Financial services giant Visa has joined the non-fungible token (NFT) craze. The firm unveiled this news through a blog post on August 23, saying it bought CryptoPunk 7610, an NFT-based digital avatar, for $150,000 worth of ETH. Reportedly, the company teamed up with Anchorage Digital to complete this purchase.
In the blog post, Visa’s Head of Crypto, Cuy Sheffield, said the company decided to dabble in NFTs because it believes digital collectibles will play a significant role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment, and commerce. He added that purchasing CryptoPunk 7610 would help Visa understand the infrastructure requirements that a global brand needs to meet before it can purchase, store, and use an NFT. Through this, Sheffield believes Visa will be better poised to help its partners take part in the NFT industry.
Allegedly, this purchase is Visa’s way of supporting creators, collectors, and artists backing the future of NFT-based commerce. Per Sheffield, Visa’s mission is to enable buyers and sellers. As such, its entry into the NFT market is part of helping the burgeoning community grow to make NFTs usable in different circumstances.
Excited to expand its 60-year-old collection, Visa said,
“Over the last 60 years, Visa has built a collection of historic commerce artifacts – from early paper credit cards to the zip-zap machine. Today, as we enter a new era of NFT-commerce, Visa welcomes CryptoPunk #7610 to our collection.”
Mainstream companies continue warming up to NFTs
By purchasing CryptoPunk 7610, Visa has become the latest big company to enter the world of digital collectibles. Before Visa, Christies, a British auction house founded in 1766, facilitated the sale of Beeple’s EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS NFT, which sold for $69,346,250. Sotheby’s also orchestrated an NFT auction that saw it secure $17.1 million in June this year.
Prior to this, the Associated Press (AP) auctioned 10 NFTs to mark 175 years of iconic photojournalism. Among these NFTs was a digital recreation of Joe Rosenthal’s Pulitzer Award-winning photo of U.S. soldiers raising the American flag on Iwo Jima in 1945.
TIME Magazine also auctioned three NFTs based on its best covers since it launched in 1923. These are “Is God Dead?” a cover from April 8, 1966, “Is Truth Dead?” a cover from April 3, 2017, and “Is Fiat Dead?”, a cover for the 2021 March 29 to April 5 publication.
While the NFT market is expanding rapidly, skeptics have voiced concerns over how the industry works, seeing as the tokens represent a digital certificate of ownership. However, NFT owners do not have any right over the original underlying item. For instance, the buyer of Beeple’s EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS NFT only owns the unique token associated with the artwork. As such, they cannot distribute or commercialize the artwork.