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Translator: Midsummer Night, StampSoda Translation Agency: DAOSquare
What are the potential unicorn companies on the NFT track? (This is not a translation, it is a reference if the title is available in the domestic media)
Note: This article is not investment advice, and the views in the blog do not represent the views of Sfermion (providing incubation and investment for digital asset projects in the virtual world).
Due to the length of this article, this article is not suitable for reprinting by email. Jump to Substack (a popular article publishing platform for American political journalists) to read the full text.
Inspired by “”, I decided to create a “dream portfolio” for the NFT field. Note: Companies holding investment NFT assets are beyond the scope of this article. They belong to the business scope of such investment companies.
This article is intended to be an interesting discussion, everyone should not be too real. If your company is not mentioned, you have no intention of offending. There are too many NFT-related companies that I want to invest in myself, which leads to too long and I have to choose.
For the five companies mentioned in the article, I will explain the reasons for their high quality from the product level. The five companies are all in the “dream portfolio”, and the company’s performance will be evaluated again in the future.
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The content of this issue is sponsored. Async Art is a new blockchain art front where users can create, collect and trade programmable art. Programmable artwork is composed of different “layers”, which have different effects on the overall work. Works can evolve over time, such as reacting to collectors, changing stock prices or weather, and now using programmable art can be achieved.
Async Art will hold two important events this month. Micah Johnson’s work “ˈsä-v(ə-)rən-tē” (transliteration: sovereign) began to accept Bitcoin donations, and the money received will be donated directly to the children in the painting. In addition, Trevor Jones and Alotta Money’s joint title “ETH Boy” will be released soon.
Async Art URL:
Again, I remind the reader that this article is intended to be an interesting discussion, and don’t be too real.
To start with the topic, here are the reasons why 5 unicorn companies can rank among the top-tier:
OpenSea: Amazon or Facebook in the NFT industry in the future (when the ads are not flying all over the sky)
SuperRare: Show the ownership of works in the encrypted art world
Async Art: the ultimate high-end programmable art
NFTfi: Global NFT lending platform
Larva Labs: NFT product development by the talented technical experts Matt and John team (such as CryptoPunks)
It is difficult to express how optimistic about OpenSea. Whenever I think about the future of OpenSea, I actually only consider two things:
“Who will buy them?”
“How does this affect their public listing?”
It is safe to say that as long as OpenSea sticks to its current business, it will become the first “unicorn” (a company with a valuation of $1 billion) related to NFT.
So, what are their business areas? There are many, including:
Ranked No. 1 in NFT transaction volume
Aggregator of trading activity
A place to show off your NFT
NFT data source
Where to monitor other users’ wallets
Currently, I am writing an entire blog, which focuses on explaining why I am optimistic about OpenSea, which I will focus on here.
OpenSea was founded in December 2017 by Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah and is a supported peer-to-peer cryptocurrency market. Although this is an accurate description, the function of OpenSea is more than that. The function of the “” page is comparable to NFT’s CoinGecko: users can view the progress of all projects based on transaction volume, number of holders, average price, etc. OpenSea “” tab to view all types of new NFT projects. The “” page can be used as an information aggregator of transaction behavior in the ecosystem, and you can check who is buying what and how much in real time. The “” tag is probably the most important, users can create their own storefront: create their own NFT and sell it.
If OpenSea disappears tomorrow, the entire NFT ecosystem will be in complete turmoil. Most NFT projects host their NFT pictures and metadata on OpenSea (all projects except for fully on-chain projects, for example). In fact, most websites that display NFT-related data today extract data from OpenSea’s API. Many NFT projects transfer their “market” to OpenSea, so that developers can focus on product development and avoid the huge project of building the entire own market.
If it is not impressive enough to become one of the companies supported by Y Combinator, a startup incubator, OpenSea has raised funds from investors such as Founders Fund, 1confirmation, Coinbase Ventures, Blockchain Capital, etc.
How does OpenSea make money?
I often ask this simple question, especially in an era when a billion-dollar company may be completely unprofitable. OpenSea earns profits by charging 2.5% transaction fees on the NFT of the transaction. This is the lowest fee in the industry, because most platforms charge between 10% and 20%. Even if OpenSea decides to increase its fees to 3.5%, I don’t think this will have any impact on the platform.
OpenSea’s future work direction
This is difficult to predict, because OpenSea’s thinking about future development is far above me. Whenever I contact Devin or other team members to ask if they will release X features, he will send me a model of the exact feature being built. If I contact the team and tell them that some links are broken or the data is not showing, they will fix it within an hour. When Ben Nolan, the founder of Cryptovoxels, “destroyed” OpenSea, the system resumed normal operation within a few minutes. The OpenSea team has become a leader in the industry.
