Big Companies Enter Web3

In a recent post, I wrote about the companies with giant consumer audiences that have made big commitments to web3. This includes the NBA, NFL, Disney, Warner Bros, and more. These companies have figured out how to bring new products to their fans and use this new technology to monetize their immense intellectual property.

There is another class of companies that have made moves in the web3 space that will help power the next wave of creation. This group will help other businesses bring web3 solutions to market. It currently includes Shopify, Mastercard, Salesforce, and a ton of startups. These are large, trusted companies who work with millions of businesses from the smallest to the absolute biggest. Their offerings will give comfort to business leaders that they can launch web3 products safely to their customers. We have also seen a slew of startups creating new offerings, and I’ll cover a few here.

Let’s start with Shopify, one of the giants in the online commerce space. Millions of businesses use Shopify to sell products and services to their customers. More than 10% of all goods sold on the internet are on stores hosted on the Shopify platform. Last year, the company started a new service to allow businesses to sell NFTs directly on their Shopify stores. Shopify allowed buyers to use credit card for their purchases without a Crypto wallet. They have created a robust service with 10+ minting platforms that can be integrated across Ethereum, Solana, Flow, and Polygon. They also have plug-ins that allow merchants to token gate the purchase of new items, and they included a vendor partner to offer carbon offsets for the energy used to power transactions. I couldn’t find any data on the number of merchants using this new service. Given the time invested by Shopify, it is clear they see the upside here.

Another giant in the small and midsized business space that recently took the plunge into web3 is Salesforce. Their platform has over 150,000 corporate customers. Last week they announced their NFT Cloud service, which will allow companies to mint and sell NFTs to their customers. Details are a little sparse still here, but Salesforce said NFT Cloud “does not support energy-wasting proof-of-work blockchains, resulting in 99% fewer emissions.” The program is currently in pilot testing, and the company said it will be coming soon to all customers.

Mastercard also made news on the NFT front last week, with their announcement that they will be working to make the purchase of NFTs “easier and safer”. They are starting by working with some of the bigger platforms including Immutable X, Candy Digital, The Sandbox, Mintable, Spring, Nifty Gateway, and MoonPay. The credit card giant says they have 2.9 Billion cardholders who will be able to purchase NFTs with partners without owning Crypto. Mastercard had already activated this service with Coinbase’s NFT platform. Mastercard has built a big Crypto team, and you can expect to see more from them soon.

Outside of these big dogs, tons of startups are building platforms for companies to easily mint and sell NFTs to their customers. One I have done some work with here in Atlanta is GigLabs. They offer a site builder for brands and have worked with the Atlanta Hawks, NASCAR, Turner Sports, and many more. The company raised a Seed round led by Dapper Labs, and they use the Flow ecosystem to cheaply mint NFTs. Another company whose product I’ve demo’ed is BILDR. They have worked with DAOs and other Crypto native groups, and they also offer the ability to build websites with minting capabilities. There are dozens of others building in this space, most with some type of niche customer in mind to start.

It will be interesting to see if how this plays out in the coming years. Will the big platform players win the day? Or will a killer product emerge from a well-funded startup? Regardless it’s clear that companies and brands will have plenty of options on how to create NFTs for their customers.

Please follow me on Twitter for more frequent updates on web3.

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