Technology

Thanks, Gwyneth! MoonPay boosts celebrity interest at a valuation of $3.4 billion

MoonPay, the company that lets consumers pay for digital assets with credit cards, has raised $86.7 million from a who’s who list of celebrities including Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo, Bruce Willis, Paris Hilton, Gwyneth Paltrow and Matthew McConaughey. The new investment round is expected to help bring the company closer to its goal of becoming the PayPal of cryptocurrency. The new investment takes MoonPay’s valuation to $3.4 billion, according to the company.

MoonPay is probably best known for its concierge service. To put it simply, MoonPay has streamlined the process of buying an NFT monkey. Stars who want a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT will often go to MoonPay – and then thank the company in their tweets later. (And it’s not just stars. Light Speed ​​Venture Partners is also a MoonPay customer.) But the infrastructure service is also widely used: 10 million customers have processed nearly $3 billion in transactions through MoonPay, the company says. It works with exchanges like Coinbase, FTX and OpenSea and wallets like MetaMask; The company says it works with more than 260 service providers.

PayPal became PayPal without much help from Hollywood, but PayPal didn’t build itself during a period of interest in NFTs. NFTs appeal to artists and musicians because they offer a way to create revenue streams through digital assets. So for Ivan Soto-Wright, CEO of MoonPay, it seemed natural to target VC firms specializing in the creator economy when it came time to raise money. “I realized that the creator economy was going to be a really important part of our business, especially with NFTs,” says Soto-Wright.

The previous funding round, a $555 million Series A, raised Thrive Capital, a company founded by Josh Kushner, who happens to be both Jared Kushner’s brother and Karlie Kloss’s husband. Sound Ventures – founded by Ashton Kutcher and Guy “Madonna’s Manager” Oseary – joined this latest round. So did Kinship Ventures, who brought Questlove, Mindy Kaling and Zoe Saldaña with them. CAA’s Connect Ventures, a partnership with New Enterprise Associates, also joined.

These investors brought networks of celebrities to Soto-Wright. First, they asked him questions about the basics: what Web3 was, what NFTs were, how to set up wallets. Soto-Wright walked them through setting up wallets, writing down seed phrases, and connecting to OpenSea.

Soto-Wright’s famous friends helped popularize the company, but that’s not the only reason they’re involved. A number of these household names, including Paltrow, Hilton, Snoop Dogg, Post Malone and Lil Baby have them uses MoonPay Bored Ape Yacht Club to buy NFTs before investing in MoonPay itself. Because BAYC owners own the intellectual property associated with their monkey, this project has been particularly popular with celebrities. (These IP rights are also why BAYC Weed exists.)

MoonPay made it easy for celebrities to buy their monkeys. Since monkeys can be expensive, buying up enough Ethereum to make a purchase is not a trivial process, says Soto-Wright. So, MoonPay goes through the process of buying the crypto needed for the NFT and acquiring the digital asset, and then billing the customer. (This is typically a wire transfer rather than a credit card since there’s a lot more money involved.) “We tried to make the process similar to what you would do with your private bank,” says he. “You basically create an invoice, transfer money for that invoice, and then we process the transaction.”

The client specifies a budget. MoonPay uses benchmarks like rarity tools to calculate how much an asset might be worth. But sometimes celebrities buy things just because they like them and pay what they see fit, which may be more than the asking price.

The Web3 world is essentially about monetizing fandom. In a way, it makes sense that actors and musicians — people who make money off intellectual property — would become Web3 users. But the market for NFTs has been slipping since January, according to reports Data from NonFungible. Because like Colonics and the Goop Jade Egg, just because something’s popular with celebrities doesn’t mean it’s here to stay.

https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/13/23022660/moonpay-nft-crypto-valuation-snoop-dogg-gwyneth-paltrow-justin-bieber-paris-hilton Thanks, Gwyneth! MoonPay boosts celebrity interest at a valuation of $3.4 billion

Fry Electronics Team

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