Visa Gets Into the NFT Game With $150K Purchase of CryptoPunk 7610

The CryptoPunks are a recognizable art project in the NFT world and are highly sought after as digital collectibles.

Written by Gordon Gottsegen
Published on Aug. 23, 2021
Visa Gets Into the NFT Game With $150K Purchase of CryptoPunk 7610
Collection of Cryptopunks
Photo: Shutterstock

NFTs have been making headlines over the past few months thanks to their rapid spread and a handful of multi-million dollar sales. Maybe this buzz is enough for you to go down the NFT rabbit hole yourself, or maybe you’re perfectly content ignoring NFTs and going on with your normal life.

But for some of the largest financial organizations, it’s getting harder and harder to ignore NFTs.

On Monday, Visa announced that it had purchased CryptoPunk #7610 via NFT auction. Visa paid 49.50 ethereum for the NFT, which translates to about $149,939 in U.S. dollars.

This deal is part of a larger strategy for Visa to get its feet wet in the NFT world. In short, NFTs are blockchain-based pieces of code that are used to show ownership of a certain digital thing — whether that’s a tweet, a meme or a work of digital art. Because of the nature of the internet, things on the internet can be copied and altered infinitely, which make NFTs especially useful for showing who owns that thing and showing its authenticity.

(For more on NFTs, you can read Built In’s explainer of NFTs in the art world or how to buy and sell NFTs.)

Visa, a large and long-standing financial enterprise, is constantly looking for ways to grow and adapt to the changing world of finance. That’s likely why it hired Cuy Sheffield as the company’s head of crypto. In a blog post, Sheffield talked about how the company believes that NFTs will become more important to the economy as more of the economy shifts to digital channels. Sheffield also talks about how the move symbolizes Visa’s excitement about the new NFT world to its customers.

“NFTs have the potential to become a powerful accelerator for the creator economy and lower the barrier to entry for individual creatives to earn a living through digital commerce. NFTs are starting to usher in a new form of social commerce that empowers both creators and collectors,” Sheffield wrote in the blog post. “We can envision a future in which your crypto address becomes as important as your mailing address.”

The purchase of CryptoPunk #7610 also shows Visa’s knowledge of the NFT world. CryptoPunks were created as an NFT art project in 2017, but since then they have become a recognizable face of the NFT scene. There are thousands of uniquely generated CryptoPunks, which has led them to become a sought-after collectable for NFT enthusiasts.

CryptoPunk #7610 itself has gone up in value as a collectable digital item. It first sold for 0.30 ethereum in 2017, which was approximately worth $67, and since then has been sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Visa’s purchase at nearly $150,000 represents a steep climb for the digital collectible, but since the company announced its purchase today, someone else has already bid over $331,000 on it.

Turns out that Visa’s involvement in the NFT world may be getting people’s attention.

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