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Beeple launches NFT marketplace, partners with Universal, Warner Music, IMG

andy murray

Digital artist Mike Winklemann, commonly known as Beeple, co-founded a non-fungible token (NFT) venture, WENEW, that aims to use blockchain to recognize iconic moments in history. The first NFT it plans to mint will celebrate tennis player Andy Murray’s win at Wimbledon in 2013. 

WENEW has already partnered with TIME, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Wasserman and Endeavor. Endeavor’s IMG brokered the rights to mint the first NFT on the platform relating to Andy Murray’s win. Meanwhile, TIME will be a curation partner that helps WENEW identify iconic moments to release on the platform. 

Whether it was coincidental or not, Beeple seems to have added fuel to the NFT hype earlier this year by selling a digital art piece at Christie’s for $69 million. 

The public’s interest in the technology seems to have declined as shown in the graph below. Nevertheless, new NFT ventures are being announced almost daily.

Beeple’s WENEW seems to differentiate itself from other offers because it is commercializing cultural moments. It is similar to Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot highlight reel NFTs. However, the moments will relate to pieces of history and encompass various industries. The concept behind it is a celebration of remarkable achievements and experiences. 

“NFTs represent a new paradigm, not just in how people can invest their money but in how we conceive of our shared experience and how we celebrate remarkable achievements,” said Beeple. “They give people a way to meaningfully engage with the memories and moments that matter to them — maybe even inspired them or shaped who they are in some way. WENEW exists to facilitate and make concrete these once-abstract connections.” 

The Andy Murray NFT auction winner will also have access to VIP perks such as playing tennis with Murray at Wimbledon, a behind-the-scenes tour, and two tickets to the men’s final in 2022. The auctioneers are therefore selling a whole experience as opposed to just an NFT.

For this auction, WENEW will also release larger editions of 20, 50, 100 and 500 NFTs backed by Murray’s trophy lift, victory interview, runner-up speech, and a highlight reel of best shots. 

WENEW will run on Ethereum, which has high gas costs (although they’ve declined a bit) and is not viewed as the most environmentally friendly blockchain available. However, WENEW will build the NFTs on Polygon, an Ethereum scaling solution that reduces the environmental impact and the costs. The venture will also partner with Open Earth Foundation to establish practices that minimize energy-intensive transactions. 

Meanwhile, NFT marketplace Rarible just raised $14.2 million in funding that will be used to take NFTs mainstream, NFT gaming company Mythical Games raised $75 million, and NFT startup Bitski raised $19 million.