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Visa Teams Up with a Former Major League Baseball Player to arm NFT Creators

Micah Johnson, a former Major League Baseball player, and Visa aim to use Non-Fungible Tokens to empower the next generation of content creators.

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Since purchasing a cryptopunk on August 23, 2021, Visa has been a leading player among traditional finance veterans in the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) industry. Micah Johnson, a baseball veteran and current NFT artist has joined them in their efforts to grow farther into the space.

“We believe that we are at the beginning of a digital renaissance in the world of art and content creation — a flourishing ecosystem of artists, musicians, writers, photographers, and curators building communities at the intersection of culture and commerce.” said Cuy Sheffield on Twitter.

Johnson founded Aku Inc., a multicultural entertainment and media firm that uses representation and storytelling to encourage the next generation of dreamers. The company intends to release a film and play-to-earn gaming and an education platform aimed towards minorities.

There’s also a 10-part NFT collection that’s been available since the beginning of the year. According to their website, Aku Inc. hopes to establish an AKU coin that will serve as the cornerstone for the Aku ecosystem for years to come.

Johnson talked about his move from sports to art on Twitter:

“I was afraid when I retired from baseball in 2018. I didn’t have anywhere to sell my work and no prior employment experience. The NFT community welcomed me with open arms and demonstrated what was possible, as well as the fact that love is something that will never leave me.”

Visa and Johnson have teamed up to enable creators better understand NFTs and empower them to create and sell digital commodities on public blockchains. Visa will choose a class of creators after an open application process to connect with its existing payment partners and assist them in navigating between standard payment rails and cryptocurrencies.

Johnson is expected to be a significant partner as Visa develops the program, ensuring real value to the next generation of content creators.

“We’ll be financing this small group and offering consulting services to help them negotiate the worlds of crypto and traditional payment infrastructure,” says the company. In a news statement, Visa noted, “We’ll also strive to develop meaningful ties between creators and Visa’s network of payment partners, who can help creators reach new audiences and grow their businesses.”

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Shopify Expands Online Retailers’ NFT-Gated Options

Brands are able to increase the exclusivity of their shops thanks to the e-commerce platform.

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The future of e-commerce, according to Shopify, is in NFTs.

As a new option for brands wishing to make their stores more exclusive, the online retail behemoth, which enables small businesses to construct customized e-commerce shops, is providing NFT-gated storefronts, Shopify announced on Wednesday.

In the Shopify introduction video, which includes a skating woman who passes through a pastel portal and transforms into a Doodles NFT, a voiceover urges viewers to “invite their communities into a world that acknowledges and rewards devotion.”

The video explains that token holders can access special shopping opportunities by connecting a cryptocurrency wallet, including early access to drops and limited collections as well as one-of-a-kind experiences and other surprises.

Only individuals with existing NFT collections are able to apply for early access to Shopify’s “gm” shop, which is a gated merchandise store and a play on the Crypto Twitter acronym for “good morning.”

However, those that haven’t received approval yet can still integrate NFT token-gating apps like Shopthru or Single into their Shopify sites.

Shopify announced that it has already collaborated with the Adam Bomb Squad, Doodles, World of Women, Invisible Friends, Superplastic, Stapleverse, and Cool Cats NFT collections to develop token-gated shops as part of its token-gated business launch.

Shopify is introducing “IRL” token-gating in brick-and-mortar stores in addition to online token-gating, which restricts access to certain merchandise to authorized NFT holders exclusively.

Why is this important? The future of Web3 commerce will focus on exclusivity, for one thing. NFTs, which are distinctive blockchain tokens that denote ownership over an asset, are increasingly employed as membership cards, tickets to events, and “keys” to open benefits, despite the fact that they are frequently oversimplified as digital art or “jpgs.”

Additionally, this isn’t Shopify’s first venture into NFTs: The business has been involved with Web3 since last year, when it announced the launch of NFT sales on its platform. Brands can mine and sell NFTs on Shopify to clients using the Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, or Flow platforms.

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OpenSea, beware—Uniswap is pushing into NFTs

The NFT aggregation platform Genie is being purchased by Uniswap Labs, the organization that created the Ethereum-based decentralized exchange Uniswap.

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In a Bankless interview on Tuesday, Uniswap founder and CEO Hayden Adams said, “We’re attempting to transfer what we brought to the ERC-20 market to the NFT sector.”

You can buy NFTs—individual blockchain tokens that represent ownership—on a variety of different marketplaces, such as OpenSea, LooksRare, or Coinbase NFT. However, few allow consumers to buy many things at once, and none provide aggregation tools that let traders view listings on competing marketplaces.

According to Uniswap Labs on Twitter, “We see NFTs as another form of value in the burgeoning digital economy, and it’s a no-brainer for us to integrate them.”

The NFT aggregator Gem, which also enables customers to acquire numerous NFTs in a single transaction, was purchased by OpenSea just two months prior to the announcement of its acquisition by Genie. OpenSea intends to incorporate NFT aggregation functions into its primary platform, just like Uniswap.

A new tab dedicated to NFTs will be added to Uniswap’s main website later this year as part of the company’s push into NFTs, according to a statement from the company. Additionally, NFTs will be included in its developers’ APIs and widgets.

Uniswap Labs intends to airdrop an unspecified quantity of the stablecoin USDC to Genie’s early backers as a way to commemorate its acquisition. By April 15th, USDC will be given to everybody who had utilized the platform at least once or owned a Genie Genesis NFT. (The business had earlier tweeted that Genie Gem owners were eligible for the airdrop.)

Uniswap entered the NFT market for the first time in 2019 with Unisocks, an NFT that granted holders access to a real pair of socks.

The largest NFT market, OpenSea, has a floor price for Unisocks of 13 ETH (about $15,300) at the time of writing.

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NFT marketplace in Solana Magic Eden completes a $130M Series B investment with a $1.6B value

Over 90% of NFT trade volume on Solana is accounted for by Magic Eden.

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On Tuesday, Magic Eden, a popular nonfungible tokens (NFTs) platform on the Solana (SOL) blockchain with 112,927 SOL ($4 million) in 24-hour trading volume, announced that it had closed a Series B round for $130 million. The funding round was led by investors such as Electric Capital, Greylock, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Paradigm and Sequoia Capital valued the firm at $1.6 billion.

The newly-infused capital will be used to expand the company’s primary and secondary marketplaces, explore multi-chain opportunities, allow new hirings, and for use in research and development. Since its inception in September 2021, the marketplace now receives an average of 22 million unique monthly sessions and sees over 40,000 NFTs traded daily.

Magic Eden’s Launchpad has also onboarded over 250 projects to date. In addition, it offers customization, marketing support, and operational execution to new NFT collections coming onto the primary market. Meanwhile, its secondary market covers over 7,000 listings and sees over 92% of all NFT volume on Solana.

Furthermore, Magic Eden has also launched over 50 games and metaverse projects. In that segment, the firm oversees 90% of all gaming NFTs on Solana traded on its marketplace. Regarding the development, Zhuoxun Yin, chief operating office and co-founder of Magic Eden, commented:

“We’re thrilled to have the continued support of our investors and community and look forward to delivering on Solana and beyond.”

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