Popular NFT Artist Micah Johnson, Partners With Finance Giant, Visa

The world is witnessing an art renaissance powered by the rise of non-fungible tokens(NFTs.) for the first time in decades; artists are deciding the direction of the world’s economy as they are the current beneficiaries of the crypto revolution.

Over the last few months, NFTs have become a big deal within and outside the crypto walls. Huge numbers have adopted cryptocurrency due to the explosive economic potentials NFTs offer. Recently the flourishing ecosystem of artists, content creators, musicians, curators, photographers, and writers has attracted global corporations to enter into partnership with these figures in a bid to further advance the NFT community.

Former MLB player Micah Johnson has been at the forefront of the NFT craze and now enjoys a career as a crypto artist. For the likes of Johnson, NFTs made it possible to become digital artists, eliminating the barriers posed by the physical world. Via NFTs, artists like Johnson can relate directly with their fans, build a community and monetize their passion for art.

The Partnership

According to reports, the former Chicago White Sox star has entered into a partnership with financial services giant Visa to help educate more people about the world of digital collectibles and the potential it offers. The new partnership would aid digital content creators in learning how to use NFTs and crypto to improve their craft. 

This comes a few months after Visa signified its interest in the NFT market by purchasing a CryptoPunks NFT avatar for more than $150,000 worth of ETH. Following their purchase, the price for Punks skyrocketed and now the finance company wants to extend their success to educating others.

Visa will issue an open request for creators interested in participating in the program and select an initial class of participants. The company will support and consult with the group, as well as work to develop significant partnerships between the artists and Visa’s payment partners.

Reaction to the Partnership

In a tweet, Visa vice president and head of crypto, Guy Sheffield, wrote, “We believe that we are at the beginning of a digital renaissance in the world of art and content creation—a flourishing ecosystem of artists, musicians, writers, photographers, and curators building communities at the intersection of culture and commerce.”

He further added in his post, “New technologies emerging in the crypto ecosystem, like NFTs, have the potential to lower the barrier to entry for digital creators across the world to build their small businesses.”

Johnson’s NFT Journey

Johnson enjoyed a rewarding baseball career, and after his 2018 retirement, he decided to pursue an interest outside of the sporting world and build on his passion for the arts. In 2019, Johnson embraced the growing crypto community and based his interest on NFTs, which at the time were a fringe concept.

His first NFT sale was in 2020, but it turned out to be a turning point in his life. Johnson discovered a way to be part of a new digital community outside of the traditional world. Speaking of the impact of NFTs in his art career, the former baseball star remarked, “NFTs unlocked an opportunity for me to build a community of people interested in supporting my work — in a way that goes way beyond simply liking or sharing. With guidance from the early crypto community, I’ve been able to build a small business around my crypto-native character, Aku, that can grow into a global media company rooted in driving value back to that same community that evangelized my work.”

From discovering a community to belong to, the 30-year-old former sportsman now has a network of thousands of fans and followers who not only love his work but believe in his dreams of breaking down barriers imposed by socioeconomic position, race, and gender, and inspiring children to dream big.

India Likely Launch Destination for Facebook’s Secret Crypto Project

Facebook’s Cryptocurrency project dubbed Project Libra has been making Cryptocurrency headlines for the last few months. According to a majority of information, the most visible detail is Facebook’s Cryptocurrency being a stablecoin.

A stablecoin is defined as a cryptocurrency which minimizes the high volatility of cryptocurrencies by being pegged to a fiat currency or an exchange-traded commodity like gold.

The latest details emerging from Facebook insiders have highlighted that India could be the region where the new Cryptocurrency will first be tested.

India currently is facing a confusing Cryptocurrency ban which according to Ajeet Khurana of Zebpay is not really the case. However let’s not forget that India’s growing population, along with high remittances makes it the ideal country to kickstart the Cryptocurrency for testing.

Why India?

India being the second most populous country in the world after China has 1.366 Billion currently living in the country. The median age is 27 years old showcasing that social media such as Facebook and Whatsapp is highly used in the Asian country. The stablecoin could be used to transfer money through the push of a button through WhatsApp, which will be beneficial to the many Indians living abroad sending funds back to their families back home.

India was noted for being the top recipience of remittances with USD 79 billion recorded being sent back home in 2018 according to the World Bank.

Potential of Facebook’s Stable Coin

In India, alone Facebook’s stable coin could create mass adoption of Cryptocurrency. Anthony Pompliano who is actively engaged on Crypto twitter pointed out in December 2018 about India being a big market for Facebook’s stablecoin.

Reversal of Facebook’s Crypto Advertisement Policy

The social media giant has reversed the advertisement policy of a written approval involving Blockchain and Cryptocurrency products and services. However, it still restricts initial coin offerings (ICOs) due to the big scams in the industry. While Cryptocurrency exchanges and mining products and services need to be reviewed beforehand.

These reversals come in at a time when Facebook’s stablecoin project is trending due to financial players such as Visa and Mastercard planning to fund the project.

What makes Facebook’s stable coin even more impressive is the fact that most of the team consists of ex Paypal employees such as the former president of Paypal David Marcus.

Could Paypal’s last few months as the leading Payment processing company come to an end? Let’s wait and see!

Can Price Be Sustained By Store of Value Alone?

Ben Davenport shows some big flaws in the old argument that Bitcoin or other Cryptocurrencies must be used for transactions or have some other form of utility to sustain price. I’m looking at you Roger.

2/ According to Visa, their network did $9 trillion in volume in 2016. Let’s forget about how the internals of the Visa network actually work, and instead run a thought experiment as if Visa ran using a payment coin.

3/ When a user wants to make a payment, let’s assume Visa seamlessly converts dollars to Visa-coins, and then converts back to USD when paying the merchant. This payment cycle in the Visa network takes anywhere from 1-3 days. We’ll assume 3.

4/ If annual volume is $9000 billion, then the amount tied up on average over a 3 day period is 9000 / 365 * 3 = $73 billion. Let’s assume 3x for peak shopping days, giving us about $225B market cap of Visa-coin needed. So far, sounds like reasonably decent base demand.

5/ But… who wants a 3 day settlement period? Surely, if you’re going to take Visa’s business in payments, you need to do way better than that. Let’s say an hour for settlement. Now, the amount of payment coin required plummets by a factor of 72 (= 24 * 3).

6/ Thus, with 1 hour settlement, instead of $225B base demand, the payments use case (at the scale of the entire Visa network, mind you), only generates a measly $3 billion of base demand for the coin. Faster settlement only makes it worse.

7/ You could argue that people will actually hold onto some of this coin longer, in order to do future payments, and that’s true. But willingness to hold should be analyzed separately from direct use in transactions.

8/ Willingness to hold a coin is less dependent on its usability for payments, and more dependent on a belief in stability (low volatility) or expected upside which compensates for higher volatility.

9/ The fact is, a HODLer choosing to hold a coin for even 1 month is 720 times as effective at generating base demand as the payments use case in our example. Payments is not the only use case for coins, but if you don’t have major demand sinks in your model… look out. /fin

Great thread from Ben. Store of value can be incredibly important to sustain the price long term.

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