NFTs exploded into the public consciousness last year, growing from a ~$50m market in 2019, to a ~$40bn market last year. While initially interest was predominantly concentrated in collectables, we at Fabric have been highly focused on the broader potential of this nascent asset class, which we believe will encompass the likes of gaming, identity, culture, speculation, and utility (such as community access, loyalty or ticketing).
As these ecosystems expand, we believe that verticalized marketplaces are best placed to service consumers, providing a tailored experience that can best appeal to the digital community it looks to serve. This is not necessarily an obvious development; the open and compostable blockchain could hypothetically allow few players to leverage economies of scale, particularly if it was able to dominate the provision of liquidity, as the likes of Uniswap and Fabric portfolio company 1inch do with fungible tokens.
However, the variety of potential use cases for NFTs, and the different desires of the users and communities that engage with them, mean that some level of verticalization and specialization is inevitable. This is a thesis we have already seen start to play out in gaming, as shown by our portfolio companies Sorare and Immutable, who both have thriving NFT marketplaces, leveraging Starkware’s zk rollup technology to provide a cheap and scalable experience focused around their particular set of customers.
Latin America represents a huge opportunity for NFTs. The coordination, community and expression that NFTs can represent are hallmarks of the culture of the region, which combined with a fast growing, young and digitally native population set the scene for digital good adoption.
However, to date this opportunity has been little served. Cryptocurrency and NFT usage has lagged behind other regions, despite the natural synergies. High fraud rates, varied local payments methods, language, local regulations, differences in how consumers interface with the digital economy, and lack of catering to relevant local cultural tastes via relevant curation have all contributed, leaving the space open for a native LATAM company to plant its flag as the go-to marketplace.
We have seen this story before. Latin America has traditionally found its own companies to truly deliver the promise of new technologies in the region, particularly in handling new payment rails and financial developments (Mercado Libre for e-commerce, but also fintechs such as Nubank and C6, Despegar for traveltech, and Rappi for Logtech).
Minteo is well placed to be the team that can solve those current issues and unlock the NFT market for Latin America. In Santiago, Javier, William and Sebastian, they have multiple time co-founders from the region, who have built companies to successful exit, in particular in the payments and on-ramping arena, where they have worked with many of the main payments providers. Their domain expertise around payments methods and KYC will be invaluable in providing a user experience which is seamless, adoptable, and regulatory compliant across the continent.
Furthermore, Minteo is building an experience that is expressly tailored for the requirements of their audience. Alongside handling local payment methods and on-ramping, they are mobile-first, catering to a market that overwhelmingly uses mobile for ecommerce (and able to sidestep the well publicized issues with the Apple app store given that company’s lack of penetration in Latin America). They are also building on Solana, to take advantage of the cheap fees, a necessary piece for a price-sensitive audience, as well as providing local content, in local languages.
Minteo are not just able to provide a seamless platform for new content creators and artists to reach Latin American consumers and communities, akin to a Latin American Opensea or Magic Eden, but also open and provide the infrastructure and local payment methods for more general NFT-based commerce and loyalty. From concert tickets, to tokenised loyalty and engagement, Minteo will be able leverage their technology to service companies across the spectrum who wish to use NFT rails to engage their customers.
We are excited to work with Minteo as they launch their vision to bring NFT and web3 to LATAM!
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