Visa – the global payments technology company – is the latest major company to join the growing non-fungible token (NFT) craze. It announced that it has purchased a CryptoPunk, one of thousands of NFT-based digital avatars, for nearly $165,000 (about Rs. 1.22 crores) paying just under ETH 50. An NFT is a unique digital asset that represents ownership of a virtual item. Unlike cryptocurrencies, an NFT cannot be exchanged for another NFT and can only have one owner at a time.
Visa announced the purchase on Twitter, stating: “Over the past 60 years, Visa has built a collection of historic commercial artifacts – from the first paper credit cards to the zip-zap machine.” He said the company has now entered “a new era of NFT trading”.
Over the past 60 years, Visa has built a collection of historic commercial artifacts – from the first paper credit cards to the zip-zap machine. Today, as we enter a new era of NFT commerce, Visa welcomes CryptoPunk #7610 to our collection. https://t.co/XoPFfwxUiu
– VisaNews (@VisaNews) August 23, 2021
The purchase of the CryptoPunk 7610 – a female punk with a distinctive Mohawk – was made on August 18 for ETH 49.5 (approximately the equivalent of $165,000). This CryptoPunk is one of only 3,840 “female” punks created so far. At the time of this writing, the price of Ether in India was Rs. 2.57 lakhs.
CryptoPunks are 10,000 unique collectible digital characters and one of the first examples of an NFT on the blockchain Ethereum.
Because they are scarce, CryptoPunks command a very high price during auctions. In May, a set of nine of these tiny pixel art portraits sold for a whopping $16.9 million (about INR 124.2 crores). Before that, in March, digital artist Beeple sold one for $69 million (about Rs. 506.6 crores) at a Christie’s auction.
Cuy Sheffield, Visa’s head of cryptocurrency, described in a blog post why the company decided to buy CryptoPunk. “First of all, we wanted to learn,” Sheffield said. “To help our customers and partners participate, we need to understand firsthand the infrastructure requirements for a global brand to buy, store and leverage an NFT.”
Sheffield said Visa was working on some new concepts and partnerships that supported NFT buyers, sellers and creators. “We hope to share more in the coming months,” he added.