An NFT is a digital asset that reflects physical objects of significance like art, music, in-game items, or videos. They are purchased and sold online, frequently traded with cryptocurrency, and are typically encrypted with the same underlying software like many cryptos.
Despite the fact that they have been around since 2014, NFTs are gaining popularity as a prevalent way to buy and sell digital artwork. Since November 2017, a whopping $174 million has been spent on NFTs. NFTs are also typically one-of-a-kind, or at the very least one of a very limited run, with unique identifying codes.
Here’s a list of some of the celebrated entrepreneurs of the Crypto NFT industry:
- Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah- Opensea
According to Forbes, the co-founders of Ethereum-based blockchain startup OpenSea, Alex Atallah and Devin Finzer, both around 30 years old, have an estimated worth of about $2.2 billion each, with 18.5 percent stakes in the company.
In 2017, the duo launched a platform for making and selling digital assets such as art, music, and sports cards. After the latest round of funding worth USD 300 million by Paradigm and Coatue, the company is estimated to be worth USD 13.3 billion as of 5 January 2022.
- Trung Nguyen- Axie Infinity
Trung Nguyen, then 20, was the chief technical officer and co-founder of aspiring startup Lozi in 2012. Nguyen was intrigued by the accountability provided by Anduin’s platform, so when people in Vietnam began talking about blockchain, it clicked right away. He realized he wanted to create his own game after investing $600 in CryptoKitties. His own game’s player count has now reached 3,500, following the release of the desktop version. Axie Infinity has approximately US$1.1 million in digital asset sales and US$1.8 million in merchandise traded on its marketplace.
- Matt Hall and John Watkinson- CrptoPunks
Source: LinkedIn and Crunchbase
The project was initiated by a group of two Canadian software developers known as “creative technologists,” Matt Hall and John Watkinson. And many of the characteristics they infused into CryptoPunks can be found throughout the NFT scene – any project with a limited mint of 10,000 tokens, such as Bored Apes or Pudgy Penguins, owes them a debt of gratitude. CryptoPunks is now part of the Ethereum aesthetic, and its intellectual property is owned by Larva Labs, the company Hall and Watkinson founded.
- Nicolas Julia- Sorare
Nicolas Julia is a Blockchain business owner. He is the founder and CEO of Sorare, the leading platform for collecting and playing with officially licensed football Crypto-goods. Nicolas began his career in blockchain in 2015, and he previously ran operations at Stratumn, a $8 million VC-backed blockchain startup. Nicolas organizes the meetup Crypto-goods Club, which serves as a forum for all Crypto-goods enthusiasts.
He believes that crypto-goods will usher in a new era of digital ownership and transform the internet.
- Ari Meilich and Esteban Ordano- Decentraland
The Decentraland team was founded by Ari Meilich and Esteban Ordano. Both men have prior experience with software development as well as blockchain technology. The former founded Smart Contract Solutions, Inc., which offered a safe and convenient cryptocurrency trading system. In addition, he was the first to launch Decentraland. They previously worked together at Bitpay and are now in charge of the virtual world’s team. Ufo Gaming is a new project in the same industry as Decentraland.
- Steven Vasilev and Benoit Pagotto- RTFKT
Benoît Pagotto is an entrepreneur who co-founded RTFKT (pronounced artefact) with Steven Vasilev.
Pagotto has been named one of the Metaverse’s 30 most influential people for his contributions. He has collaborated with well-known brands in the gaming and fashion industries. He’s also a brand-building expert and an Esports industry leader.
Vasilev, like Pagotto, has a long history in sales and marketing, having started his first drop-shipping company at the age of thirteen. He has bootstrapped several startups and worked in a variety of areas of company operations, raising seed capital from Angel and VC investors such as Galaxy Digital, A16z (Andreessen Horowitz), and GFR Fund.
- Sean Gearin- Pixel Vault
Sean was born into this world of stories, the son of a well-known producer in Hollywood. Sean has always been driven by a sense of purpose. However, even he was unsure of the specifics of his mission. He traveled across the country in search of answers, going east to the University of Connecticut, west to the University of California Irvine, then to Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, before returning east to the Duke Fuqua School of Business. Sean grew up with a “massive collection” of sports cards. Those cards helped him understand the world of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, ahead of many others, prompting him to tweet that he “could EASILY see the NFT market supplanting the trading card market in the near future.”
- Philip Rosedale — Second Life
Philip Rosedale is an American entrepreneur and the founding member of Linden Lab, the corporation behind Second Life, a virtual online world that obtained huge popularity after its launch in 2003. However, the project was not intended to be a simple virtual reality game. Rosedale’s goal with Second Life was to generate an internet-scale digital space, demonstrating a viable model for a virtual economy and virtual society in which users could create avatars, socialize with other gamers, and create and sell products on the metaverse marketplace.
