The NFT craze is taking over the digital world; this time, it has set new records. The craze for digitally produced exclusive collectibles, known as NFTs, has made its first billionaires: OpenSea co-founders Alex Atallah and Devin Finzer.
The billionaires and their fortunes
The co-founders of Ethereum-based blockchain startup OpenSea, Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah, are estimated to have a total value of around 2.2 billion (Rs 16,355 crores) with 18 5% stakes in the company, according to Forbes magazine.
The company was founded in 2017 by two entrepreneurs turned digital artists who saw an opportunity to create and sell their work online. As of 5 January 2022, they stand at a value equivalent to over $13 billion (Rs 98 777 crores) after recently securing funding worth 300 million Indian rupees from Paradigm & Coatue.
OpenSea raised funds in a dramatic turn of events when the Winklevoss twins' Nifty Gateway auctioned off high-end NFT assets in February 2021. OpenSea rode the wave, and by July, it had raised USD 100 million (Rs 743 crores) from Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm. Monthly transactions generated a record USD 350 million (Rs 2,602 crores).
In August, OpenSea reached a monthly transaction value of USD 3.4 billion (Rs 25,273 crores) and earned USD 85 million (Rs 632 crores) in commissions. Only in December did the online NFT marketplace generate more than USD 3.3 billion (Rs 24,529 crores) in monthly revenue and earn more than USD 82.5 million (Rs 613 crores) in commission.
Devin Finzer, the CEO of this company, was born and raised in the Bay Area. He attended Brown University before taking up software engineering jobs at Pinterest, where he worked on their search engine claimdog for two years until it was sold to Credit Karma in 2015. Alex Atallah, CTO, previously worked at Palantir, Zugata, and Whatsgoodly.
In 2018, the two collaborated on a startup concept that would pay users in cryptocurrency for sharing their Wi-Fi hotspots. However, the cartoonish cat NFT - CryptoKitties - piqued their interest and led to the creation of OpenSea.
The report by Dappradar.com notes that despite scams and uncertainties in the crypto world, there is still a large amount of potential when it comes to making big money with NFTs - almost USD 23 billion (Rs 170 9800 crores) was transacted through these types during 2021 alone.