Believe or not, the market for non-fungible tokens has now eclipsed $1 billion.
And the tokens all seem to have one thing in common: the startup Alchemy, based in San Francisco. It was founded in 2017 and transactions using its technology are up 54x to $25 billion worth of "Ethereum projects such as decentralized finance startups and NFT platforms," according to Bloomberg.
Alchemy opened itself to general customers in August after only serving private customers in the 3 years since its founding. The platform allows people to connect to the Ethereum blockchain, a key part of reading and writing NFT transactions.
The firm's first customer, Matt Hall, creator of CryptoPunks, has now watched $130 million of the 10,000 unique collectible characters with proof of ownership change hands. The most expensive recently changed hands for $7.6 million, Bloomberg notes.
Hall said: “Once we read about Ethereum, we thought, ‘oh, this might be how we can do that.’ When we first made it we didn’t know what it was either, it was just cool. What’s weird is how rapidly people have gotten turned on to it.”
Three years ago, Alchemy co-founders Nikil Viswanathan and Joe Lau thought they were just getting started on a side project. Now, Alchemy is the technology behind every single NFT platform. “I was like, ‘oh, cool, a side project,’” Viswanathan commented.
The pair met each other at Stanford where they both worked as TAs for a database class.
Alchemy drives transactions behind Makersplace, OpenSea, Nifty Gateway, SuperRare and Cryptokitties. It was also behind the recent $69 million sale of an NFT by Christie's. Its investors include names like Charles Schwab, Will Smith and Jay-Z.
Viswanathan made the case for digital NFTs, stating: “Digital actually lets you showcase your possessions and your luxury goods better than in the real world. It made a lot of sense for people to own things digitally.”
“If we were to turn off, all these products wouldn’t work,” Viswanathan concluded.