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.
CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.