NFT startup Mojito that powers Sotheby’s Metaverse raises $20M

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Delaware-based non­fun­gi­ble token start­up Moji­to, which enables com­pa­nies to sell NFTs on their own store­fronts includ­ing recent­ly launched Sotheby’s Meta­verse, announced Thurs­day that it has raised $20 mil­lion in its first fund­ing round.

The seed round was led by Future Per­fect Ven­tures, with par­tic­i­pa­tion from Moore Strate­gic Ven­tures, CMT Dig­i­tal, Sfermi­on and Ancient. Auc­tions and pri­vate sales bro­ker Sotheby’s also joined the round with a strate­gic investment.

By engag­ing Mojito’s ser­vices, users can sell NFTs from their own store­fronts and web­sites. It enables them to mint NFTs, which allows their cre­ation, trade and the pro­duc­tion of per­pet­u­al roy­al­ties. The com­pa­ny also hosts semi-cus­to­di­al and self-host­ed wal­lets, enables tra­di­tion­al and cryp­to pay­ment ser­vices, and han­dles Know Your Cus­tomer, tax track­ing and oth­er reg­u­la­to­ry com­pli­ance services.

Sotheby’s Meta­verse launched on Oct. 15 as a mar­ket­place for what the com­pa­ny calls a “des­ti­na­tion for col­lec­tors of dig­i­tal art.” To start, the com­pa­ny chose to build 53 lots of what it described as “cul­tur­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant art from the vaults of 19 col­lec­tors.” These col­lec­tors includ­ed Pranksy, j1mmy.eth and Paris Hilton.

Before launch­ing Meta­verse, Sotheby’s had already entered the NFT space by hold­ing auc­tions on its own. For exam­ple, in April it sold an NFT piece by anony­mous artist Pak for $17 mil­lion and lat­er an NFT fea­tur­ing the orig­i­nal World Wide Web code, designed by inven­tor Tim Bern­ers-Lee, for $5.4 mil­lion.

“Sotheby’s is in a unique posi­tion to apply our exper­tise and cura­to­r­i­al insight to the bur­geon­ing world of dig­i­tal­ly native art and the Moji­to part­ner­ship will only expand our capa­bil­i­ties,” said Sotheby’s Chief Exec­u­tive Charles F. Stewart.

The non­fun­gi­ble token mar­ket has grown sub­stan­tial­ly in the past year, dri­ven by the pop­u­lar­i­ty of col­lectibles, art­work and gam­ing. In the third quar­ter of 2021, the glob­al NFT mar­ket exceed­ed $10.7 bil­lion in sales vol­ume – although much of that was between cryp­to artists and collectors.

A great deal of this activ­i­ty takes place on mar­ket­places such as OpenSea and Rari­ble, or gam­ing-relat­ed NFTs such as Axie Infinity’s crea­tures and NBA Top Shot’s trad­ing cards. Mojito’s vision is to open up part of this mar­ket to brands in order to enable them to cap­ture some of that audience.

“Moji­to is unlock­ing the abil­i­ty for intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty of any kind to be brought into the meta­verse, which is what we believe will be the next evo­lu­tion of the inter­net,” said Moji­to Chief Exec­u­tive Dan Kinsley.

The Moji­to team said it intends to use the fund­ing to build out a reg­u­la­to­ry-com­pli­ant com­merce suite to com­bine Web3 tech­nol­o­gy with more cus­tomiz­able soft­ware for devel­op­ers to make it as easy as pos­si­ble for cus­tomers to reach new audiences.

Image: Sotheby’s

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