Back in 2018, we speculated that NFTs (non-fungible tokens) would be the product category to take crypto mainstream. So far, we aren’t right, but are likely on our way to being correct.
There are well more than 100 million crypto wallets in the world. According to the Gemini 2021 State of Crypto report, there are about 21 million US adults who own crypto. The first major wave of crypto, the creation and purchase of cryptotoken assets, has created about $1.5 trillion of value for these >100 million people. In the second wave of crypto, those cryptoasset holders have “locked” more than $60 billion of those assets into DeFi (decentralized finance) contracts to borrow against them or gain yield, etc.
NFTs are the third wave of crypto, and thus far, more than $1 billion has been spent by more than one million people. Dapper Labs’ NBA TopShot has more than 1.2 million users, of which at least 500,000 have spent more than $600 million on the leading NFT collectibles. The table below tracks the larger collectible projects.
Beyond these wonderful collectibles, there is an emerging movement of NFT digital art from influencers, digital artists, brands and celebs, and these sales are equally as impressive. Sales estimates range from $500M — $1B so far.
As consumer appetite for NFTs increase, trusted marketplaces and partners must emerge to provide great consumer experiences, curate collections, cultivate communities and act as reliable partners to creators. Given our close connection to Dapper Labs (we led the Series A round and I sit on the board), the inventors of the NFT standard and the creators of the largest and most successful NFT ecosystem NBA TopShot, we have had a front row seat to the stunning growth of the NFT space. And from that, we are proud to announce our investment in the leading NFT Marketplace and Protocol, Rarible.
Like Dapper Labs, Rarible is passionate about bringing NFTs mainstream through stunning user experiences, the best UI in the space, and deep connections to and appreciation for the most authentic NFT creators. In the last year, they have grown 3000x to more than $150M in sales. In addition to their marketplace, they offer the open Rarible protocol, which allows for decentralized order books, downstream royalties built into the smart contracts, and easy minting of NFTs across different blockchains.
Unlike other NFT marketplaces, Rarible is a cryptonative marketplace utilizing the $RARI token as an incentive for continued community participation. They are committed to long term decentralization of their protocol, ultimately governed by the community itself through the Rarible DAO (decentralized autonomous organization). The founders, Alexei Falin and Alex Salnikov have deep and relevant experience in crypto, consumer services, marketplaces and most importantly, in the NFT community itself.
So far, the market is rewarding them for this great progress. Many of the world’s most important brands and authentic creators are choosing Rarible for their drops: Sean Lennon, Taco Bell, Mark Cuban, Lindsay Lohan, Ted Williams, Flosstradamus, MEGADETH and Floyd Mayweather are just a few examples. Their momentum continues with forthcoming drops from Prodigy frontman Maxim; rapper, songwriter and actor Ghostface; celebrity photographer Johnny Nunez; and painter Xeo Chu.
The team is also announcing a partnership with Dapper Labs and their Flow blockchain. Rarible will leverage Flow’s scalability and usability and launch as a primary and secondary marketplace on the platform, providing additional options for users to buy and sell NFTs. NFTs minted on Flow will also find a home on Rarible.
The Rarible team has assembled a fantastic investor syndicate to help massively accelerate the business. Joining us in this round are Dick Costolo and Adam Bain from 01 Advisors, CoinFund, Republic Labs, and Collab+Currency. We couldn’t be happier to be doubling down on the NFT space and are excited to work with this wonderful team.