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

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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