Mintbase Raises $1M Seed Round to Bring NFTs to NEAR Protocol

Lisbon-based non-fungible token (NFT) platform Mintbase has closed a $1 million seed funding round.

The round, led by Chinese venture capital firm Sino Global and with participation from D1 Ventures, Block Oracle Capital, Arweave and angel investors, is meant to help Mintbase stand out from a growing pack of NFT platforms.

“Being a marketplace is really an afterthought,” Mintbase CEO Nate Geier said in an interview. “The goal was to build the best minter out there, and we did that.” 

The new funding allows the team to actively hire developers and designers to prepare for a testnet launch on NEAR before the end of this year. Building on NEAR will be in addition to its continued work on Ethereum. Geier also hinted that a governance token may be in the works. 

What differentiates Mintbase from similar NFT marketplaces such as SuperRare, Rarible or OpenSea, Geier says, is the lack of focus on one specific category of NFT. 

“They get more publicity and we get more usage,” he added, pointing out that many people log onto Mintbase to mint their NFTs only to trade them on OpenSea.

The NFT ticketing platform that launched Ethereum in 2019 decided to expand to other networks in July due to high gas costs, adding competing smart-contract blockchain NEAR Protocol to the mix. When travel and events came to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team behind Mintbase looked to other use cases for NFTs, like partnering with permanent storage network Arweave. 

“We’re just scratching the surface of what we can do with NFTs,” said Mintbase co-founder Carolin Wend. “Now that we’re getting to the point of lower transaction fees, that will be huge for mass adoption.” 

Investor Sino Global Capital said in a tweet thread, “We weren’t interested in just acquiring a few NFTs for a few trades. We are investing to support their vision with our China-centric network.”

Update (Nov. 19, 0:02 UTC): Mintbase is not leaving Ethereum, it is building on NEAR as well. The story has been updated for clarity.

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