Gary Vaynerchuk, the entrepreneur and social media marketing thinkfluencer better known as Gary Vee, launched an NFT (non-fungible token) series on Tuesday evening via OpenSea.
The “VeeFriends” series includes 10,200 NFTs of characters hand-drawn by Vaynerchuk, animal doodles with alliterative names like “Curious Crane,” “Logical Lion,” and “Hot Shit Hornet.” If that sounds silly, the price might make you think twice: In two days, VeeFriends NFTs have raised $23 million worth of Ethereum (ETH).
But Vaynerchuk, in an extensive interview with Decrypt, says his goal is much bigger than a short-term play. He aims to turn VeeFriends into a full-fledged character franchise in the vein of Hello Kitty, Scooby-Doo, The Smurfs, and Despicable Me, with toys, children’s books, an animated series, and more.
The NFT boom “reminds me so much, because I was there, of internet startup life ’99,” Vaynerchuk told Decrypt. “There’s such an opportunity for a land grab, cash grab. And you have seen people with large audiences come out and commission a digital artist and put their name on it, and have extracted a lot of dollars from their fan base. The concern I have there is, it’s a nice short-term transaction, if that’s what your goal is, but I think if you leave a fan base holding the bag, that can’t work out in the long term… For me, success [with NFTs] is only if I’m able to execute over the next several decades to build a truly meaningful— I’m shooting for like, Scooby Doo, Smurfs, that’s big big. And I really think I can.”
That’s a rather ambitious goal for a series of doodles. (And Vaynerchuk says NFT artists have told him, “That’s not art, Gary, you’re just trying to trade on your fame.”) But Vaynerchuk has a long string of business successes that often get lost amid discussion of his social media “hustle porn” persona. (He is the author of many books with titles like Crush It! Why Now Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion.)
Vaynerchuk started in business by turning his father’s physical wine store in New Jersey into a booming e-commerce business, WineLibrary.com. He built VaynerMedia, his digital marketing agency, to 1,500 employees and more than $100 million in revenue. He co-founded restaurant reservation app Resy and sold it to American Express in 2019, and co-founded Empathy Wines and sold it to Constellation Brands in 2020. “I have a very loud personality, that comes with everything I do,” he says. “I’m the least naive to what the narrative is. As a matter of fact, I’ve had a really nice business career, where things like Empathy and Resy are just not even conversated about.”
But Vaynerchuk frames the NFT series as a culmination of his biggest passions: collecting, pop culture, and inspirational content. Each VeeFriends NFT is also tied to a three-year ticket to VeeCon, an in-person business conference Vaynerchuk is planning and describes as “a mix of Davos and South By Southwest, a little of pop culture… a little of summer camp.”
Tying NFTs to physical goods has become a popular sweetener in the celebrity NFT world; bands have added concert tickets to NFT versions of their albums, and athletes have offered goodies like autographed sneakers. For Vaynerchuk, it’s an “opportunity to show that NFTs have smart contracts underneath them.”
He wanted to highlight the tech, he says: “I think everyone’s forgotten that with the Beeple craze and with the Top Shot craze, and we’ve become very art and collectible [focused]… If Novak Djokovic follows this model, instead of somebody just making a painting of him, and I can buy a token that gives me a hitting session with him, or if I can go into studio with The Weeknd, you know, I kind of thought of it from that perspective.”
His excitement about smart contracts is also why Vaynerchuk didn’t want to accept U.S. dollars for his NFTs (like on NBA Top Shot, a move that has helped that platform attract mainstream users who might be turned off by crypto). But he says he’s “empathetic” to anyone intimidated by the technical steps of purchasing ETH and then using it to purchase an NFT.
“The first time I bought something with a MetaMask in my Chrome browser, and it had that 30-second delay, I was scared shitless,” Vaynerchuk says. “And that was five months ago. I genuinely believe two things will happen: people will get more comfortable, and… in 24 months, the technology and the Web 3.0 gang will make it better, and the audience will get there sooner, and they’re going to meet somewhere in the middle.”
Vaynerchuk is also well aware of the mainstream concerns of the environmental impact of NFTs due to Ethereum’s current proof-of-work mining, which involves a large network of energy-guzzling computers solving complex mathematical problems to keep the blockchain humming along.
“I’m a sports card collector,” he says. “That’s a lot of cardboard, a lot of plastic, a lot of shipping, a lot of FedEx, a lot of UPS. My intuition is, over time, [crypto] should be a winner compared to all the plastic and paper and fuel that’s used to schlep around physical goods. Obviously, ETH has clearly made a stake in the ground, and then, I don’t have to explain to this audience, there’s incredible amounts of blockchains standing up that are dramatically less reliant on proof of work, including ETH itself.”
Even though Vaynerchuk is bullish on the future of NFTs, he also happily predicts: “Ninety-eight percent of the projects that are coming out in NFT form right now are not going to be good investments. Ninety-eight. Comma, I think the NFT macro technology is one of the most significant things to happen in the last 25 years at the consumer behavior level. I don’t think people realize we have an entire generation of under-18-year-olds who are so matter of fact on NFTs because of Roblox, because of skins on Fortnite, they don’t even think twice.”
