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The Top Ten Most Influential People in NFTs    – ReadWrite



Brad Anderson

Few industries have risen as quickly as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have done over the last few months. Since the launch of CryptoPunks in June 2017, the industry has generated more than $174 million in sales, creating entirely new markets for artists, creators, and collectors.

Much of that growth has been driven by influencers who saw the potential in this industry — and spread the word — has been realized.

From artists and entrepreneurs to musicians and millionaires — here are ten of the most influential people in NFTs from across the spectrum.

  1. Roham Gharegozlou

On the Internet, everything starts and ends with cats. Roham Gharegozlou is the co-creator of CryptoKitties, the first NFT-based collectible to really catch people’s imagination.

The combination of cute kittens, blockchain-powered authenticity, and breeding pairs showed that the blockchain could be more fun than holding Bitcoin and still just as lucrative. It’s generated more than $40 million in sales. Gharegozlou is now the CEO of Dapper Labs which, in addition to digital kittens, has also produced NBA Top Shots.

  1. Grimes

Her partner, Elon Musk, might steal most of the headlines but Grimes is the most high-profile artist making sales backed by NFTs. At the end of February, the Canadian musician put up a series of ten pieces including short videos and songs.

Altogether the sale generated around $6 million in sales, showing that singers have a new way to earn from their talent in an age of limited concerts and streaming technology.

  1. Beeple

Mike Winkelmann is a graphic designer from Charleston, South Carolina. He’s created concert visuals for artists including Justin Bieber, One Direction, and Katy Perry among others, and for the last ten years has created and published one 3D image every day.

This year, the artist also known as Beeple became the first digital creator to offer an NFT-supported work through a major auction house when he minted a collage of 5,000 everyday artists for Christie’s.

The sale raked in an earth-shattering $70 million and came just days after another piece sold for $6.6 million.

  1. Fewocious 

Beeple will take part in a digital exhibition at Beijing’s UCCA Lab this year, and alongside the veteran-designer will be a young rival — Fewocious. Fewocious is still only 18 years old but while most teenagers might hope for a new iPhone on their 18th birthday, the self-taught artist-generated $370,000 with an NFT drop of surrealist art.

He’s now working with RTFKT to match NFT art with designer clothing. His Fewo World drop also delivered real sneakers and other clothing items, and generated more than $3 million in seconds.

  1. Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster

Artists like Beeple and Fewocious are making their sales on NFT art platforms which function like real-world galleries. One of the leading platforms is Nifty Gateway. Created by twins Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster to enable mainstream buyers to pay for digital art with a credit card. No need to pay by sending Ether to a private wallet, they exited within a year.

The new version of the platform has become a central site for the world’s leading digital artists. The twins celebrated the sale of the platform to Gemini with a dinner party at which they gave away limited edition NFT art.

  1. Mark Cuban

Like Gary Vaynerchuk, Mark Cuban is famous for his business success. In 1999, he sold his company to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion of Yahoo stock. He’s now famous as one of the sharks on ABC’s Shark Tank.

Cuban has now said that if he were starting a business today, he would build it on the blockchain and in the NFT space. From Mark Cuban, that’s the kind of endorsement that people notice.

  1. William Quigley

The rise of NFTs should liberate creative potential. Artists who create works that people want to buy should be able to attach them to a token and make them available online. The barrier at the moment is gas fees—the cost of minting a token. Creating a collection on some platforms can cost as much as $1,000.

William Quigley’s contribution to the development of NFTs has been the Worldwide Asset eXchange or WAX token. Unlike Ethereum, Wax was created with NFTs in mind and has been responsible for the successful launch of brands including the Garbage Pail Kids and Blockchain Heroes. If NFTs continue their rise, it will be because of no-gas networks like Wax.

  1. Justin Blau

It’s not just Grimes who’s spotted the opportunity in NFT. Justin Blau, who performs and produces under the name 3LAU, has also shown that it’s possible for musicians to make rapid sales using tokens.

In the last three days of February, Justin Blau celebrated the three-year anniversary of his album Ultraviolet by selling 33 NFTs. They raised $11.6 million.

  1. Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is best known for his work in the wine business. After building his father’s liquor store into a $60 million wine brand, he turned his expertise in marketing and online business-building into one of the world’s leading media companies.

Vaynerchuk is now excited by the potential in the blockchain. His expertise in entrepreneurship has ensured that his predictions and advice about cryptocurrencies and NFTs find an audience and generate discussions.

  1. Joel Comm and Travis Wright

Joel Comm and Travis Wright entered the crypto space with The Bad Crypto Podcast. As they took audiences through the world of cryptocurrency, they spotted the opportunity in NFTs and were quick to explain how they work and what they can do.

This duo’s Nifty Show was the first NFT podcast and has interviewed dozens of the leading NFT pioneers.

Rather than just talk the talk, they walk the walk by creating a number of top-selling original digital collections on WAX, including Blockchain Heroes, The Bitcoin Collection and the world’s first NFT subscription box.

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at


Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending



Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play

London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs



Deanna Ritchie

As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations



Deanna Ritchie

As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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