Features that OpenSea may add in the future
OpenSea can add a “wallet tracking” function so that users can monitor the activities of other users, which is something I often try to do. They can also add a private chat function, because many people, including myself, currently negotiate sales through Twitter. Add this function directly to the platform, the effect will be very amazing. Similarly, they can add the project chat room function so that the project party can directly manage their community on OpenSea instead of Discord. Adding these two features will turn OpenSea into a social platform and add tremendous value. Of course, becoming a social platform and trading market at the same time will encounter some new problems, but I think it is worth it. Finally, OpenSea can make improvements in historical data functions. For example, I can currently see how many wallets have a particular NFT, but I cannot see how that data has grown in days, weeks, or months.
To summarize why I am optimistic about OpenSea:
People in the NFT industry trade on OpenSea.
People use OpenSea to search for wallets.
OpenSea adds data functions, so it is very convenient to find the information needed by buyers and sellers.
The team has rich technical experience and the frequency of product updates is appalling.
If there is a technical problem with the product, no matter how big or small, the team will solve it immediately.
The market in which it is located can address the market scale, which is very large (NFT covers artworks, video game products, virtual worlds, domain names, collectibles, etc.).
OpenSea’s semi-decentralized infrastructure is available to people all over the world.
After adding private chat and project chat room functions, they will immediately become a social media platform.
If you use the digital currency industry to make an analogy to OpenSea, it is a collection of Coinbase (transactions), CoinGecko (data) and Etherscan/Twitter [social barometer (social barometer): users can check a user’s wallet to decide whether they should follow) 】All in one collection.
People on social media talking about a certain product or service that has changed their lives are actually sending you a clear signal that requires deeper observation.
SuperRare was founded by, and in April 2018. Many people equate NFT with encryption art, and because of this, SuperRare is in a very advantageous position. Now when many people who enter the NFT field see SuperRare, they may think that this platform has become famous overnight, but that is not the case. This team has been struggling for many years and achieved today’s results through unremitting efforts. The following SuperRare sales volume icon data can clearly illustrate what I said is true.
Through continuous efforts, SuperRare has become the first choice of top crypto artists and collectors.
Not everyone can join the SuperRare platform. Because the platform will specifically screen to ensure that they are all high-quality artists. When I first entered the NFT field, I thought the decision not to be open to everyone was bad, but now I don’t think so at all. I know that with development, there will eventually be a lot of NFTs, so management is necessary. Management can avoid selection and information overload.
SuperRare website is clean and concise, just like a gallery. All operations can be performed on the “Market” () page: users can see artwork, artists, prices, and all other information. The “Activity” () page provides users with real-time updates of the products sold on the platform.
There are also “Notifications” and “Profile” pages. The profile page unlocks the most powerful feature of NFTs-their social nature (I will give a link, but because it is a special page for users, you need to log in). This page has the number of “follows” and “followers”, which turns SuperRare into an art and social platform. By socializing the experience, the platform becomes more sticky.
One of my favorite parts about SuperRare is its “Top Collectors” () and “Top Artists” () pages. By viewing these two pages, users can quickly understand what is happening in the broader field of encryption art. If SuperRare wants to really dominate the field of encrypted art data, they can start to show the sales of other encrypted art platforms-but it is undeniable that this will cause some users to enter other platforms. Given SuperRare’s current dominance, there is no need to do this.
SuperRare has already made a seed round financing contract, but I don’t know how much money they raised before the seed. We assume that $250,000 has been raised. This means that their total funding is approximately $1.65 million.
How does SuperRare make money?
SuperRare charges a 15% commission on all primary sales, and then a 3% commission on secondary sales. These fees are slightly higher than other crypto art platforms, but because they are in a dominant position, SuperRare can do so. For comparison, here are the primary and secondary fees of other NFT platforms:
- Async Art: Level 1: 10%, Level 2: 1%
- MakersPlace: Level 1: 15%, Level 2: 2.5%
- KnownOrigin: Level 1: 15%, Level 2: 3%
SuperRare needs to be improved
I hope the search function of SuperRare is improved. If I enter the name of an artist, I should not jump to their profile, but can go directly to their work page. If their profile is the first search result that the user sees, then the following is their artwork.
I also hope that SuperRare will improve the bidding tool. Currently, there is no sales-related auction countdown timer, and it would be more convenient if there is one. I found that when I started the bidding wars, when I saw the timer count down, I tended to spend more money-because I knew another bidder was paying attention to it. The more money people spend, the better for SuperRare and their artists.
SuperRare can add functions
I think it would be better to add a direct message function. Because now users often send private messages to artists on Twitter to bargain over the selling prices of artworks listed on the platform. SuperRare can also get more involved in NFTs in the social field. I’m not sure what this looks like, but I think social behavior around NFT is very powerful. Of course, social interaction also brings other problems, such as conflicts and dramatic things when users participate, but I think these are all worthwhile.