CoinFlip Installs Its First Three Bitcoin ATMs in Alaska
The company aims to install four more ATMs in the state by the end of the summer.
CoinFlip, a leading Bitcoin ATM provider, announced that it had expanded its operations to Alaska, United States, by deploying three Bitcoin ATMs on Thursday. According to the company, it has also planned to install three additional Bitcoin ATMs by the end of this year’s summer in the state.
With the new machines installed in Anchorage, users will not only be able to buy Bitcoins (BTC) but Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum (ETH), and six other cryptocurrencies with 24/7 customer support. The locations are Anchorage Wine House at Minnesota, Anchorage Wine House at Huffman, and Anchorage Wine House at Jewel Lake. With the installation of the ATMs in Alaska, CoinFlip now has over 2,500 machines installed in 47 of the 50 states in the US.
About the announcement, Ben Weiss, CoinFlip CEO, commented: “We’re excited to bring CoinFlip ATMs to Alaska this month. It has been our mission to help build financial wealth through inclusive financial systems so that anyone interested in investing can participate. We look forward to connecting Alaskans with our award-winning customer service to make Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies more accessible to the local community.”
Other Companies Installing Bitcoin ATMs in the US
Another company joined the bandwagon of deploying Bitcoin ATMs in more US states. Finance Magnates reported in April that Coinme expanded operations in the state of Florida with the installation of more than 300 Bitcoin-enabled Coinstar kiosks.
Get Paid to Learn about Cryptocurrency TradingGo to article >>
The Bitcoin cash machines have been strategically installed inside grocery chains like Winn Dixie, Fresco y Mas, and Harveys across small towns and big cities. The company aimed to bring Bitcoin purchasing facilities to the local groceries of the Florida residents.
Coinme is one of the major Bitcoin ATM operators in the United States, with around 6,000 Coinstar kiosks installed in supermarkets across 45 states.
According to CoinATMRadar metrics, United States has 18,936 Bitcoin ATMs, becoming the leader globally, followed by Canada with 1,526, and the United Kingdom with 196.
What is Phemex’s all-new Learn and Earn program?
A decade ago, Bitcoin was merely a philosophical research paper for a new type of digital currency. Today, there is no major technology or financial publication or news portal with no cryptocurrency stories or blockchain news.
From being ridiculed as magic internet money backed by thin air to narratives of the wild west, nerdy money, get-rich-quick schemes, and gaining mainstream consciousness as we settle into 2021, the crypto industry has indeed seen it all.
Since Bitcoin’s inception over ten years ago, things have changed considerably. Industries across the world have embraced its underlying blockchain technology. Its main characteristics include decentralization, transparency, immutability, and automation that has the potential to create a multitude of use cases and replace legacy frameworks.
The digital asset industry has not been that lucky. The narrative of “Blockchain, not Bitcoin,” is still very much prevalent in several regions. Countries struggling with political instability and hyperinflation, such as Venezuela, and Argentina have witnessed a formidable interest in cryptocurrencies. The sentiment resembled the nations that have a massive unbanked local population.
Today, the great dream of cryptocurrency is still very much alive despite all its struggles. The cryptocurrency industry has not only unlocked access to financial services for users around the globe it has also opened avenues for new applications. The remittance, for one, can be a nightmare for many living in developing countries. Crypto and blockchain technology aims to settle transactions instantly with significantly lower or even negligible fees.
The main objective behind asset-backed tokens, on the other hand, is to grant ownership to assets like real estate and precious metals. In addition, stablecoins have their own use cases and have seen unprecedented growth because they trade uniformly with fiat. The list does not end there.
While pessimism has dwindled, there is still plenty of skepticism around the entire asset class.
What’s impeding crypto adoption?
There are numerous reasons for the hindrance. But one that stands out is the lack of education. It is a daunting issue that plagues the cryptocurrency industry even today, in this day and age when everything is just one click away. Many people don’t understand the industry. It is as simple as that.
The digital asset realm is a complex one. While there are plenty of resources to fall back on, there need to be better and more accessible vehicles, one that is perfectly curated for the newbies – simple and easy-to-follow lessons on everything crypto and blockchain. And what’s better than earning a reward for learning this groundbreaking technology? Seems far-fetched? Not anymore. Pemex’s newly launched program dubbed ‘Learn and Earn’ aims to do just that.
Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Phemex is one of the most prominent platforms in the world. Just two years since it was first launched, Phemex has already emerged as one of the most trustworthy exchanges in the industry. Its user base exploded quickly to over a million traders, thanks to user-friendly platforms and unique offerings.
It has recently rolled out an all-new educational program called “Learn and Earn,” which aims to provide users with simplified concepts on different cryptocurrency and blockchain-related concepts. This program includes an in-depth course structure coupled with intuitive lessons and interactive videos that offer a unique and fun learning process. But it does not end there.
