update 14 October 2021

Visa Launches Educational Program to Support the NFT Creator Economy

Payment giant Visa has taken many steps towards building out cryptocurrency payment infrastructure. Today, they furthered their endeavors in the crypto industry by launching a program to support NFT artists.

Visa Partners With Micah Johnson

Visa announced their new project in a blog post on Tuesday, showing enthusiasm for how the NFT industry is lifting artists. They give the example of Micah Johnson, and a former MLB player turned NFT artist.

Micah quit his MLB career in 2018 and was having trouble monetizing an art career after that. However, after discovering NFTs in 2019, he built a small business around his blockchain-native character ‘Aku’.

Aku, Micah Johnson's NFT character, wearing a space helmet, exploring a pink and blue futuristic world
‘Aku’ NFT image. Source: Micah Johnson.

Today, Visa has chosen to partner with Micah in executing its new program. The company’s goal is to “help creators understand this [NFT] technology and how to harness public blockchains for producing and selling digital goods.”

Their program will involve sponsoring a small group of aspiring creators and consulting them on using cryptocurrency payment systems. Furthermore, the company will build out each creator’s network among Visa’s existing payment partners. This should help artists grow their brand and business.

Meanwhile, Micah will collaborate with Visa to ensure the company is offering the proper support for artists. The former baseball player says he’s excited about the job:

“I’m excited about the opportunity to work alongside and learn from a trusted brand like Visa. Working together, we want to arm creators with the resources they need to stay at the forefront of this revolution.”

An open application process will determine Visa’s small “inaugural class.” As of now, the two parties have not disclosed further details.

Building Art Careers Using NFTs

According to Micah, NFTs have brought another layer of interactivity to artists worldwide. Also, they provide an avenue for monetizing their work. Instead of mere “likes and shares,” creators like Micah can sell their art as a form of prestigious, digital property.

An excellent example of this came from The State Hermitage Museum in late August. At the time, they launched an NFT collection with Binance featuring digital versions of pre-existing physical art that they owned. The art sold included NFT versions of masterpieces by Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Leonardo Da Vinci. This allowed them to market artwork at starting bids of USD 10k without losing access to the physical property.

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Other major players are taking note of the industry’s potential as well. Yesterday, developers of the infamous BAYC NFT collection announced a deal with Madonna’s talent manager to promote their work.

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