OST Invests in Unsplash — to Create the new Currency for Photography — $OST @Unsplash

Unsplash and OST team up to reinvent, decentralize, and democratize photography.

Today is an exciting day for Simple Token, “OST” — and for the entire blockchain community — as we are announcing OST’s investment in Unsplash, the world’s leading photography platform. Unsplash served more than 5.4 Billion photo views in January, up more than 300% from 12 months ago. Together we are going to tokenize these billions of photo events, bring blockchain to the mainstream, and create the new currency for photography.

Unsplash may not be a household name (yet) but Unsplash photos are found everywhere. If you’ve read a blog or Medium post, viewed a Twitter cover page, worked in Trello or Google Slides, or just browsed the web and used your favorite apps, chances are you’ve come across Unsplash photos — 2083 Unsplash photos are viewed online every second.

Unsplash is the undisputed market leader in high quality, free to use, digital photography. 24,550 developers integrate the Unsplash API to make high-resolution photos available to their users and in their apps to the tune of 5.7 billion API requests and counting. Just last week Unsplash announced full integration of its photo search for writers here on Medium.

OST and Unsplash will tokenize these billions of photo views and turbocharge the Unsplash mission to democratize the market for high quality professional digital photography.

OST is teaming up with Unsplash because we believe in the team, we love the immensely valuable product and community they have already developed, and we want to help enable their vision. Three years ago Unsplash founders Mikael Cho (CEO), Stephanie Liverani, and Luke Chesser, recognized that digital photography will evolve differently from print photography: more decentralized, more distributed, more fair, and more open. In the print world walled gardens and pay-per-use ruled the day; in the digital world reach and influence opens up a whole new world of possibilities. In the print world a small group of professional photographers made money selling their photos; in the digital world everyone’s a creative and exposure is the new currency.

By setting images free, Unsplash has created exponentially more value for more photographers vs. pay-per-use stock photography marketplaces. Unsplash helps photographers get noticed, distribute their works, build their reputations, grow their influence, and drive their businesses.

Today, a photo featured on Unsplash is seen more than a photo on any other platform. More than on Instagram. Photographers from all over the world have contributed over 400,000 photos to Unsplash, moving hundreds of millions of creative acts forward, while each photo serves as a living billboard for the power of the medium and the talent of the creator.

The growth rate of Unsplash is staggering; Unsplash photo views and downloads are up 1000% over the past 2 years. In the surest sign that the Unsplash model of setting images free is having an impact and disrupting markets, earnings per photographer on pay-per-download stock photography marketplaces has been cut in half during that same period. A new currency for photography is primed to emerge.

Blockchain technology is a perfect fit for Unsplash. The existing online stock marketplaces simply brought the old print model online. Unsplash and OST will utilize blockchain to create the new model and the new currency for photography.

We will get into the exact details of how OST and Unsplash will work together in subsequent posts. Today I just want to say thank you to Mikael, Stephanie, Luke, and the entire Unsplash team for allowing OST and myself to get involved in your amazing vision. 9 months ago a prominent crypto investor asked me to name one company that I would most want to partner with to showcase our vision for OST as the enabler of mainstream adoption of blockchain technology. Without hesitation I said, “Unsplash” — the opportunity to utilize blockchain technology to further the Unsplash mission and democratize photography is clear, attainable, of massive scale, and immediately actionable.


Details on Today’s News

OST, the blockchain technology company behind the “Simple Token” project has led a $7.25M investment round in Unsplash, the world’s leading curated marketplace for high quality, free to use images.

Read Unsplash CEO Mikael Cho’s Medium post on the Financing here.

OST invested $5M in the round in a combination of 80% $USD cash and 20% OST tokens.

I will be joining the Board of Directors of Unsplash.

Unsplash is in continued discussions with additional potential investors and the round could grow to as large as $10M over the next months.

Unsplash and OST intend to tokenize and empower the Unsplash community with blockchain technology, while retaining the open, free-to-use principles that have led to Unsplash’s massive growth.

Based on Unsplash’s 5 billion plus monthly photo viewing events, we believe this investment partnership marks the largest mass market consumer web-service Blockchain tokenization project ever announced.

Unsplash is the market leader in high quality, free to use, digital photography, and is the the fastest-growing photography platform since Instagram.

  • 5.4 billion+ photos viewed per month
  • 10 photos downloaded per second
  • 48 billion+ photo views and 310M+ photo downloads since 2013
  • 28 million+ photo downloads per month
  • 5.6 billion+ API calls from developers integrating Unsplash into their apps
  • API per month: 442 million API calls per month

In addition to OST, notable new Unsplash investors include:

Existing Unsplash investors participating in the round include:


About OST

OST is building the complete blockchain toolkit for business.

Our ambition is to be the blockchain technology partner of choice for businesses of all sizes and levels of technical sophistication, enabling any business to create, launch, and manage their own branded digital token economy powered by OpenST protocols and OST blockchain management software. The OpenST protocol enables companies to launch branded token economies on highly scalable, open, cryptographically auditable side blockchains. OST is actively investing in an ecosystem of developers and apps built on OST, to help drive requirements from actual use cases.

Unsplash is the 22nd partnership announced to-date for OST and the largest by far. We hope to showcase Unsplash as an example of how mainstream companies with consumer-grade transaction volumes can embrace blockchain with OST and the OpenST protocol.

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