Visa has bought a female CryptoPunk for around $150,000, taking a step into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as it seeks to learn more about the burgeoning market.
- Visa bought CryptoPunk 7610 on Aug. 19, the payments technology company announced Monday.
- CryptoPunks, of which 10,000 have been minted, are considered to be the original NFTs. CryptoPunk 7610 is one of 3,840 "female" punks.
- A collection of nine rare CryptoPunks that were among the first 1,000 minted fetched almost $17 million in an auction at Christie's in May this year.
- Visa's head of crypto, Cuy Sheffield, said in a blog post that the main purpose behind Visa's purchase was to learn more about the growing market. "We think NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment and commerce," Sheffield wrote. "To help our clients and partners participate, we need a firsthand understanding of the infrastructure requirements for a global brand to purchase, store, and leverage an NFT."
- He also said Visa wanted to signal its support for the creators, collectors and artists who are developing NFT commerce, as well as to “collect an NFT that symbolizes the excitement and opportunity of this particular cultural moment.”
- Sheffield further compared NFTs to the early days of e-commerce in which small businesses were empowered to sell online and reach customers worldwide. "We can envision a future in which your crypto address becomes as important as your mailing address," Sheffield wrote.
- Following the news of Visa's purchase, a further 90 CryptoPunks NFTs were snapped up in the next hour for combined sales of around $20 million. As of 17:50 UTC on Monday, 293 CryptoPunk NFTs had been sold for almost $77 million, up from just 39 sold for $8.4 million on the entire day on Sunday, according to data from CryptoSlam.
UPDATE (AUG. 23, 11:41 UTC): Adds first NFT purchase to headline.
UPDATE (AUG. 23, 14:17 UTC): Adds more detail about Visa’s reasons for buying the NFT.
UPDATE (AUG. 23, 17:55 UTC): Adds information about CryptoPunk NFT sales in last bullet point.