As Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) have grown in stature, it seems that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology have the potential to change the future of banking. Amid growing economic uncertainty, some institutions have begun to move away from a centralized financial system to a more decentralized system utilizing blockchain technology. In simple terms, a blockchain acts as a unique identifier for a digital asset and makes it function as a physical item. It does this by recording a detailed transaction history of said digital item, including who first acquired it, who was it sold to, how much it was sold for, and when the purchase was made. Blockchains are efficient and extremely secure as they are immutable, meaning they cannot be changed. Scienjoy Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: SJ), Square, Inc. (NYSE: SQ), 500.com Limited (NYSE: WBAI), Liquid Media Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: YVR), Funko, Inc. (NASDAQ: FNKO)
Similar to cryptocurrencies, NFTs also use a blockchain network. NFTs are similar to physical pieces of artwork that can be sold and have a traceable origin, except they must be purchased using cryptocurrencies and are digitized. As for the use of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology in governmental institutions, the city of Miami has stepped forward to take a leading role, as local Commissioners recently voted to study moving certain municipal financial transactions to Bitcoin, which would allow city workers to be paid in cryptocurrency, while residents could likewise use it to pay for city services, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Scienjoy Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: SJ) announced earlier this month that, “through its wholly owned subsidiary, Scienjoy Inc., it has entered into a strategic alliance (the “Alliance”) via a Master Services Agreement with Snipp Interactive Inc. (“Snipp”) (TSX-V: SPN; OTC: SNIPF), a global provider of digital marketing promotions, rebates, and loyalty solutions. Through the Alliance, both parties will explore different ways of incorporating Snipp’s Customer Acquisition, Retention and Engagement (C.A.R.E) platform into Scienjoy’s suite of mobile applications. The initial cooperative exploration between both parties are expected to focus on the following two areas:
First, Scienjoy will combine its in-app currency solution with Snipp’s loyalty and rewards engine to develop a new loyalty and rewards system. This will enable Scienjoy to augment its user experience, cultivate additional revenue streams, and explore the potential of using cryptocurrencies on its platform. As part of this system, Scienjoy will utilize Snipp’s platform to provide Scienjoy’s broadcasters and users with more opportunities to earn points through engagement. Broadcasters and users will be able to redeem these points for various digital rewards, including Scienjoy’s virtual currency, Bitcoin gift cards, retailer gift cards, trinkets, and more. Beyond enhancing Scienjoy’s user acquisition, retention, and engagement capabilities, this new loyalty and rewards system will also serve as an additional monetization channel for the Company, as third-party brands interested in reaching Scienjoy’s sizable user base will be able to sponsor events, broadcasters, and live broadcasts through the system.
Second, both parties will work together to enable broadcasters to mint their own non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) on Scienjoy’s platform and allow users to utilize the points they have accumulated through the new loyalty and rewards system to bid on and purchase NFT “momentos” from their favorite broadcasters. In addition to strengthening the relationships between broadcasters and their fans, this initiative will provide broadcasters with more monetization opportunities, augment broadcaster loyalty, and attract more new creative talent to Scienjoy’s platform.
Mr. Victor He, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Scienjoy, commented, ‘With approximately 250 million users and 300,000 broadcasters across our ecosystem, we are well-positioned to help our partners increase their outreach efficacy. Snipp’s cutting-edge technology and loyalty solutions will serve to further strengthen our value propositions for users and broadcasters alike. Our decision to explore the usage of both cryptocurrencies and NFTs through this strategic alliance further underscores our commitment to integrating those solutions that are new, innovative, aligned with our business objectives, and capable of fueling our long-term growth trajectory.’
Mr. Atul Sabharwal, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Snipp, commented, ‘We are excited to partner with Scienjoy and leverage its established infrastructure to make our initial foray into the Chinese market. By connecting to Scienjoy’s substantial user base and talented broadcaster pool, we will be able to provide our portfolio of global brands and Fortune 500 clients with highly targeted marketing programs in the region. We continue to receive interest from markets outside of North America and look forward to building our presence in these areas going forward.'”
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Square, Inc. (NYSE: SQ) reported earlier this year that it has purchased approximately 4,709 bitcoins at an aggregate purchase price of USD 50 Million. Square believes that cryptocurrency is an instrument of economic empowerment and provides a way for the world to participate in a global monetary system, which aligns with the company’s purpose. The investment represents approximately one percent of Square’s total assets as of the end of the second quarter of 2020. “We believe that bitcoin has the potential to be a more ubiquitous currency in the future,” said Square’s Chief Financial Officer, Amrita Ahuja. “As it grows in adoption, we intend to learn and participate in a disciplined way. For a company that is building products based on a more inclusive future, this investment is a step on that journey.”
500.com Limited (NYSE: WBAI) announced earlier this month that it has completed its acquisition of bitcoin mining machines owned by certain non-U.S. persons in exchange for an aggregate of 11,882,860 newly-issued Class A ordinary shares valued at US$1.21 per share, corresponding to US$12.10 per American Depositary Share (“ADS”) (based on the ratio of ten ordinary shares per ADS), the closing trading price of the Company’s ADSs on January 8, 2021. This transaction was previously announced on January 11, 2021. The bitcoin mining machines acquired in this transaction (the “Bitcoin Mining Machines”) include such models as the S17, T17, M20s and S9.
Liquid Media Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: YVR) announced on March 31st, plans to create the first of its kind multi-token IP platform. Liquid is engaged in partnership discussions for platform engineering with CurrencyWorks. “Tokenization offers multiple benefits for content creators and we believe our multi-token platform will transform the entire media industry,” said Ron Thomson, CEO of Liquid Media. “With it, creative professionals can drive new revenue streams based on digital NFT exclusives and collectibles, increase audience engagement, gamify their intellectual property, guarantee recurrent licensing fees using smart contracts, offer subscription access via utility tokens, raise project financing through security tokens and more, all through a single platform. We are extremely excited by the ongoing revenue and portfolio opportunities for Liquid over the long term and look forward to a rapid adoption of this forward-facing technology.”
Funko, Inc. (NASDAQ: FNKO) announced this month it has acquired a majority ownership stake in TokenWave, LLC, the developer of TokenHead, a leading mobile app and website for showcasing and tracking Non-Fungible Token (“NFT”) holdings. TokenHead is available on iOS and Android, and currently displays over 10 million NFTs and has more than 100,000 visits per day. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed. The investment accelerates Funko’s initial entry into the NFT market and will extend the Company’s pop culture platform to include digital assets. Funko expects to launch its initial NFT offerings in June, featuring a unique property each week at a starting price point of $9.99. Products will be sold on the WAX platform, the leading decentralized wallet on the blockchain, which provides verifiable authenticity for purchases of Funko NFTs.