NFT digital art marketplace MakersPlace announced a Series A investment of $30 million, led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Pantera Capital. Other participants include Sony Music Entertainment, Eminem, and many others.
One of the challenges facing digital artists is it’s hard to protect and authenticate art that is displayed virtually. Artists promoting their work cannot prevent people from taking a screenshot and trying to sell it as their own.
MakersPlace was launched in 2018 as a platform to support digital artists. Besides providing the stage for commercializing the creations, MakersPlace mints them as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs don’t prevent people from printing digital art and appreciating it for free. However, the technology enables digital artists to protect their intellectual property and can help prevent fraudulent behavior of selling someone else’s work without authorization. However, that can still happen if the buyer isn’t careful.
A digital artist reported to CNN Business that people had auctioned off some of his art as an NFT without his permission. As more artists mint their pieces as NFTs through platforms like MakersPlace, crimes like this should become less common.
MakersPlace had an important role in the $69 million auction at Christie’s of Beeple’s Everyday: The First 5000 Days piece. MakersPlace co-founder Ryoma Ito approached Christie’s with the idea to sell Beeple’s artwork as an NFT. The platform was also responsible for minting it on blockchain.
The success of the auction at Christie’s in early March likely contributed to MakersPlace’s success throughout this year. The number of collectors using the platform grew ten times in 2021, and it facilitated over $100 million in transactions.
The investment will be used to further improve the platform, to support digital artists and explore ways to bring art NFTs to a more mainstream audience.
Meanwhile, several other NFT marketplaces have also secured funding recently. Last month OpenSea raised a Series B of $100 million, and Mark Cuban backed the $13 million Series A for Mintable. In June, Rarible raised $14 million.