Phemex plans to reward its users via Learn and Earn after the completion of each lesson. How? Users will have to take a short quiz to test their knowledge, and if all the answers are correct, they will be incentivized.
It is one of the most beginner-friendly and fun ways to learn more about the new financial world. Learn and Earn is put together into a few fundamental courses, each comprising its own set of sub-lessons. These cover introductory passages, explainer videos, and a final quiz for users to test their knowledge. Upon answering all questions correctly, Phemex offers a reward in the form of trading bonuses and cryptocurrencies.
Lean and Earn’s first set of courses proceed with the platform’s essential features. This program encompasses some core concepts about the workings of cryptocurrencies and the process of buying, trading, and selling them on an exchange. Rewards will be in the form of trading bonuses that participants can use with perpetual contracts on Phemex to exercise their proficiency on the subject matter.
In the days to come, Phemex also plans to broaden its course material and reward users directly in cryptocurrency assets. However, in order to receive rewards, the users are required to complete KYC protocols. As of now, the program is not widely available, but the team behind the project is working on expanding the Lean and Earn initiative on a global scale.
In short, Learn And Earn aims to cater to mainly the beginner but is also available for experienced crypto enthusiasts who seek to know more about the industry and how to trade digital assets seamlessly. This program is essentially for everyone who wants clarity and eventually wants to foray into the trading space of cryptocurrencies but does not know where to begin. It is open to anyone who wants to build a passive income stream by just learning about cryptocurrencies.
Incentivising users for learning about the technology, what a great way to spur adoption as well as trading activity! This will help more and more individuals dispel myths and filter out FUDs and FOMOs that are often endorsed by the critics and the flag bearers of centralized financial infrastructure.
Ethereum to $20,000? Factors Behind The Bold Call
Ethereum could reach $20,000 by 2025 according to a Finder’s panel.
Ethereum has since been gaining momentum, starting out at $1,000 at the beginning of the year and reaching an all time high of $4,196.63, according to Coin Metrics. Before losing steam and dropping down to its current price at $2,400. Clocking an average growth rate of 197.4% in 2021.
This massive run has given the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin a lot of popularity. Ethereum currently ranks as the second most popular » Read more
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Related Reading | Billionaire Tim Draper: Bitcoin Will Reach $250,000 By The End Of 2022
With so much support pouring out for the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin, investors in the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin have been very bullish on it. Lots of analysts believe that Ethereum is poised to overtake Bitcoin as the most popular » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin in the market. So much technological advancements are being carried out on the blockchain that its use cases seem to be endless.
Impact Of DeFi and NFTs
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About 70 percent of the panel agreed that with DeFi and NFTs, Ethereum now has more use cases than Bitcoin.
John Hawkins, senior lecturer at the University of Canberra, went against the grain to say more use cases would not necessarily benefit the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin. He expanded on this by saying that Ethereum will most likely get dragged down with Bitcoin. Despite having more use cases.
Ethereum price sits below $2,5000 | Source: ETHUSD on TradingView.com
With staking and yield farming with DeFi, investors have found another way to put their investments to work, while at the same time benefiting the network.
With Ethereum 2.0 on the horizon, developers are looking to replace the existing Ethereum blockchain with a new one. This will help to solve the current bottlenecks of the network. It will also increase the number of transactions being made on the network. Hopefully helping to reduce the exorbitant fees being charged for transactions when network traffic is high.
Ethereum Predictions By Finder’s Panelists
The Finder’s panel consisted of a number of prominent panelists. Present were Dr. Iwa Salami from the University of East London. COO of BitBull Capital, Sarah Bergstrand. Vishal Shah, CEO of Alpha5. Head Economist at ConsenSys, Lex Sokolin. Amongst others.
A good number of the panel seemed to agree that while the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin might not have much further to run this year, the next four years is going to see a massive run.
CEO Vishal Shah was on the more conservative side. He predicted that the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin would not be worth much more than it is now. Putting it at just $4,000 by 2025. Shah believes that Ethereum will continue to perform. But that the unlimited supply of the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin is a demerit to it. He also added that Ethereum was in a race with other protocols for the its usability profile. And that there are other faster and cheaper chains that will rival the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin in the future.
Related Reading | TA: Ethereum Price Holds Strong, Why Dips Remain Limited Below $1,850
Others did not see this as a befitting forecast. Citing the upgrades being done on the network, Sarah Bergstrand, Chief Operations Officer at BitBull, gave a price prediction of $100,000 per ETH by the end of 2025. A staggering forecast.
She believes that mass adoption of Bitcoin will be followed by mass adoption of Ethereum. Also that the upgrades being carried out on the network will help to push the price higher.
Dr. Paul Ennis put his prediction at $10,000 by the end of 2025. Stating that Ethereum is currently undervalued.
Dr. Salami went on to give the » Read more
” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin a $20,000 forecast by 2025.
This brought the average of the panel’s predictions to $19,842 per ETH by 2025.
Featured image from Blockchain News, chart from TradingView.com