Americana chip turns physical objects into NFTs

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NFTs are used for much more than just proving you own a JPEG file online. Americana TechnologiesThe startup, founded early last year by designer Jake Frey, allows brands and creators to turn physical items like streetwear, collectibles, cars and artwork into NFTs.

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The main product of the startup is a universal NFTA chip that can be attached to a physical object and link this object to the blockchain. According to Frey, the traditional art world provides a useful example. Imagine walking up to a piece of art, you can scan it with your phone and see its entire internet presence and ownership history appear on the screen — that’s how the chip turns any object into an NFT, he explained.

NFT startup Americana Technologies website

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An image of the NFT startup Americana Technologies website. Image credits: Americana Technologies

The value of recording information about a physical object on a blockchain lies in the ability of NFTs to prove the authenticity and provenance of an item, as well as provide a method by which the artist or creator of that object can receive royalties every time it changes hands.

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“When we talk about NFT, there are images, songs, videos and all that, but a kind of light bulb [for Americana] was that all these things are files,” Frey said. “Sure, files are very easy to share online, but what about everything else?”

According to Frey, digital artists and creators like illustrators and 3D designers have made millions from NFT rollouts, but overall they are a small minority of creators. The original idea for Americana came from Frey’s thoughts on how the “remaining 99% of creators” who are not digitally focused but instead create physical objects could benefit from NFT technology, he added. Frey declined to say the number of customers the company has today, as well as the number of creators using its platform.

Americana just raised $6.9 million in seed funding led by venture capital firm Alexis Ohanian. Seven Seven Six featuring NFT marketplace OpenSea and rapper Future, the company said.

Ohanian, who co-founded the social media forum Reddit, makes sense to partner with the fledgling firm because of his experience in building, growing and monetizing online communities, Frey said.

“There are different use cases for transactions [through Americana], and then something like collecting or flaunting, probably like showing off. The average American household actually has several thousand dollars worth of assets, and for the first time in history, you can put all that stuff online and just show off all the cool stuff you have in real life. are already of great value, and huge communities have already been built around them,” said Frey.

Frey plans to use the funds to expand the 13-person team to include engineers and designers, and to build a product focused on creating physical representations of digital assets. The company currently only supports NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, Frei said, but is looking into integrating with Solana and other chains as it grows.

“Our goal is to bring these [physical and digital] worlds, so approaching it from both sides is definitely something we want to do,” said Frey.

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