Even into the last days of 2021, NFT activity was all abuzz – from Ferrari's first NFT partnership to Kraken's update on its planned marketplace. Not surprising, we saw the debut of the prince of darkness' NFT collection. Elsewhere, Solana's most dominant wallet, Phantom, which has grown to have over 1.8 million users, faced backlash from the user community over its pricey early access invites for its scheduled iOS app release. The wallet's NFT plans became ‘botched' in an affair that saw it change its initial course.
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Phantom bins planned iOS NFT Launch following community pushback
Last Tuesday, Solana blockchain's Phantom wallet had to cancel the planned launch of an NFT sale for its iOS app beta launch. The team behind Phantom had initially set plans to avail beta access invites to the release for customers who would purchase NFTs that were to be dropped in collaboration with marketplace Magic Eden.
The idea was to auction off 7,000 NFTs via a sale set at a starting bidding price of 8 SOL, with the amount decreasing by 0.25 SOL every ten minutes. The price decline would go on until the NFTs sold out or reached a reserve price that had been set at 0.5 SOL. However, the proposed model did not sit well with most within the community, as users felt the costly early access passes had priced them out.
Protestations began from within, and by afternoon, Phantom had to change its entire approach to giving out the beta invites. The closed-source crypto wallet team announced it would instead be giving out free invites to users. It also clarified that it did not intend to profit from the initial plan and that the auction was to help the community determine “a fair price for the invite.”
Phantom pledged a donation worth $200,000 in SOL to the non-profit organization Girls Who Code, falling in line with the initial plan to channel the proceeds collected from the sale of invites to the said organization.
Ferrari links up with Swiss Blockchain Startup Velas for an NFT endeavor
Scuderia Ferrari, the racing division of luxury car manufacturer Ferrari has reached an agreement with Swiss blockchain developer Velas Network AG to see the car company skid into the NFT universe. With this collaboration, the Italian car manufacturer brings the expensive dream of ‘owning' a Ferrari much closer to many fans.
Ferrari announced the partnership last Monday, detailing that the multi-year arrangement would result in the creation of digital collectibles. These will be available to fans at the new Formula 1 season starting from March this year. As part of the agreement, Velas will become the Title Sponsor of the Ferrari Esports Series, the Formula 1 Esports Series Ferrari team, and the online mono-brand series of the “Prancing Horse.”
General Manager of Scuderia Ferrari Mattia Binotto expressed his delight in the partnership, explaining that their choice in Velas as a premium partner was inspired by the firm's keenness on innovation and performance. On his part, Velas Network CEO Farhad Shagulyamov said that having structured a blockchain with stress on performance and sustainability, it only made sense to partner up with Ferrari, an icon of distinction.
Ferrari's NFT endeavor follows its rival motor racing team McLaren's October announcement of launching an NFT platform on the Tezos blockchain. Formula 1 also previously announced reaching an agreement with Singapore-based crypto exchange Crypto.com. The deal saw the exchange become the global partner for Formula 1's 2021 Sprint series. In addition to receiving trackside branding throughout the season, the exchange also became the championship's official NFT partner and crypto sponsor.
Ozzy Osbourne's CryptoBatz NFT collection
The Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne, revealed on December 27 the scheduled launch of his NFT project titled CryptoBatz NFTs. The 73-year-old elucidated that he had been trying to get into the NFT universe for a while but decided to create his own, following several failed attempts to buy one for himself.
The lead artist of the famous heavy metal band Black Sabbath will have 9,666 unique NFTs in his collection. The collection will feature pieces paying tribute to what Osbourne calls one of the most iconic onstage moments of his career – when he bit the head of a live bat during a concert held at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines in 1982. Osbourne noted that the project will be debuted in partnership with NFT creator Sutter Systems, giving fans a chance to own “a rare piece of art history.”
The 9,666 bat NFTs would allow collectors to mint other NFTs, MutantBatz, after activating a feature to bite and mutate with other NFTs in their wallets. This MutantBatz feature would be restricted to allow mutation only with NFTs from either Bored Ape Yacht Club, CrypToadz, SupDucks, or a yet-unknown fourth brand.
The heavy metal icon also said he would additionally launch ‘AncientBatz,' in Q1 of this year, ideated to be a virtual treasure hunt for Batz distributed in hidden locations around that world. Each AncientBat would have the power to ‘bite' other NFTs to a maximum of 100 times and thus consequently breed 100 MutantBatz. The hunt would, however, only be available to CryptoBatz owners.
GameStop calls for applications from NFT creators
GameStop has been advertising hiring opportunities for potential developers and other employee positions over the last few months. It seemingly appears that those positions have been filled. Its official NFT site is now headlined by a tag asking creators to request participation in its NFT marketplace.
Interested parties can fill their details in a creator form available on the site, with the required information, including the name, email address, website link, and an Ethereum wallet address (optional). Applicants are further required to clarify whether they are an independent entity or are applying as a company rep. GameStop also seeks information on the NFT history of applicants – whether or not they have created any in the past.
With this kind of selectivity, GameStop will likely take a more conservative approach regarding the NFT artists it allows on its platform. This is in contrast to the approach adopted by more encompassing marketplaces such as OpenSea. Though not much detail is floating around about the launch date, Crypto Briefing reported last Tuesday that the video game company would “open up (NFT) minting access on a rolling basis.”
There have been many rumors that the project would collaborate with the layer two network Loopring, owing to references found in the protocol's GitHub code. Towards the end of November, a Canadian freelance journalist asked Loopring CEO Daniel Wang about the “potential deal” during an interview, but Wang declined to comment on the matter.
Kraken Marketplace to enable functional use of NFTs, CEO says
In an interview published on Christmas Eve, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell talked to Bloomberg News about his exchange's planned NFT marketplace. Powell told the outlet that the scheduled marketplace intends to offer users something more than just collecting art. The Kraken boss revealed that in addition to custodial services, Kraken would allow users to take loans collateralized against NFTs in their wallets.
He explained that Kraken was working on a system that would determine the liquidation value, after which loans could be taken against the collectibles. The Kraken founder also noted that NFTs had been there since early days, but it has taken a combination of certain factors for the explosion we are seeing now. Powell expressed his optimism on the future of NFTs.
He asserted that they had gone through the first phase – speculation, the second phase – supporting artists and purchasing art, and are now getting into the third phase – functional uses. He submitted that he expects to see their utility rise even as this year progresses.
Kraken's marketplace will have its work cut out if it is to establish itself as a user-preferred choice. Already, other exchanges, including Binance and FTX, have launched their respective ones, adding to the competition put up by peer-to-peer marketplace OpenSea.
Even with a new year ushered in, NFTs are expected to pick up right where they left last year. The collectibles universe is envisaged to grow much further following its burst last year, with the predictions from players within being quite optimistic. The signs could not be any clearer on what the future holds for the NFT universe – let's watch and wait!