Our Investment in NFTPort: Building the infrastructure for digital ownership
2021 marked a turning point in the penetration of NFTs into the mass market - and an increasingly common dinner table conversation. In fact, at the end of 2021, 23% of millennials own an NFT. The adoption of NFTs has been mainly driven by industries like art, collectibles, sports or gaming, but these first use cases - while large in and of themselves - are only scratching the surface of NFT’s potential as a technology that underpins and enables true digital ownership; embedding concepts such as provenance, scarcity and uniqueness. The consultancy Gartner predicts that by 2024 50% of publicly listed companies will have some form of NFT underpinning their brand,
However, realising the full potential of NFTs requires the right infrastructure. Today, creating, transacting and maintaining NFTs requires highly skilled engineers (of which there are few) and even then, the process is cumbersome. As the application layer grows, there is a need for infrastructure that abstracts away this complexity, and enables web2 developers to work on web3 projects, and web3 teams to move away from custom built in house tools. The NFT stack is primitive, yet the user needs are complex and constantly evolving.
That’s why today we are delighted to announce NFTPort’s $26 million Series A funding round, which we have co-led with Taavet + Sten and are joined by a group of amazing investors and angels including Protocol Labs, Sparkle Ventures, IDEO CoLab Ventures, Polygon co-founder Jaynti Kanani, former Twilio CTO, Ott Kaukver, former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, and Polkadot co-founder Jutta Steiner. Sten will join the NFTPort team as a co-founder, alongside the former Bolt CTO Rain Johanson as CTO and co-founder.
NFTPort’s mission is to enable an internet ownable by citizens, through a decentralized NFT infrastructure. They are building an all-in-one platform which enables developers to quickly and easily bring NFT projects to the market, in hours instead of months. NFTPort is today used by over 30,000 developer teams, including the likes of Nifty Gateway and Protocol Labs. As of March 2022, developers through NFTPort had minted over a million NFTs on Polygon, 10% of all NFTs minted on Polygon.
NFTPort's infrastructure offers three key pillars to enable companies to build their NFT products; data APIs, minting APIs and user safety APIs. Data APIs provide access to all NFT data from Ethereum, Polygon and Solana so developers can get up and running, including data parity with NFT marketplace OpenSea. Minting APIs means developers can create and deploy bespoke NFT projects in days rather than months through the provision of customisable smart contracts. This enables any Web2 developer who knows REST APIs to turn digital assets into NFTs in applications. Finally, in order to increase user safety, NFTPort has also built a counterfeit detection engine for developers to cross-check if a given NFT has been previously minted on any of its supported chains. By providing this vital seamless functionality, NFTPort is set to become a core enabler for digital ownership, laying the foundations for an internet that is owned by citizens.
NFTPort will use today’s investment to double down on scaling its core product and team, as well moving towards further decentralisation of its NFT infrastructure. We believe digital ownership is a fundamental shift in behaviour, and in value accrual across the internet, and we are excited to join Johannes and the team on their mission.