December 14, 2021
Photo: Bored Ape Yacht Club
Hello and welcome to Protocol | Fintech! This Tuesday: what you can and can’t do with your NFTs, Unit’s Itai Damti on embedded fintech and Binance’s newest regulatory hurdle.
One of the lasting questions about non-fungible tokens, or NFTs‚ is what you get with your NFT. Do you get intellectual property rights, or just the right to say "I own this"?
Some NFT collectors think that IP rights do attach to NFTs, unless the creator or seller says otherwise, says Dorian Banks, CEO of Looking Glass Labs, an NFT design company. “In the NFT space, it really is felt that it’s yours to do what you want — unless licensing or something specifically says you can’t do it.”
The idea is that users add value to an NFT by buying it, re-mixing it as they would with a sample in a music track, and create more public interest in the project.
NFT IP standards aren't settled. But it's clear that norms and expectations among NFT users are different than in the traditional art or creative world.
That rubs some collectors the wrong way. Many believe owners should be able to do what they want with NFTs, including profiting from them.
Companies need to navigate these differing expectations. Nike, which has patented shoes on the blockchain, on Monday announced it was buying NFT and fashion startup RTFKT (pronounced "artifact"). The online backlash came swiftly.
The NFT rights question comes amid a swirling debate over compensating creators. These issues aren’t just being talked about in crypto circles, but also regarding other creator services like Patreon, OnlyFans and Substack. It’s a debate about whether creators should retain rights forever, or whether NFT owners should reap the rewards of participating in and promoting those NFTs for the creators. With NFTs seeping into more of the broader creator world, expect to see these issues heat up.
There’s top sales talent—and then there’s transformational sales talent. The difference between the two is massive. In this episode of Club Revenue, DocuSign’s RVP of Sales, Madalina Paul, shares how to spot the top 1% and how to set them up for success.
“The SEC is demonstrating why it should be nowhere near policing something reasonably described as the next internet.” —New York Post columnist Charlie Gasparino, on the Ripple case and crypto regulation.
“There are all too many projects trying to sidestep international standards … They’re trying to sidestep the anti-money-laundering laws in many countries, or sidestep tax compliance in many countries. But I would note this: Few technologies in history since antiquity can persist for long periods of time outside a public-policy framework.” —SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, in an interview at the WSJ CEO Council Summit.
What problem would you like to see a fintech company solve?
Future winners in software, especially business software, will be built around specific audiences. Over time, these companies will give their one audience software and services that solve for 100% of its needs: insurance, project management, inventory management, website, banking, accounting, payroll, tax, legal services — everything. Company A will do this for tech startups, company B will do this for restaurants. But all these companies, over time, will offer a full bundle of services that their audience needs.
To realize this future, many successful B2B SaaS tools will need to exist behind the scenes in API-based, embeddable forms. Think embeddable Salesforce, Gusto, Asana, Slack and more. I’d like to see someone building an API-based accounting software from scratch — some form of “embeddable Quickbooks.” It’s incredibly complex and there are many challenges. But this type of infrastructure can create really interesting long-term effects and change how accounting data gets collected, managed, analyzed and shared.
What's your favorite pastime that doesn't involve a screen?
Hiking with friends. Nature is the ultimate beauty. It was much more accessible when I lived in Hong Kong and California, but I’m making an effort to immerse myself in it while living in New York. My best Saturdays involve grabbing coffee with friends, hopping into a car and spending a day in the woods. It recharges me and helps me really get to know people.
What's your advice to younger technologists who want to build a career in this field?
Everyone worships technical skills (new), but the ultimate skills are people skills (old). Slow down. Read an old book. Make new friends. Travel. Start conversations with strangers and learn a little about their world. Take an improv class or go to stand-up comedy. Be vulnerable. Get to know yourself better through therapy, personal challenges or meditation. And at work, try to really get to know the person in front of you: a customer, a teammate or your boss.
Robinhood is forming a partnership with Chainalysis. The online trading app is working with the analytics firm to provide trading data and tools for its planned crypto wallet.
Binance is withdrawing its license bid in Singapore. The crypto marketplace, which has faced legal troubles in a number of countries, cited “strategic, commercial and developmental” reasons for the move. It’s still setting up a headquarters in the city-state.
Nick Tostenrude has joined Vesta. The veteran Amazon executive was named chief product officer of the transaction-management software company.
Healthcare.com raised $180 million. The insurance startup’s round was led by Oaktree Capital Management.
Alter raised $1 million. The blockchain-based communications software company’s funding round included investments from Sky Vision Capital, Iconium and Magnus Capital.
Thirdweb raised $5 million. The Web3 software company’s funding round included investments from Gary Vaynerchuk and Mark Cuban.
That’s the percentage of the total bitcoin supply of 21 million coins that has been mined, according to Blockchain.com.
Club Revenue on Nasdaq digs into the strategies driving revenue growth at the highest performing companies. Tune in as Clari’s CMO Cornelius Willis interviews innovative revenue leaders to learn their secrets for optimizing talent and maximizing revenue.