Summarize the reasons why I am optimistic about SuperRare:
They have become the top platform for curating crypto art
Encryption art will develop into an incredibly big market, and SuperRare has positioned itself to be at the forefront of the market
This team has proven that they have great perseverance because they have worked hard for many years
People exclaimed on the Internet, “This product has changed my life!” This is a very rare and promising signal.
Asynchronous Art (usually called Async Art) is a programmable art platform released in February 2020 by, and. This art platform changes the rules of the market game by allowing artwork to undergo image transformation based on “layer changes”.
This means that a piece of art can react to the external environment. For example, if an artwork shows an image of a sailboat in the sun, you can connect the background layer NFT to another “state”, such as a stormy background. When it rains, the stormy background will be activated, so that the sailboat in the sun will turn into a sailboat during the storm. What I want to say is that Async Art brings the art of Harry Potter to life. In the movie “Harry Potter”, the painting speaks with the characters and reacts to the outside world. Now we have this Harry Potter type of artwork, which can create endless possibilities.
Async Art has also done a great job-telling the story of artists and their artworks through the “Featured” () page. Their latest feature delves into the story of artist Micah Johnson and even includes a short video. Although the video is only one minute long, it does teach us (collectors) the artist and his source of inspiration very well.
The Async Art platform is also one of the best platforms for close cooperation with artists and collectors. I don’t know any other platform like Async Art who strives to establish such a strong relationship with users. I believe this is due to the high-end nature of their artworks and the difficulty of creating programmable artworks. These programmable art works take longer to create than non-programmable works, because they are not created by a single functional area, but are composed of multiple programmable functional areas that can be changed according to different inputs or factors. Async Art publishes fewer works than other art platforms, because it takes longer to create programmable works than ordinary encrypted art. This is beneficial to them, because the content on Async Art is scarce, but there is also a problem-because the total number of art works is small, compared with other art platforms, Async Art naturally does not have that much “saleable” material”. Pay attention to SuperRare, and you can see many amazing new works of art every day, but on Async Art, I rarely see new works of art, which means we talk about less. This has some advantages for Async Art, because people like scarcity, but it also has some disadvantages, because people’s attention on the Internet lasts for a short time, and people always want more content.
How does Async Art make money?
A 10% fee is charged for primary sales and a 1% fee for secondary sales. These fees are the lowest in the field of encryption art. Similarly, the following is a comparison of the primary and secondary costs of other NFT platforms:
- SuperRare: Level 1: 15%, Level 2: 3%
- MakersPlace: Level 1: 15%, Level 2: 2.5%
- KnownOrigin: Level 1: 15%, Level 2: 3%
I hope these expenses will go down in the future. Unless one of the platforms has established a very strong network effect, so large that they can decide their own costs without considering their competitors.
Async Art needs improvement
The layout of the Async Art website is a bit messy. I find it difficult to find specific artists or works of art. The bidding tools on Async Art are also a bit lacking, so users will count down their auctions on Twitter. Async Art seems to focus on building amazing tools for artists, but they must ensure that their user experience is top-notch so that they can match such great tools.
Async Art can add new features
I hope there is a better search function to search for artists and works of art. I have always been committed to promoting NFT from a social perspective, so I also hope to have a direct messaging function, so that artists and collectors can talk directly. Currently, communication is only possible through Twitter, Discord, email, etc., so it would be nice if they could notice this.
Summarize why I am optimistic about Async Art:
- They completely changed the crypto art market through programmable art
- They are very good at building lasting relationships with artists and collectors
- Async Art is regarded as an “ultra-high-end” art platform, which has an absolute advantage in the global art market
Of course, the Async Art team is very good. I know Conlan and Nathan very well, although I don’t know Lisa-but I have heard some legends about her.
Related interests: I am an investor in NFTfi.
I’m not sure if anyone reading this article has experienced this problem, but I am constantly being disqualified from mortgage loans because most of my net assets are in encrypted state. Lenders (at least in the US) do not accept cryptocurrencies as physical assets. With the introduction of NFTfi, this problem will no longer exist!
NFTfi is a NFT mortgage market since it was launched in June 2020. This product immediately enabled millions of NFTs passively placed in their wallets to have another important use.
It is difficult to imagine the potential market for platforms like NFTfi. In the real world, it is difficult for people to obtain loans with commodities as collateral. Using a house as a mortgage may be the most common and easiest method, but in order to obtain a loan, there are still piles of paperwork to do. Another common commodity often used as loan collateral is expensive art. This usually applies to ultra-high net worth individuals, so they are not as common as home mortgages, but they are indeed other commodities that people use as collateral for loans. What if we can apply for a loan with a variety of goods, such as computers, computer desks or kitchen appliances? NFTfi opened up the loan market, allowing people to use any NFT as collateral. Imagine that people use something as big as a house as small as a kitchen refrigerator as mortgage collateral. What paperwork and difficult approvals are still needed? This loan market is completely open to everyone, and participants can decide whether they are willing to take loans with certain commodities as collateral.
