Credit card giant Visa has launched an NFT program to bring small businesses into the digital economy.
“Over the past year, we have seen the rapid growth of the NFT ecosystem,” cue SheffieldThis was announced to gaming-updates by the head of Visa’s cryptocurrency department. “We believe that NFTs represent a new form of e-commerce.”
Sheffield said the idea of a small business is evolving from the traditional “brick shop” to other independent businesses, where creators and entrepreneurs are looking to create digitally-focused businesses and leverage new tools such as NFTs.
The one-year Visa Creator Program will bring together a global group of creators, including artists, musicians, fashion designers and filmmakers, to build their business with NFT.
Sheffield noted that there are no “hard limits” on the number of contributors for the first group, and all participants will have access to Visa’s extensive network of clients and consultants.
“Big sellers and brands are wondering every day how to get involved.” Sheffield said. “What we admire about NFTs is that we think they lower the entry barrier for people who want to build businesses and sell online.”
The traditional way of selling physical goods involves a lot of logistics, which can be a major challenge for small businesses and individuals to compete and scale. “NFT allows a creative person, an artist, a talented person to create something in a completely digital way,” Sheffield said.
Micah Johnson, a former Major League Baseball player and current Aku record artist, was one of the first members of the cohort. Visa previously announced the partnership in October 2021, but did not disclose its participation in the program at the time.
Johnson’s Aku NFT is based on a character created by Johnson when he heard his cousin say, “Can astronauts be black?”
The black male astronauts in their ten-piece collection feature a variety of elements, from spaghetti and meatball-covered helmets to a plain, sleek white helmet. According to the website, Aku NFT’s current floor price ranges from $1,790 to $37,000.
“I have personally seen how NFTs can empower artists,” Johnson told gaming-updates. “I was literally painting in my garage with this idea, this mission, and I turned it into a global company. Without the NFT, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
Visa is not new to the crypto community and has been a supporter for the past 12 months. It previously made headlines for the purchase of the popular Cryptopunk NFT in August 2021, and Sheffield said the purchase would not be the company’s only NFT.
In addition to collecting NFTs, Visa has built its own crypto team and launched a crypto consultancy in December 2021 to help customers and partners considering deep diving into the space.
“We think that [NFTs] is a fundamentally primitive tool that can change commerce and create new opportunities,” Sheffield said. “But there are still many questions about how it develops? What blockchain are you using? How do you stand out? How do you reach clients? And that’s why we want to learn as much from creators as we think they can learn from us.”
Sheffield said that in the future, Visa wants to build on these crypto technologies to track the future of commerce. “We are incredibly excited about the NFT,” Sheffield said. “We want everyone” [NFT] The marketplace will be able to accept Visa cards as we believe NFTs will be present on many different networks.
As for the next steps? Sheffield said Visa wants to make buying NFTs as easy as buying anything online.
Sheffield said: “We found that the experience today can be quite complex and it takes a lot of steps to go to an exchange, buy a cryptocurrency and transfer it to another wallet… in the new consumer space. go.”
In addition to this program, the credit card company is exploring other ways to make NFTs more accessible to consumers. Visa is working on “a number of initiatives” to make it easier for consumers to jump into space, but Sheffield did not disclose a timetable for future launches of NFT-focused products or services with the company.
“Small business and commerce play a very important role in building community in cities and areas around the world,” Sheffield said. “That friendly face you see at the local barber [or] local bakery. And now we see creators using commerce and NFTs to create communities of like-minded people around the world who come together because they share a similar set of beliefs or ideals. ,