Visa, CryptoPunks, and Blockchain Domains
Posted August 24, 2021
“Over the last 60 years,” mega payment processor Visa tweeted yesterday, “Visa has built a collection of historic commerce artifacts -- from early 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.”
The CryptoPunk collection, if you’re not aware, is made up of 10,000 different simple avatars.
In May 2021, auction house Christie’s sold a small collection of 9 punks for $16 million.
CryptoPunks are considered “blue-chip” digital collectibles. Total sales within this collection alone have reached $752 million.
Visa spent $150,000 on this one:
The company even changed its Twitter avatar to reflect its new asset.
In fact, Visa is diving headfirst into NFTs.
The company also just released a highly informative whitepaper devoted entirely to NFTs.
It’s not because they love CryptoPunks.
It’s because they know that, ultimately, everyone online will be using NFTs in some fashion within the next decade. And they want to position themselves accordingly.
Why Visa Bought It
Cuy Sheffield, head of the crypto at Visa said: “We think that NFTs are going to play a really important role in the future of retail and social media, entertainment and commerce. So we wanted to understand firsthand what it takes to acquire, custody, and interact with an NFT.”
Now, here’s the rub (emphasis mine):
“We envision there could be a future where your crypto address becomes as important as your mailing address,” Sheffield says. “In the same way Visa’s been here through shifts of commerce before, we’re really excited to help drive this new shift of commerce in the future.”
NFTs are simply unique crypto addresses.
If you think crypto is here to stay, there’s one thing you should consider now before the mainstream catches on: blockchain domains.
Blockchain domains, as NFTs, are essentially programmable domains.
Owning a blockchain domain is like having your own decentralized Paypal and Godaddy account in one.
I recently purchased two of them, just to play around.
There’s a HUGE difference between a traditional domain name and a blockchain domain.
Consider the Difference
When you buy a traditional domain, you don’t actually own the domain and you have to pay annual fees.
Nevertheless, some domains ended up being a great investment.
In 1999, someone bought business.com for a whopping $7.5 million.
In 2007, it was sold for $345 million to RH Donnelly, the third-largest print and online Yellow Pages published. (In 2009, probably not unrelated, the company filed for bankruptcy.)
Lasvegas.com sold for $90 million in 2005.
Insurance.com sold for $35 million in 2009.
Carinsurance.com sold for $49.7 million in 2010.
Now, consider how blockchain domains are different from traditional domain names.
Consider the difference:
→ Self-custody: The domain is stored in your wallet. You own it.
→ No annual renewal fees: Unlike traditional domains, once you buy it, there are no recurring fees.
→ Uncensorable: You can build a website tied to your domain on a decentralized storage network that can’t be taken down.
→ Send/receive from one domain: You can tie all of your wallet addresses to this single domain and get rid of complex addresses
→ Programmable: You can integrate decentralized apps into your domain name, allowing it to chat with other apps.
The current leader in blockchain domains is Unstoppable Domains.
Currently, their domain name system supports 260+ cryptocurrencies and almost 100 wallets, exchanges, and browsers.
Coinbase, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has already integrated its domain system… alongside Gemini, Brave Browser, and many popular wallets.
Again, the biggest benefit of having a domain name is you no longer have to deal with clunky addresses. Simply give people your domain name and they can send crypto there.
Moreover, you can create a simple website that doesn’t require annual fees.
On the speculative side, they could also prove as good investments… if you’re creative enough with your choices. (The low-hanging fruit is gone.)
At the moment, you can grab a domain name for as little as $20.
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today