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[Interview] Blockchain

Korea’s NFTBank to launch NFT funds this year

The startup rapidly grows with data for real-time values of NFTs

By Sep 30, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

NFTBank’s founder and CEO Kim Minsu
NFTBank’s founder and CEO Kim Minsu

The global market of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain-based tokens, which each represent a unique asset such as a piece of art, digital content or media, is rapidly growing.

NFTs market capitalization stood at $14.3 billion as of end-August, according to a blockchain data platform DappRadar. But the actual market was estimated to be much larger than that since the data was based on only the top 100 NFTs in the Ethereum blockchain family.

Investment in NFTs is limited, however, given unclear price information and difficult systematic asset management as the market is still in its infancy.

South Korea’s NFTBank provides solutions to such issues. The startup that began its service in June 2020 is managing clients’ asset of more than 2 trillion won ($1.7 billion).

“We achieved an unrivaled position in the global NFT asset management and valuation sector,” NFTBank’s founder and CEO Kim Minsu told The Korea Economic Daily in an interview on Sept. 29. “We plan to launch a service that combines blue-chip NFTs and sells them in the form of funds within this year."

The startup plans to unveil ‘NFTBank 2.0,’ an upgraded version of the current platform, later this year, according to Kim. The new version is set to launch NFT funds that bundle blue-chip NFTs and add a service to proceed sales of complex NFT sales on behalf of clients.

REAL-TIME VALUATION DATA

NFTBank provides services to show clients’ NFT transaction records, investment profits and portfolio, which are similar with ones offered by financial asset management platforms such as Toss and Banksalad. In addition, NFTBank analyzes values of NFT assets on real-time, attracting many users.

It is hard to get data on the current values of NFT assets since many investors hold them for a long term.

“NFTBank estimates the current value of clients’ NFTs by analyzing data on transactions of similar assets. Satisfaction is high since the accuracy of artificial intelligence’s (AI) algorithms is about 80-90%,” Kim said. “We even suggest the best time to sell specific NFTs though big data analysis.”

Assets owned by NFTBank clients surged to 2.3 trillion won as of Sept. 28 from 330 billion won at end-June and 22 billion won as of end-2020 thanks to growing NFT investment in the globe. But NFTBank was able to attract more customers with market talk of its “excellent service,” Kim said.

Major players in the global NFT-blockchain industry invested in NFTBank. In April, it raised money in seed funding from investors such as Digital Currency Group, one of the largest private investors in blockchain and digital asset companies, and Hashed, a blockchain investor. Earlier, Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s prominent incubator and startup find, proposed an investment in NFTBank.

Most of NFTBank’s clients are foreigners with 80% from the US and 10% from Europe since investment in NFTs are popular in the West.

Kim expected more South Korean to join the move, saying “NFTs’ value is high as they play a role of a financial system in cyber spaces such as metaverse.”

Write to Min-Jun Suh at morandol@hankyung.com

Jongwoo Cheon edited this article.

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