Christie’s has launched a venture capital fund, Christie’s Ventures, to invest in companies creating technical solutions relevant to the art market, including web3 and blockchain. Christie’s also announced its first investment in LayerZero Labs, a company that designs cross-chain applications that enables non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or other assets to be transferred between blockchains.
“The intersections of technology and financial products are increasingly relevant and prevalent, and we believe strongly in the opportunities ahead,” said Christie’s Chief Operating Officer, Ben Gore. “The Christie’s Ventures value proposition combines the power of our brand and capital together with our network and expertise.”
Accordingly, the fund will invest in ‘Web3.0 innovation, art-related financial products and technologies that enable the seamless consumption of art.’ LayerZero Labs will work with Christie’s Ventures to reduce friction in the movement of assets between blockchains.
This is not Christie’s first foray into the crypto space. The company has contributed significantly to bringing NFTs into the mainstream, most notably through the NFT auction of Beeple’s First 5000 Days. It generated widespread publicity as the most expensive NFT at the time when it sold for $69.3 million. Christie’s has recently partnered with OpenSea to curate NFT auctions.
These ventures have not only generated revenue for Christie’s but have also established its digital art credentials while bringing mainstream art investors into the metaverse. Christie’s Ventures arguably represents the next natural step for Christie’s into curating the experience of art in the metaverse.
However, competitor Sotheby’s has taken a different approach. It partnered with platform Mojito to create a metaverse destination for NFTs, even investing in Mojito.
Regardless of whether these approaches will enhance either player’s market dominance, it is clear that NFTs have developed beyond tokenizing art. Rather, it is evolving into the mark of an exclusive club that will only accelerate with the growth of blockchain technology.