Sotheby’s, the world’s leading art & luxury auction house, has joined a $20 million initial round investment into NFT studio Mojito which is Delaware-based, alongside the likes of Creative Artists Agency, Future Perfect Ventures, and the National Endowment for the Arts’ Connect Ventures.
According to a release, the financing values the business at $100 million, and Jalak Jobanputra, a Future Perfect partner, will join the board of directors. Mojito intends to utilize the additional funds to expand its technical staff to continue developing the Mojito platform, as well as to secure new partnerships to produce labeled non-fungible token (NFT) markets that operate differently from today’s Amazon and eBay-style platforms.
As digital art continues to gain traction, Sotheby’s joins the growing number of conventional art dealers & collectors who are integrating NFTs as part of its repertoire. But Sotheby’s is taking its partnership with digital art to the next level, investing in a crypto startup for the first time, relying on the development and widespread adoption of NFTs & other crypto assets being serious commercial items.
Sotheby’s CEO Charles F. Stewart states, “We believe within the future of leveraging blockchain to broaden ownership of digital assets.” he continues, “NFTs are receiving a lot of attention and interest. Most of our old customers and collectors are aware of these categories, but we’re also connecting with a sizable new audience that is highly interested in them. Sotheby’s objective is to encourage access to and ownership of extraordinary art and luxury products, so concentrating and growing in this sector makes sense.”
Sotheby’s inaugural NFT auction was held less than 5 months ago, and that was a one-of-a-kind event. The auction site appears to be all in now, with such a new bespoke platform expressly created to sell NFTs as well as an investment with infirm behind it all. Sotheby’s debuted their NFT marketplace, Sotheby’s Metaverse, last week, as well as a new curated auction, Natively Digital. The auction contains 53 works from the collections of 19 renowned collectors, including Steve Aoki, NFT Girl, AOI, and Paris Hilton, and is a follow-up to Sotheby’s inaugural NFT sale, Natively Digital. The marketplace allows bidders to pay in ether, bitcoin, and USDC online currencies, and also fiat money, in addition to monitoring assets just on the Ethereum blockchain.
With a more than $69 million purchase of “Everyday — The Inaugural 5000 Days,” by an artist named Beeple, Christie’s first NFT sale kicked off the cryptocurrency luxury goods craze earlier this year. Soon after, the co-founder of Guggenheim Partners revealed plans to establish the world’s biggest NFT museum in a building overlooking Central Park, only steps away from the MoMA.
NFTs have been accepted as a tool for brands like Gucci, Burberry, & Balenciaga to earn cash (and attract attention) from a new vertical in the last seven months. According to the NFT-market monitoring platform NonFungible.com, total NFT trading volumes jumped from a little over $52 million to over $408 million during the same period.
It’s probably no surprise that Mojito is the first business to emerge through Serotonin, a marketing & venture capital organization that helps firms get attention by developing Web3 apps that are built right on a blockchain. Mojito creates and manages NFT markets allowing businesses to engage in the expanding market according to their terms, similar to Sotheby’s Metaverse. Ethereum applications may be used on Mojito’s markets.
“The crypto space has a reputation for being difficult and inaccessible. “We want to help reduce the entry barriers, make it simple, enjoyable, and offer companies the freedom to make something of their own,” says Dan Kinsley, Mojito’s CEO and cofounder. “I’m a big fan of decentralization and bringing new people into the sector, and it is a terrific way to do it.”