• The technology platform that powers Sotheby’s NFT Metaverse has raised $20 million

  • Serotonin’s Mojito, an NFT commerce suite, has raised $20 million in funding. The technology is at the heart of the new Sotheby’s Metaverse marketplace, in which the auction house is one of the investors.

    The NFT market isn’t slowing down, as evidenced by $10.67 billion in trading volume in Q3 2021, which is more than four times what it was in the first half of the year. Brands large and small may be considering moves into space, and NFT studios and tech solutions are springing up to assist them. Enter the Mojito.

    Mojito is a Web3 marketing agency and product studio that bills itself as an all-in-one NFT commerce suite. Mojito is the technology platform behind the storied auction house’s recently launched Sotheby’s Metaverse NFT marketplace, and Serotonin announced today that Mojito has spun out of the firm, raising $20 million in funding at a $100 million valuation.

    Mojito, like the new Sotheby’s platform, enables brands and businesses to integrate Ethereum-centric NFT marketplace functionality into their own websites via simple APIs. This allows for everything from NFT minting to royalties, accepting both fiat and crypto payments, gathering know-your-customer (KYC) information, and more.

    CEO Amanda Cassatt and partner Matthew Isles, both alums of Ethereum technology firm and product studio ConsenSys, co-founded Serotonin. (Full disclosure: ConsenSys Mesh contributes to an editorially independent Decrypt.) Serotonin quickly found itself inundated with requests from companies looking to enter the NFT space on their own terms after establishing itself as a crypto industry-focused marketing agency.

    “Brands, intellectual property holders, and rights holders are accustomed to selling goods on their own websites rather than relying on third-party marketplaces,” Cassatt told Decrypt. “They’re used to having a destination that draws their audience and fans or users to their page and encourages them to do business with them.” […] In Web3, we’ve discovered that they all want the same thing.”

    Sotheby’s Metaverse is the first time Mojito has been used—an “extraordinarily smooth, smooth launch,” according to Cassatt—and the auction house is one of the product’s new investors.

    Connect Ventures, an investment partnership between Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and VC firm New Enterprise Associates, joins Sotheby’s in the funding round. Cassatt stated that Mojito will launch marketplaces with CAA, and that both Sotheby’s and CAA will act as “connectors and channel partners” to help bring Mojito to other firms.

    Mojito supports Ethereum NFTs, layer-2 scaling solutions (such as Polygon), and Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible blockchains (like Binance Smart Chain).

    Cassatt stated that Serotonin wanted to be “where the major energy is in the decentralized ecosystem,” referring to Ethereum as the most popular blockchain for NFTs. Mojito could benefit from integrations with decentralized finance protocols and DAOs, or decentralized autonomous organizations, according to her.

    Cassatt claimed that Mojito’s biggest benefit, aside from the ability to create bespoke NFT marketplaces with their own branding, is the simplified functionality—effectively a plug-and-play approach for Web2 firms. “That’s really the big reveal: these web teams at major brands don’t need to know anything about blockchain or Web3 to get started,” she explained.

    NFTs are viewed as a first step toward the creation of the broader metaverse (not the Sotheby’s platform)—that is, the vision of immersive shared online spaces that represent the future of work, play, and social interactions. Mojito is positioned as a way for businesses and brands to enter the burgeoning digital ecosystem while retaining their voice.

    “Brands, companies, and new creators are all really incentivized to create in web3 because it’s instantly global,” Cassatt explained. “There isn’t a supply chain. There are no physical limitations to what you can create. So, in general, I’m pretty optimistic about the metaverse concept.”

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