By purchasing its first CryptoPunk for $165,000, VISA was entering the crypto community through the front door. Now, the financial giant wants to help creators and small businesses learn about NFTs and cryptos. Famed NFT artist Micah Johnson will help the financial services giant with an education program on the potential of digital collectibles.
VISA wants to take advantage of the network effect
Payments giant VISA is predicting a bright future for NFTs and has decided to fully embrace its crypto-friendly image. As it continues to make a splash in the NFT ecosystem, the financial services giant wants to bring NFTs to an even wider audience of creators, thanks to a newly launched initiative.
That’s because VISA has launched an NFT-focused program in partnership with renowned crypto artist Micah Johnson. He is the creator of the NFT character Aku, from Aku World. Together, VISA and Johnson aim to help creators and small business owners better understand how NFTs work and how they can use blockchain networks and cryptos to create and sell digital works.
VISA recently gave its 3 predictions for Bitcoin (BTC) and the industry. Now, the company is issuing an open call for creators who want to participate in the initiative. The company will sponsor a select group of creators, with the goal of “seeking to foster meaningful relationships” between participating creators and VISA’s payment partners.
In a full thread, Cuy Sheffield, Visa’s vice president and head of Crypto, tells us a bit more:
“I am incredibly excited that Visa News is partnering with Micah Johnson to create a new program focused on how we can help creators leverage NFTs to participate in digital commerce.”Cuy Sheffield
“We believe we are at the beginning of a digital renaissance in the world of art and content creation – a thriving ecosystem of artists, musicians, writers, photographers and curators creating communities at the intersection of culture and commerce. (…) New emerging technologies in the crypto ecosystem, like NFTs, have the potential to lower the barrier to entry for digital creators around the world to create their own small businesses.”Cuy Sheffield
Building worlds around dreams
Johnson launched his character Aku earlier this year in a series of NFT artworks. This follows the fantastical adventures of a young black boy who dreams of exploring space. Aku was selected for possible film and television adaptations in April as part of a partnership between Anonymous Content and Permanent Content. This makes him the first crypto-native character to be licensed for use in other entertainment formats.
In August, the artwork of an Aku NFT was sent to a server on the International Space Station, where it orbited the Earth before being transferred home for eventual auction.
“When I retired from baseball in 2018, I was terrified. I had no place to sell my work and no work experience. (…) The NFT community opened my arms and showed me what was possible, and that love is something that will always stay with me. Alongside VISA, I aim to pass that same love and guidance on to the next wave of designers and be a candle that lights another candle.”Micah Johnson
VISA’s purchase of a CryptoPunk on August 23 reportedly galvanized an already vibrant NFT market, setting an all-time record for CryptoPunks trading volume on a single day, while raising the price floor for the popular NFT collection.
Prior to the VISA purchase announcement, some of the Ethereum (ETH)-based CryptoPunks were selling for less than $170,000 in ETH. Today, the floor price starts at around $370,000.
By taking an independent and modern stance on its view of cryptocurrencies, VISA is scoring points in our world. The company is outlining opportunities and building relationships with players in the ecosystem. Most recently, VISA was offering experimental protocols on Ethereum with a clear desire: to become the number one banking player, including a well-crafted interoperability project.