Protocol | Fintech

Coinbase will start offering NFTs in a bid to reach the 'creator economy'

The crypto company vows to make buying, selling and minting digital assets more intuitive.

A person with a phone taking photos at a gallery

Coinbase said users will be able to mint, showcase and buy NFTs.

Photo: Miguel Candela/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Coinbase will be making NFTs available on its crypto marketplace, marking a bid to expand its reach in the "creator economy," the company said Tuesday.

Coinbase said users will be able to mint, showcase and buy NFTs, which are unique digital records of photos, videos, audio files and artworks. NFTs are a fast-growing segment of the crypto industry, with sales volume soaring to $2.5 billion in the first half of 2021, up from $13.7 million in the year-ago period.

Coinbase, one of the biggest crypto marketplaces in the world, said it hopes to make NFTs more accessible by "building intuitive interfaces that put the complexity behind the scenes."

"The excitement surrounding NFTs is high," the company said in a statement. "But if you've tried to create or purchase an NFT, you've probably found the user experience lacking. … Creating an NFT should be as simple as tapping a few buttons. Anything more complicated is a barrier to unleashing your creativity."

Coinbase cited the broad appeal and market potential of NFTs as the motivation behind its new service, which recently led Visa to purchase CryptoPunk #7610 and led DJ Justin Blau to roll out a new business model for musicians. The company said users can join a waitlist for early access to its NFT service.

"Artists have used NFTs to shake-up the traditional art world," the company said in its statement. "Industries such as fashion, gaming, and music have begun to recognize the power of NFTs to unlock new types of creativity and ownership."

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, who covers Coinbase, said the move will likely strengthen its position in a growing market. The new offering is "another notch on the belt for Coinbase and further paves the path for crypto around this NFT demand explosion," he told Protocol.

Rob Siegel, a management lecturer at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, said Coinbase is entering a space that clearly has strong momentum. But he argued that the future of NFTs is still up in the air.

"But I have to wonder at what point people will want to value something that someone has 'blessed' as the original item of something that can be replicated exactly," he told Protocol. "So, as long as someone is willing to pay for NFTs — fine. But there is no inherent value in them. But VCs and the media sure like talking about this."

Protocol | Workplace

Hybrid work is here to stay. Here’s how to do it better.

We've recovered from the COVID-19 digital collaboration whiplash. Now we must build a more intentional model for hybrid work.

This is a call to managers to understand the mundane or unwanted projects their employees face, and what work excites them.

Photo: Adobe

Ashley Still is Adobe's Senior Vice President of Digital Media – Marketing, Strategy & Global Partnerships.

When COVID-19 hit, we were forced into a fully digital mode of business operation. Overnight, we adopted available remote work tools — even if imperfect, they were the best tools for the job.

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Ashley Still
As Senior Vice President, Digital Media – Marketing, Strategy & Global Partnerships, Ashley Still leads product marketing and business development for Adobe's flagship Creative Cloud and Document Cloud offerings. This includes iconic software brands such as Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat. Her expanded remit now includes Adobe's strategic partnership work with technology companies globally, including Apple, Microsoft and Google; and driving Adobe's fast-growing mobile app business. Her team is also responsible for the demand generation marketing campaigns that makes Adobe the market-leader, across creative and document productivity segments. Previously she was Vice President and General Manager, Adobe Creative Cloud for Enterprise. Here her team delivered an integrated content creation, collaboration and publishing solution that securely enables brands to create exceptional design and content. Prior to this, Ashley was Senior Director of Product & Marketing for Adobe Primetime, an Internet television platform used by Comcast, Turner, NBC Sports and other global media companies to deliver TV content and dynamic advertising to any Internet device. Under Ashley's leadership, Adobe Primetime won an Emmy Award for the Adobe Pass TV-Everywhere service. Ashley joined Adobe in 2004 following her internship with the company and held several product management positions for Adobe Photoshop. Still earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and her Masters degree from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The way we work has fundamentally changed. COVID-19 upended business dealings and office work processes, putting into hyperdrive a move towards digital collaboration platforms that allow teams to streamline processes and communicate from anywhere. According to the International Data Corporation, the revenue for worldwide collaboration applications increased 32.9 percent from 2019 to 2020, reaching $22.6 billion; it's expected to become a $50.7 billion industry by 2025.

