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With new partnerships, Mastercard is pushing deeper into non-financial transactions (NFTs)

Mastercard joins together with a number of important partners to enable NFT purchases without the need for crypto.

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Following its January cooperation with Coinbase, which allows users to buy NFTs through the crypto exchange’s new marketplace, Mastercard is now attempting to bridge the gap between creators and customers by eliminating the necessity for purchasers to hold crypto in order to purchase the latest NFT.

Immutable X, Candy Digital, The Sandbox, Nifty Gateway, MoonPay, and Mintable are among the payment processor’s most recent partnerships.

According to a recent survey of over 35,000 people performed by Mastercard, 59 percent of consumers would be more confident in bitcoin if it was backed by a credible brand. This project comes after a year of research and development to figure out how to connect Mastercard’s 2.9 billion clients to the $25 billion NFT market.

In September 2021, Mastercard launched its first NFT, which was given to a U.K. Mastercard client as part of a sweepstakes competition and was inspired by the famed football coach and worldwide ambassador Jose Mourinho.

Mastercard filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in April, indicating its plan to provide financial services and virtual places in the metaverse for its clients.

Web3 welcomes Visa and American Express.
Visa joined Web3 last year after paying $150,000 for a CryptoPunk. The Visa Creator Program, which debuted in May, is aimed at fashion, music, art, and film entrepreneurs who want to use NFTs to help build their enterprises.

American Express has also submitted seven patent applications to build a metaverse presence by allowing payments on the NFT marketplace, generating branded virtual cards, and providing concierge services.

Making it simple to obtain NFTs
Users got a taste of Mastercard’s latest push into NFTs when the payments company partnered with Coinbase in January to allow customers to buy NFTs with their Mastercard even if they didn’t have any cryptocurrency.

“Today, if you want to buy an NFT—for example, a piece of digital art—you must first open a crypto wallet, buy crypto, and then use it to buy an NFT in an online marketplace.” We believe it should be a lot simpler. In a blog post, Mastercard’s head of digital asset and blockchain partnerships Raj Dhamodharan stated, “This will ensure NFTs can be for everyone.”

While Mastercard’s goal is to make it possible to buy NFTs without using crypto, clients will still require a crypto wallet to keep their NFTs.

Last year, Mastercard teamed with Bakkt, a crypto asset custody, and trading platform, to allow Bakkt Mastercard holders to instantly receive crypto incentives when they use their cards at selected retailers.

ART & COLLECTABLES

NHL Opens Hockey Collectibles NFT Marketplace

The NHL, along with its Alumni Association and Players’ Association, said on Thursday that it has joined with NFT platform Sweet to build a distinctive NFT marketplace and libraries of NFTs—individual blockchain tokens that denote ownership.

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The NHL’s market will fall between a full-fledged NFT trading platform and a website that enables momentary NFT drops, according to David Lehanski, the league’s executive vice president of business development and innovation.

By creating an NFT marketplace with exclusive releases, the NHL hopes to give fans a little bit of both. In preparation for the commencement of the 2022–2023 season, the NHL’s Sweet marketplace is anticipated to launch in October.

The NHL aims to gamify NFTs with “questing and collecting” components so that fans will interact and can be rewarded with benefits like other NFTs, according to Lehanski, who spoke to Decrypt.

Depending on a player’s performance, some of the NFTs will also be dynamic and alter over time. According to a statement, NFTs will also include “cinematic game highlights from past and present NHL seasons” or surprise packs of NFTs that may be seen in “3D interactive trophy rooms.”

Lehanski claimed that the NHL wasn’t yet ready to reveal which blockchain it would be constructing on. Though it might be on Polygon or Tezos if Sweet’s offerings are any indicator.

Lehanski stated, “We’re looking at everything,” and that the NHL’s top priorities in its search for a blockchain include “cheap gas expenses” and “environmental sustainability.”

The NHL is one of the most recent major professional sports leagues to enter the NFT market, following the NBA’s Top Shot NFTs, the NFL’s “play and own” NFT game, and MLB’s impending NFT contest.

Lehanski commented on the NHL’s approach to NFTs, saying, “There was clearly a lot of temptation to potentially moving very rapidly […] but we thought that was a little shortsighted.” He added that, in his opinion, spending the time to investigate indicators like fan behavior was worthwhile. Especially in relation to digital collectibles and gaming, NFTs have a long-term future as relevant and meaningful items for enthusiasts.