- Aaron Davis — Metamask
Aaron Davis is the creator of Metamask, a browser plugin that acts as an Ethereum wallet and can be installed in the same way as any other extension. Davis previously worked for Apple Inc. before joining Metamask. Following Metamask‘s 1 million monthly user milestone in 2020, Davis launched a mobile Metamask wallet and the Metamask Swap, which searches multiple decentralised exchanges (DEX) and automated market makers (AMMs) for the best price for a specific token. According to an announcement made by the parent company ConsenSys, Metamask recently surpassed 10 million users, a 1,800 percent increase over the previous year, highlighting a growing interest in cryptocurrencies and decentralised finance (DeFi).
- Alexander Cohen- The Sandbox
Alexander Cohen is the founder and CEO of Sandbox, a virtual reality game based in the United Kingdom. Cohen is a highly skilled technologist who has advised companies and consumers on virtual reality, augmented reality, and other emerging technologies such as the Metaverse.
Sandbox, like Decentraland, is a virtual reality landscape with play-to-earn mechanics. Users can create their own avatars and interact with other players, as well as buy and sell NFTs in the form of collectibles and parcels known as LAND. In February, the company had the highest monthly revenue sales, with a total of $2.8 million in NFTs and LAND sold within the metaverse.
- Ben Nolan —Crypto Voxels
Ben Nolan is the creator and Chief Developer of Cryptovoxels, an Ethereum-based virtual reality world where users buy land and build their own stores or art galleries. Crypto Voxels has been compared to a cross between Minecraft and Facebook, with players able to create limitless scenarios using basic block building but also adding text, images, figs, audio files, scripting, and video streaming. in NFTs and pieces of LAND sold within the metaverse.
- Rob Salha — Zed Run
Rob Salha co-founded the Australia-based Virtually Human Studio, which is responsible for developing Zed Run, an Ethereum-based horse racing game that allows its players to breed, sell and buy their own stable of thoroughbreds and race them on the digital tracks for the chance to win thousands of dollars.
Zed Run recently raised $20 million in Series A funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Red Beard Ventures on July 23, 2021, and has piqued the media’s interest after disclosing $30 million in NFTs sales since its inception in 2019. The horses are NFT-based collectibles that use blockchain technology to record transactions and assign each horse a unique and secure private code.
- David Baszucki – Roblox
David Baszucki, the Founder and CEO of Roblox, has been working for years to bring the gaming industry into the Metaverse. In 2004, he founded Roblox with the goal of connecting the world. Roblox currently has an estimated 20.82 million total subscribed players and approximately 400k daily players. Roblox is now collaborating with well-known brands such as Gucci to create immersive gaming experiences. Roblox recently launched a podcast called “Roblox Tech Talks,” with the first episode, “Step Into The Metaverse,” featuring Baszucki and Roblox‘s CTO Dan Sturman.
- Zach Burks- Mintable
Zach Burks was aware of Cryptocurrency way before plenty of others; he read about it in 2012 and 2013.
When Burks returned to the cryptocurrency space, he decided to start creating smart contracts. Burks has been working on Ethereum for a long time, on a variety of projects. He decided to pivot to NFTs in 2017, and he’s been in the NFT space ever since. He was drawn to the NFT’s versatility and knew he’d found his calling.
Zach Burks has put in a lot of effort in the industry, and he isn’t afraid to brag about it. “If you’ve interacted with NFTs, you’ve probably interacted with my work,” he says flatly. In 2018, he launched Mintable.
- David Moore, Andy Gray and James Morgan- KnownOrigin
David Moore, Andy Gray, and James Morgan are the co-founders of one of Web 3.0’s earliest and fastest growing Ethereum art platforms. They initiated KnownOrigin with a POP-up exhibition event in Manchester a little over two years ago. KnownOrigin is an artist-driven platform that enables digital creators to easily authenticate, showcase, and sell the artwork and collectibles they create.
- Gabby Dizon- Yield Guild Games
Gabby Dizon has more than 18 years of experience in the video game industry. He co-founded Yield Guild Games, a play-to-earn gaming guild and decentralised autonomous organization (DAO) that allows gamers from all over the world to gain access to the NFT game assets required to begin playing blockchain games and earning crypto-based rewards.
Gabby is also a member of the Blockchain Game Alliance’s founding board. Gabby’s mission is to enlist millions of gamers and connect them with prospects in the online realm. He believes that the open Metaverse is the future of work.
The 16 NFT entrepreneurs on this list span sports, gaming, media, marketplaces, and more. They all portray a push toward a new way of life based on Web3 technology and the blockchain.