India's largest Cryptocurrency Exchange WazirX to launch NFT Marketplace

India's largest Cryptocurrency Exchange WazirX to launch NFT Marketplace

WazirX, India's largest cryptocurrency exchange, will launch a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) marketplace on Tuesday, featuring exclusive artwork by well-known photographers, artists, and mixed media professionals from India and other South Asian countries.

NFTs are a one-of-a-kind digital representation of an art form that exists on a blockchain.

While Ethereum is the most popular blockchain for minting NFTs globally, WazirX will use the blockchain technology of its parent company Binance.

NFTs rose to prominence following a series of high-profile sales this year, including one by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey of his first tweet for more than $2 million, and the landmark purchase of an NFT artwork by Vignesh Sundaresan for more than $69 million at a Christie's auction in March.

Interestingly, collectors can only buy NFTs on WazirX's marketplace using the platform's native token WRX, which has a one-billion-unit supply limit. At the moment, one WRX token is worth Rs 104.

WazirX will charge a 5% service fee on the sale price, with creators receiving 95% of the proceeds.

The added use case for WRX, a utility token, will lead to its “international expansion”, WazirX founder Nischal Shetty told ET in an exclusive interaction.

“Depending on how well the platform does and how the adoption is, I am sure it will reflect on the prices. But I think what is more important is to bring in use cases because, in the long term, a token is more useful when you can use it in multiple ways,” Shetty said.

During its beta phase, the platform will launch with a "fixed price" model, allowing artists to charge a royalty fee of up to 15% on resale of their work.

The ability to earn in perpetuity from a single piece of artwork has piqued the interest of artists in India and around the world in establishing NFTs.

“Secondary sales are a game-changer. Artists can end up making 10 times the amount than the initial sale price,” said Amrit Pal Sigh, 31, an avid collector and creator of the NFT art form.

Singh has been a professional artist for nine years and began minting his work in February. Among the benefits he mentions is exposure to a global audience.

NFTs, like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, have come under scrutiny around the world due to the environmental costs associated with them. The platform eliminates electricity costs by using the WRX token on Binance Smart Chain, and the per-transaction cost for minting and purchasing the NFT is less than $1.

The “auction” model will be added to WazirX's NFT marketplace in the near future as the company plans to bring on big names in the music and creator space.

The platform's phased launch will begin with 15 popular artists and creators whose work will be displayed in the 'Spotlight' category, which has been vetted and curated by WazirX, and a 'Discover' tab, where 50 creators from a whitelist of 300 will be added every day. The platform will support images and video files up to 100 MB in its beta phase.

WazirX will leave the terms and conditions of sale up to the artist. Painters and creators who work with physical objects have the option of tying the NFT to the physical sale of the artwork.

WazirX has also committed $50,000 in WRX as giveaways and cashback for collectors who use the platform to purchase NFTs.

According to Vishakha Singh, Advisor, NFT Marketplace, WazirX, the company received 15,000 applications, 11,000 of which were from creators. The collector applications were mostly global, and the creators came from all ages.