"While consumers and early adopter businesses had widely embraced collaborative applications prior to the pandemic, the market saw five years' worth of new users in the first six months of 2020," said Wayne Kurtzman, research director of social and collaboration at IDC. "This has cemented collaboration, at least to some extent, for every business, large and small."

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Kate Silver

Kate Silver is an award-winning reporter and editor with 15-plus years of journalism experience. Based in Chicago, she specializes in feature and business reporting. Kate's reporting has appeared in the Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic's CityLab, Atlas Obscura, The Telegraph and many other outlets.

Protocol | Workplace

Meet the productivity app influencers

Within the realm of productivity influencing, there is a somewhat surprising sect: Creators who center their content around a specific productivity app.

People are making content and building courses based off of their favorite productivity apps.

Photos: Courtesy

This is the creators' internet. The rest of us are just living in it. We're accustomed to the scores of comedy TikTokers, beauty YouTubers and lifestyle Instagram influencers gracing our feeds. A significant portion of these creators are productivity gurus, advising their followers on how they organize their lives.

Within the realm of productivity influencing, there's a surprising sect: Creators who center their content around a specific productivity app. They're a powerful part of these apps' ecosystems, drawing users to the platform and offering helpful tips and tricks. Notion in particular has a huge influencer family, with #notion gaining millions of views on TikTok.

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Lizzy Lawrence

Lizzy Lawrence ( @LizzyLaw_) is a reporter at Protocol, covering tools and productivity in the workplace. She's a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied sociology and international studies. She served as editor in chief of The Michigan Daily, her school's independent newspaper. She's based in D.C., and can be reached at llawrence@protocol.com.

Payments Infrastructure

Power Index: Payments Infrastructure

A data-driven ranking of the most powerful players in tech — and the challengers best positioned to disrupt them.

Welcome back to the Protocol Power Index, a ranking of the most powerful companies by tech industry subsector, as well as the companies best positioned to challenge them. This time: payments infrastructure.

The payments stack has been evolving dramatically in the last decade with the rise of ecommerce and new forms of money transfers, and though it's a sector that's been touched by Midas through each of its iterations, there's somehow still space for newcomers to be minted. Payments giants have ceded coveted territory to new market entrants during the process, but they are hardly down for the count.

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Hirsh Chitkara
Hirsh Chitkara (@ChitkaraHirsh) is a researcher at Protocol, based out of New York City. Before joining Protocol, he worked for Business Insider Intelligence, where he wrote about Big Tech, telecoms, workplace privacy, smart cities, and geopolitics. He also worked on the Strategy & Analytics team at the Cleveland Indians.
Consumer Trading Platforms

Power Index: Consumer Trading Platforms

A data-driven ranking of the most powerful players in tech — and the challengers best positioned to disrupt them.

Welcome back to the Protocol Power Index, a ranking of the most powerful companies by tech industry subsector, as well as the companies best positioned to challenge them. This time: consumer trading platforms.

In early 1998, E-Trade customers were paying an average commission of $19.62 per trade. That statistic looks quaint now that a growing cohort of younger retail traders would balk at paying anything for a trade. It also shows just how much Robinhood's commission-free model has disrupted the consumer trading platforms space since the late 2010s.

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Hirsh Chitkara
Hirsh Chitkara (@ChitkaraHirsh) is a researcher at Protocol, based out of New York City. Before joining Protocol, he worked for Business Insider Intelligence, where he wrote about Big Tech, telecoms, workplace privacy, smart cities, and geopolitics. He also worked on the Strategy & Analytics team at the Cleveland Indians.
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