topps MLB baseball cards, but even that much outnumber anything done by other chains.”

According to Quigley, WAX had roughly 500,000 registered members at the end of 2020, so the current 10 million record implies a 20-fold growth in users in just over a year. Furthermore, according to data from DappRadar, the larger NFT market surged considerably in 2021, going from over $100 million in trade volume in 2020 to $23 billion last year.

He said that minting 10 million NFTs on Ethereum’s mainnet would be too expensive and that the “chain would have collapsed” due to the network’s low transaction throughput. He also chastised competitor chains: Solana experienced extended downtime in September. In addition, Ethereum sidechain scaling solution Polygon recently suffered rising costs due to a now-defunct play-to-earn game called Sunflower Farmers.

On DappRadar’s list of the most popular decentralized applications (dapps) by user count, WAX offers several play-to-earn games and other applications. While increased demand can put WAX to the test, Quigley says the blockchain platform has stayed online and functional.

“We’ve made it through, although it’s been quite difficult at times. WAX is still standing, “he stated. “You’ve got chains like Solana and Polygon whose entire raison d’être is their ability to scale. And [Polygon] couldn’t even handle one of the most popular learn-to-play games. There isn’t one. And there are many of them.”

WAX plans ahead

According to Quigley, WAX’s growing reputation as a destination for brands—which includes Reebok, Mattel, Capcom, and Atari—is partly due to the platform’s scalability and inexpensive pricing. But it’s also because of his team’s experience working with brands, including his previous role as Chief Financial Officer of Disney’s licensing division.

“When we communicate to brands about intellectual property management, we speak their language,” Quigley said. “We can safeguard their brands, and a lot of it boils down to trust.”

He expects interest in WAX’s “vIRL” NFT format, which stands for “Virtual in Real Life,” to rise in the future. It’s essentially an NFT digital twin that can be redeemed for a physical version of the product, and companies like Funko and Mattel have already used it in projects.

It’s excellent for high-demand products like shoes and streetwear, according to Quigley, because it eliminates some of the expenses and environmental effects of shipping things through many parties before they reach the end-user.

He also anticipates increased crypto gaming activity on WAX, especially as the nascent play-to-earn genre matures and expands into more affluent, more appealing game experiences. He understands why AAA game companies have been chastised for launching in-game NFT products and believes that such items have yet to add value to games.

“A lot of gamers dislike NFTs because they see them as money grabs,” he stated. “When it comes to AAA titles, I’d say that’s not far off.”

In the end, he believes that conventional, big video game publishers will lose out in the play-to-earn market. Instead, indie developers will create games with NFTs at their core, considering how the technology benefits users and experiences.

He anticipates rapid and significant evolution, much as he did with mobile and browser-based games.

“Indie game creators who embrace this technology will start building games that progress from primitive–almost like DeFi mechanics rather than games—to full-fledged video games,” Quigley added. “It’s very much a work-to-earn situation right now—there isn’t a lot of playing. Finally, however, we will be able to play-to-earn.”

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ART & COLLECTABLES

Mercedes-Benz Collaborates with NFT Artists to Commemorate the G-Class Series

Mercedes-Benz has enlisted the help of five NFT artists to create their unique interpretations of the G-Class.

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#nft #nfthours #gclass #mercedesbenz

According to a tweet from Mercedes, the luxury automaker has teamed up with Art2People to produce a unique Mercedes-Benz NFT collection based on its G-Class car line.

Five NFT artists were commissioned to create G-Class-inspired works in various media, each unique design.

Music, fashion, graphic design, architecture, creative marketing, luxury design, and real estate are participating artists. Charlotte Taylor, Anthony Authie, Roger Kilimanjaro, Baugasm, and Antoni Tudisco from Germany are among the artists. The NFTs will be launched on Sunday by Nifty Gateway and Mercedes.

Mercedes isn’t the first major manufacturer to experiment with NFTs. McLaren announced its aim to use NFTs to produce virtual copies of its renowned F1 cars in June 2021. In addition, Coca-Cola created a one-of-a-kind NFT campaign to collect money for Special Olympics International in July 2021.

Mercedes-Benz isn’t the first company to experiment with blockchain technology. The automaker has launched a trial with blockchain company Circulor to ensure that cobalt emissions are traced throughout the supply chain.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

Participants in the NFT Market in the United States may Face Harsh Tax Penalties

As the NFT market grew in 2021, so did the tax questions for the next tax season.

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#nft #nfthours #taxes #irs

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wants a piece of the NFT loot. There is uncertainty over how NFT holders should be taxed, although tax experts estimate that taxes could be as high as 37%. According to James Creech, a tax attorney in San Francisco, “you don’t get to report earnings or losses because the IRS has failed to provide guidance that satisfies your expectations.”

According to Chainalysis, the NFT business would see $44 billion in transactions in 2021. Some artists made large profits, with one American artist selling an NFT for $69 million-plus royalties. This raises some concerns about how they ought to be taxed. Although the taxation of NFTs is not apparent at the moment, that does not mean they should not be declared on your tax return.

Those who failed to declare quarterly earnings from NFTs may be in for a rude awakening when penalties are imposed the next tax season. NFT owners can sell their NFTs on NFT marketplaces like Opensea or Rarible, and they may be liable to income tax of up to 37 percent when they do so. In addition, if NFTs use another cryptocurrency to purchase the NFT, they will owe capital gains taxes to the IRS.

Experts on taxation weigh in

NFT taxes are estimated to be worth billions of dollars, according to Arthur Teller, CEO of TokenTax. However, aside from the 37 percent income tax, the tax requirements are murky. For example, should they be taxed at the same rate as capital gains on art collectibles, currently 28 percent? Moreover, in light of Joe Biden’s proposed tax infrastructure package, the Treasury Department provides no detailed guidance on how NFTs will be taxed. According to Jarod Koopman, a director of the criminal investigation at the IRS, as a result, tax evasion may become a distinct possibility.

The IRS has issued general crypto tax guidelines

Notice 2014-21, 2014-16IRB938, Rev. Rul 2019-24, 2019-44 IRB1004, and ILM 20214020; the IRS explains how bitcoins are taxed. It should be noted that none of these include any mention of NFT. Section 61 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) may necessitate the inclusion of creator income on the revenues of NFT sales and royalties. In contrast, Section 197 may allow amortization to buyers who use the NFT for business purposes. Buyers from other countries will be subject to local taxes. At the same time, if the copyright owners are citizens of the United States, they may be required to pay state and federal taxes on any royalties received.

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