Music-focused nonfungible-token platform OneOf has raised $8.4 million in new funding to support its eco-friendly and sustainable marketplace for artists and brands to connect with fans.
The strategic funding round announced today included Amex Ventures, the venture capital arm of American Express, which will be hosting an exclusive pop-up event that will take advantage of the platform.
Other investors participating in the round included Chain Link Crypto Fund, Sangha Capital, Mirabaud Lifestyle Impact and Innovation Fund and Snow Hill Ventures. The company has raised more than $72 million, following the startup’s seed round in May 2021.
OneOf’s platform was founded by Chief Executive Lin Dai in 2021 to act as an energy-efficient way for artists to create and market visual memorabilia. It features artistic works from musicians and music festivals designed to provide artists a deeper connection with their fanbase.
NFTs are a type of cryptographic token that link ownership and other rights to digital assets, such as art, powered by blockchain technology. They are best known for digital artwork and video game collectibles, generating a market that swelled to more than $40 billion in 2021. However, trade has paled somewhat in the first half of 2022 as what has been dubbed “crypto winter” has set in with a broad downturn in the crypto markets.
The startup built its platform is built on the energy-efficient Tezos blockchain and the Ethereum scaling Polygon blockchain offers near-zero transaction fees and high speeds. This way artists and fans can expect that they receive the highest value for their participation in markets.
The platform went with Tezos and Polygon because the highly efficient blockchains significantly lower the energy costs of creating and trading NFTs, which is a common criticism of the industry. According to the startup, it is targeting environmentally conscious music consumers. By using Tezos and Polygon, creating NFTs on its network uses a fraction of the energy it would take to mint an NFT on Ethereum, the most popular blockchain for NFTs.
“As the Web3 market matures and consolidates, we see great opportunities in creating new commerce models, enabling creators of all shapes and sizes, from the biggest global brands to the newest independent artists, to unlock the real-world potentials of this new technology,” said Dai.
Since its founding, OneOf has signed numerous musicians, athletes and other brands including Muhammad Ali, Biggie Smalls, TLC, Sports Illustrated, iHeart Media, The Notorious B.I.G., Warner Music Group and more.
Also, as part of the announcement, OneOf said that American Express will host a pop-up event in Bodrum, Turkey called Thee American Express Summer in Color Oasis at the Mandarin hotel. Cardholders attending will receive a free OneOf NFT designed by Turkish artist Selay Karasu, whose work has been previously featured at Burning Man and the CERN Particle Physics Laboratory.
“A growing number of creators and consumer brands are experimenting with NFTs leading to the rise of a new spend category, new business ideas and new loyalty and membership models,” said Margaret Lim, managing director of Amex Ventures. “We believe that the investment in OneOf will help American Express stay close to the developments in NFT-powered commerce and lead to the development of new customer engagement models.”
These experiences and “engagement models” that the industry has been experimenting with have included NFT-gated content and coupons. For example, NFTs can be provided as part of a VIP package to provide additional access to digital content after a concert is over, discounts in a store and even discounts on future tickets to events.