NFT Rentals: Why VCs Are Backing a Puzzling New Project

Animoca Brands is leading a $1.5 million bet on reNFT, a year-old DAO that lets you rent out NFTs on the Ethereum mainnet.

Oct 8, 2021 at 5:19 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 8, 2021 at 6:57 p.m. UTC

Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

Some non-fungible tokens (NFTs) come with exclusive perks. A project helping holders monetize those benefits – all while maintaining long-term ownership – has raised $1.5 million in a seed round led by Animoca Brands.

ReNFT announced the funding round on Friday. In addition to Animoca, the year-old decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) behind the rentable NFT platform is now backed by Lattice Capital, Play Ventures, MetaCartel Ventures, Scalar Capital, LongHash Ventures, SkyVision Capital, Fedora Capital and Maeve Ventures.

The Ethereum-based project recently facilitated the lending of Stoner Cats, an NFT collection whose holders have access to a library of video shorts, and Animetas, whose holders rented their tokens to give temporary access to a private Discord event.

A rising trend in the NFT sector is for projects to include community benefits that go along with the ownership of their tokens. ReNFT is giving owners a way to monetize these benefits without selling the underlying asset.

How it works

Lenders can send the NFTs they want to rent out to a smart contract after determining the daily rental price and maximum rental period. Borrowers then input how long they want to “own” the NFT, paying for the rental cost plus a collateral amount equivalent to the price of the NFT, which they get back once the NFT is returned.

With the NFT sector still in bloom, reNFT sees the future of its lending protocol extending into the metaverse, where users could rent out their play-to-earn items, intellectual property and even digital real estate.

It’s not entirely unheard of in cryptoland: Yield Guild Games also operates a rental program for in-game assets that yield financial returns, whether it be revenue-driving GameFi characters or plots of virtual land.

While reNFT currently works with the peer-to-peer renting of ERC-721 and ERC-1155 tokens on the Ethereum mainnet, it’s working on expanding compatibility to Solana and Polygon, co-founder Nick Vale told CoinDesk in an interview.

“ReNFT provides an alternative to speculative NFT trading by allowing owners of valuable digital assets to generate income over time,” Regan Bozman, partner of Lattice Capital, said in a statement. “This is a valuable new primitive in web3 and in particular within the fast-growing gamefi space.”

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Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

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