But according to Sweet CEO Tom Mizzone, the NHL’s NFTs won’t simply be targeted at hockey fans who are unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies; seasoned NFT collectors will also be able to participate in a way that feels natural to them.

It will undoubtedly appeal to that degen culture, he continued, but not to the extent that it excludes fancier consumer bases.

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NFT

MoonPay has officially launched HyperMint, a utility NFT minting service

MoonPay, a cryptocurrency payments company, announced Tuesday the debut of HyperMint, a new service that allows businesses to mint up to 100 million non-fungible tokens (NFTs) at once.

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Creators and companies can use the new service to attach photos, music, video, and other metadata to a token on their own platform.

MoonPay had been expanding its service since April, according to The Block. Its official debut is another step in the company’s strategy to build a full suite for businesses looking to release their own digital assets, which it previously referred to as “Amazon Web Services for NFTs.”

“Why take your intellectual property and list it on a secondary platform first, whether you’re Dolce & Gabbana, Selfridges, or Death Row Records?” In an interview with The Block, MoonPay CEO Ivan Soto-Wright said, “You might want to oversee that issuance yourself.”

Fox Corporation, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Universal Pictures, Death Row Records, the United Kingdom-based luxury store Selfridges, lifestyle and gaming platform FaZe Clan, and music artist Timbaland’s Beatclub are among the companies that have already signed up.

Proof of attendance tokens, for capturing how many individuals attended an event, is one possible use case, according to Soto-Wright.

These digital assets would be utility tokens, as opposed to security tokens, according to MoonPay. Security tokens must be registered with regulatory organizations such the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States.

MoonPay’s product portfolio already includes a fiat onramp infrastructure that allows people to buy NFTs using a debit or credit card, as well as a concierge service that educates high-net-worth individuals about cryptocurrency. MoonPay has also been rumored to be working on its own wallet in the future.

The introduction of HyperMint comes at a time when many of the most popular NFT projects have seen significant price declines due to the crypto bear market.

Because of their use cases, Soto-Wright believes NFTs will become shielded from broader market situations.

“I believe NFTs will be unpaired [because to crypto market conditions].” But I believe that will be unpaired in part due to the innovation that will accompany this asset class – you’ll see a slew of various NFTs that aren’t solely focused on the price movement of these assets.”

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Crypto and NFT-related accounts are prohibited on WeChat in China

Secondary NFT trading is also included by the policy, as the firm adds that “accounts that provide services or material connected to the secondary transaction of digital collections shall be dealt with.”

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WeChat, China’s most popular social media platform, has revised its policy to prohibit accounts from providing access to crypto or nonfungible token (NFT)-related services.

Accounts involved in the issue, trading, and financing of crypto and NFTs will be restricted or prohibited under the new standards and will fall under the “illegal business” category.

The corporation notes that “accounts that supply services or material relevant to the secondary transaction of digital collections will likewise be handled in accordance with this rule.”

On Monday, Hong Kong-based crypto news writer Wu Blockchain (Colin Wu) noted the move, pointing out the significance of the move given WeChat’s 1.1 billion daily users in China.

“Once such breaches are identified, the WeChat public platform will depending on the severity of the violations, instruct the violating official accounts to rectify within a time limit and restrict some features of the account until the permanent account is banned,” according to the new policy.

Between May and September of last year, the Chinese government implemented a phased ban on the local crypto sector. Given the time of the most recent WeChat policy amendment, it’s possible that the platform has been allowing some crypto activity to go undiscovered since then.

Furthermore, because the assets can be purchased in fiat, there is still a regulatory gray area in the country when it comes to NFTs. Nonetheless, to prevent potential regulatory difficulties related to the financialization of technology, most organizations and platforms prohibit secondary trading.

In April, the China Banking Association, the China Internet Finance Association, and the Securities Association of China issued a joint statement warning the public about the “hidden hazards” of investing in the assets.

Since March, popular platforms such as WeChat and the Ant group-owned WhaleTalk have been distanced from the technology, purportedly eliminating or banning NFT services from their networks due to a lack of regulatory clarity and fear of a Beijing crackdown.

Despite this, a local media report published on Thursday highlighted data revealing that the number of digital collectable platforms in China has increased by fivefold since February 2022, to over 500.

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