The newest round of funding for sports-related NFT projects is in — and it’s largest-ever Series A of its kind.
Recur, the crypto platform owned by the Winklevoss twins, raised $50 million at a post-money valuation of $333 million. It’s backed by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, Gary Vaynerchuk, Jason Derulo, and Gemini.
The company develops an NFT platform that connects brands to their fans and enables companies, celebrities, and athletes to engage with those fans through an NFT experience. Founded by Zach Bruch and digital licensing pioneer Trevor George, the company is looking to disrupt the ways in which IP holders are able to monetize their assets.
The company has partnered with Veritone to license PAC-12 highlights and NIL rights for the conference’s athletes. Recur will also be partnering with CLC, a division of Learfield, to license other universities’ rights.
The $50 million Series A was led by Digital, which is backed by the family office of Steve Cohen. The Mets owner and renowned hedge fund billionaire who inspired the main character for the hit TV show “Billions” has made various forays into blockchain technologies since 2018.
- 2018: Point72 invests in Autonomous Partners, a crypto-based hedge fund.
- 2021: Cohen hires a Head of Crypto for Point72 Asset Management.
- 2021: Point72 makes an investment in crypto analytics and news firm Messari.
- 2021: Cohen personally invests in Radkl, a crypto quantitative trading firm.
- 2021: Cohen invests in Recur through his new blockchain/crypto-based fund Digital.
Needless to say, Cohen has fully bought in on the thesis that blockchain technologies will have their place in the world — and he’s putting his money where his mouth is.
While Cohen’s investments skew heavily toward trading and financial markets, the investment in Recur’s NFT market shines a light on a new kind of project.
The market has seen three main types of sports-specific blockchain applications:
- IP Monetization Through NFTs: From leagues monetizing their banks of content to individual players monetizing their name, image, and likeness, NFTs allow for digital ownership of traditionally analog assets. Much of the benefit comes from traceability. In traditional formats, these assets took on the form of YouTube videos and trading cards. On the blockchain, those same assets become individual collectibles which can be permanently tracked and verified on the blockchain. Leagues and players can now more easily and verifiably turn intangible assets into a form of revenue.
- Digital Ticketing: Similar to IP monetization via NFTs, turning tickets into digital assets provides issuers the ability to earn royalties on secondary transactions. Every time a ticket trades on a secondary market, the issuer can continue to monetize due to the fact that each transaction is stored on the blockchain. (Think of a permanent digital ledger that stores an infinite number of transactions.) In March,…
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