Another reason I like NFTfi is its simplicity. The user enters the website and clicks “Lend” or “Borrow” according to the instructions. The platform is very intuitive. When users click on NFT under the “Lend” option, they can enter the loan amount, repayment amount, and loan term. Once you enter the parameters and submit a quote, the other party will be notified and can accept these terms or simply ignore them. This ultra-simple loan process opens the door for users of all skill levels to participate in the platform.
Since NFTfi was launched in June, their loan volume has been growing rapidly.
I expect 2021 will be a huge year for NFTfi, and predict their total cumulative loan value will reach tens of millions of dollars.
I expect that 2021 will be a very important year for NFTfi, and it is expected that its cumulative loan amount will reach tens of millions of dollars.
How does NFTfi make money
NFTfi makes money by charging 5% loan interest, which I think is very fair to market participants. It removes the barriers for anyone to borrow, because they only pay specific interest, no hidden fees, and the 5% fee is low enough to not have a huge impact on the lender.
NFTfi needs to be improved
NFTfi has implemented its core business well, namely NFT secured loans. This technology is feasible and there are many users. The only thing that needs attention now is how to bring more users to this platform. They need more assets that can be used as loan collateral, and they need more users who have spare cryptocurrency and want passive income. The main problem preventing those wealthy cryptocurrency holders from lending more now is that they should be made aware of the value of different NFTs. If you are a newbie in the NFT field, it is difficult to provide users with suitable loans, because it is difficult to find “appropriate market value”.
What NFTfi can add
I want to see basic statistics related to my own account, such as profit and loss, number of loans, total loans, total loans, etc. This information can not only help users better keep records, but over time, other platforms may use this data, and this information will become more valuable. Once the platform has more users and data, NFTfi will be able to provide credit ratings to wallets, and users can better decide who to lend if they know which borrowers have repaid all loans.
To sum up, why I am optimistic about NFTfi:
- Allow users to obtain loans through NFT
- Allow users to earn income by lending cryptocurrency
- Take advantage of the huge potential market size (NFTs = everything, so NFTfi is a loan platform where everything can be mortgaged)
- Platform design is simple and easy to understand
- The market is open and users can choose how many loans they want to provide
- The fee is very low, encouraging users to become active
- Of course, the founder Stephen is very smart and talented
I know what you are thinking about seeing the fit of this subtitle: “Larva Labs is not a start-up company, it is a software development studio!” You are right. As far as I know, they don’t want and don’t need to raise funds for the projects they are developing, but if they want to raise funds, I will really ask them to accept my money.
Larva Labs are two geniuses-and founded in 2005, dedicated to the development of all types of software. To understand how diverse their skills are, take a look at theirs. The various projects they have developed are listed above:
- Large-scale network infrastructure
- Genomics analysis software
- 8-bit role-playing game
- Blockchain art project
- Largest open source legal document library
- Endless driving game
- Android application AppChat
- Two different versions of the new Android home screen experience
- Motion tracking stage
- Google app androidfy
To say that the two of them are brilliant is the most conservative statement-they are so genius. So, what do they have to do with the NFT ecosystem? They created the first NFT on Ethereum called CryptoPunks. Then they created another famous and very valuable NFT project called Autoglyphs.
When Matt and John first created CryptoPunks, NFT was not even a finished thing. ERC721-the standard that makes it easy for people to create NFTs-has not yet appeared. Previous NFT projects were built on the Bitcoin blockchain used. This previous NFT was limited to a meme picture called Rare Pepes. Counterparty and Rare Pepes did not gain popularity and were rarely used later. Fortunately, Matt and John continued their efforts and launched CryptoPunks in June 2017.
It is a series of 10,000 unique pixelated characters on Ethereum. Each CryptoPunk is completely unique and contains a variety of rare features. This project has achieved great success, and CryptoPunks is now a very popular collectible. In April 2019, Matt and John started their other NFT project-Autoglyphs. It is the first derivative art on the Ethereum chain and a highly sought after collection.
Larva Labs needs improvement
Matt and John don’t really need to improve anything. The products they create are more like works of art than software with specific functions.
Features that Larva Labs can add
Their existing products and corresponding web pages are great. The only thing Larva Labs needs to add is to announce the next NFT project.
To summarize why I am optimistic about Larva Labs:
- Matt and John are extremely smart
- They have an amazing record of success (Ethereum’s first NFT project and two overall successful NFT projects)
- No matter what they create, it is well thought out
- The projects they start do not require large teams or extensive maintenance, because their projects are more like “art” in nature (rather than a game or virtual world platform that requires constant updates).
The above is my awesome NFT venture portfolio. I will read this blog again in a year or two to review how the startups and studios on this list are developing.
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