Non-fungible tokens are ready to get more interactive, according to one firm that’s working to create “intelligent” versions.
Alethea AI, which allows users to embed AI animation, interaction, and voice synthesis capabilities into NFTs, is looking to expand in a space with a lot of competition. But the firm has already had some commercial success, selling one intelligent NFT, or iNFT, for $478,000 via Sotheby’s in June.
Alethea has gotten some big names interested. It has closed a $16 million strategic private and restricted token sale where the lead purchasers were Metapurse — whose chief financier paid $69.3 million for Beeple’s “Everydays: the First 5,000 Days” earlier this year — and Crypto.com Capital. Other strategic purchasers included Mark Cuban, Multicoin, Alameda, Dapper Labs, Galaxy Interactive and Gemini Frontier Fund, according to a statement from the company.
“While NFTs have continued to be exciting for collectors, I always try to invest in what is coming next,” Cuban said. “Alethea AI has managed to uniquely combine AI-powered Avatars that are secured on-chain as NFTs. The result is not only fun and entertaining but the foundation for a level of interactivity that is going to advance quickly using Alethea’s technologies.”
Alethea is planning to use the proceeds from the sale to maintain and upgrade the current services and protocol launching in the public domain, CEO Arif Khan said in emailed comments. Potential projects with its technology could include giving a cryptopunk the ability to participate in a digital rap battle, creating interactive gaming characters or formulating interactive real-time chatbot applications.
NFTs have surged in popularity this year along with cryptocurrencies, with creators attracted to a format that allows direct access to potential buyers around the globe, and customers finding appeal in owning works they might like or seek to collect. The rolling seven-day total of money spent on completed sales was $164.5 million on Aug. 18, compared with about $2.2 million at the end of last year, according to data from Nonfungible.com.