At Quantstamp, we know the mainstream adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency is inevitable. When Quantstamp was founded, we had a saying that went “It's 1994.” We would say “It’s 1994” because we believe that blockchain technology is at the same level of development as the internet in the early 90’s. In the 90’s, the people building the internet did not know exactly what the internet would look like in the future, but they knew it was here to stay and they knew they were building something important.
Quantstamp confidently believes that blockchain technology will have as big an impact on our lives as the internet itself. The signs that blockchain technology is here to stay are becoming clearer and clearer as major companies enter the space including Visa, the NBA, Budweiser, Christie's, and Stripe.
VISA Buys CryptoPunk and Explores Cross-Chain Interoperability for CBDCs
In August 2021, VISA bought a CryptoPunk for 49.5 ETH, worth $149,939 at the time of purchase (tx). When asked why VISA made this purchase, Cuy Sheffield, the Head of Crypto at Visa, responded with the following:
"We think NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment, and commerce. To help our clients and partners participate, we need a firsthand understanding of the infrastructure requirements for a global brand to purchase, store, and leverage an NFT." - source
A month later, VISA made another big announcement concerning their ambitions with central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). VISA’s research and product team predicts that CBDCs will “likely play an important role in the future.” If CBDCs are widely adopted throughout the world, they would benefit from a product that would facilitate the value transfer between these different CBDC networks. VISA is calling this solution a Universal Payment Channel:
“Think of it as a 'universal adapter' among blockchains, allowing central banks, businesses, and consumers to seamlessly exchange value, no matter the form factor of the currency.”
To learn more about VISA’s Universal Payment Channel, read VISA’s blog post written by Catherine Cu, Visa’s Global CBDC Product Lead.
Budweiser and Beer.eth
Budweiser recently purchased beer.eth, an Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domain, for 30 ETH (worth ~ $95,000 at the time of purchase) and Life of the Party, an NFT artwork by Tom Sachs, for 8 ETH (worth ~ $25,000 at the time of purchase).
ENS domains are similar to website domains. In order to reach a webpage during the early days of the internet, you had to type in an IP address (something like 184.108.40.206) instead of typing in something human-readable, like quantstamp.com. ENS does the same thing for cryptocurrency wallets. If Budweiser starts accepting payments in cryptocurrency, they can now ask users to send payment to beer.eth instead of to 0x01b9ae223e71b215209a0b6873ef63d7925862cc. Beer.eth can also be used to host decentralized websites.
Budweiser also used their recently purchased NFT as their Twitter profile picture, a common practice of NFT and crypto enthusiasts.
Christie’s Sells Beeple NFT for $69 Million
Christie’s, a top auction house founded in 1766, sold its first completely digital artwork in March 2021 for $69 million dollars. The digital artwork is named Everydays: The First 5000 Days by Mike Winkleman, an artist more commonly known as Beeple. This sale also marked the first time an auction house accepted ETH as a portion of the payment.
On Christie’s NFT auction page, they made the following statement about why they are excited about NFTs and the value they deliver:
We are excited to celebrate and recognise artists in a new medium, and to see how artists will utilise this technology to open up a world of new creative opportunities. NFTs have the potential to transform how we think about and establish ownership. NFTs allow us to trace provenance, exhibition history and the authenticity of ownership in digital art and other assets in a secure and permanent manner.
As one of the most trusted names within the global art market with unparalleled reach, Christie’s is guided by our commitment to quality and authenticity in an increasingly digital world. With the advent of the digital collectible space and digital sales becoming more important to our audience, Christie’s seeks to responsibly steward the art community with a view towards the development of a sustainable NFT-based artwork environment.
Read more about what Christie's has to say about NFTs here.
Enhancing the Fan Experience with NBA Top Shot
The NBA is providing fans with a new avenue to express their fandom through NBA Top Shot. NBA Top Shot allows fans to collect video highlights of their favorite players making exciting plays. This platform has been a massive success with over $750 million worth of NFT sales in the NBA Top Shot marketplace (source).
Dapper Labs, the creators of NBA Top Shot, is now working with many other sports leagues including the NFL, UFC, La Liga, WNBA, and the ICC to create similar digital collectible platforms to enhance the fan experience. Quantstamp audited smart contracts pertaining to NBA Top Shot and has ongoing security engagements with Dapper Labs.
Stripe Hiring Crypto Team
Stripe, a market leader in online payment processing worth $95 billion, announced in October that they are hiring a team to focus on crypto payments. As of today, they have 10 open positions for their crypto team.
While Stripe has not made public statements regarding the goals of their crypto team, they did have this to say in one of their job descriptions:
As the usage of cryptocurrency grows worldwide, it opens up new and exciting avenues for businesses and individuals to transact and create value. Stripe has always been bullish on crypto: we were early in supporting the crypto community and helped businesses accept Bitcoin in 2014. Stripe has always kept our eye on developments in crypto, and we’ve heard a growing need for better building blocks to accept payments, move funds, and exchange between fiat and crypto. We have launched a new Crypto team, and we are looking for an insightful and analytical individual to be a financial and strategic partner to its product leaders.
Embracing the Infrastructure of the Future
Mainstream companies are learning that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are here to stay and that the ecosystem is rapidly advancing. In the recent past, a major roadblock to mass adoption was slow transaction times and high fees: Layer 2 solutions are quickly solving this issue. NFT enabled digital collectibles are becoming an essential component of internet culture, and DAOs are organizing capital and communities in ways that were previously impossible.
In the early 90s, developers at the time knew they were working on something big, but they couldn’t imagine that applications like Google, Youtube, and Twitter would eventually emerge. What will decentralized networks achieve in the next 10 to 20 years? We cannot be sure yet, but Quantstamp will be there to secure the assets in your digital nation.