Back in 2021, you couldn’t stop hearing about NFTs. Whether it was about skyrocketing prices, or record-setting CryptoPunk sales, it seemed like NFTs were going to be the thing that brings about mass adoption to crypto. Whether or not you believe in NFTs and art as a use case, there’s so much more we haven’t quite seen yet. Below we’ll be talking about what NFTs are and their broader use cases within DeFi (decentralized finance). For some background, decentralized finance offers decentralized access to financial services and eliminates intermediaries to make transactions secure and transparent.
For the past few years, DeFi’s main use cases have been traditional financial services such as lending, trading, payments, insurance, and derivatives via exchanges and other types of platforms. NFTs add a newer layer of complexity and efficiency to the DeFi world and truly mark the next wave of the web: Web3.
DeFi is a blockchain-based system of financial services and management. Decentralized finance allows people to leverage financial services like payments, borrowing, lending, saving, margin trading, and trading––all in a fast, secure, and on a P2P (peer to peer) model. THis means that DeFi essentially cuts out any needless middlemen and third parties like banks or other financial institutions.
Collecting things is one of the world’s oldest hobbies. From famous paintings to Beanie Babies, there’s a market for just about anything. Through the decades there have been a few items that will always be worth owning. They are timeless and have either maintained or increased in value (and continue to do so).
Aside from obvious (but timeless) assets like real estate, cars, handbags, rare coins, stamps, jewelry, memorabilia, and precious metals, there’s now a whole new class of assets that are shaking up our world’s understanding of “store of value”.
Here are the top 5 collectible assets you wouldn’t expect to be appreciating over time––and are even beating traditional assets:
The ability to connect the physical and on-chain worlds has long been one of the holy grails of blockchain. Though to date, attempts to bridge these worlds have been centralized, ad-hoc, and rife with misaligned incentives.
At 4K, we’re building a decentralized protocol for connecting the on-chain and physical worlds. While a centralized approach would be easier, we believe that only a decentralized approach is capable of making physical assets a new, trusted web3 primitive. A decentralized approach has several critical advantages:
The heart of the 4K protocol is the physical guardian protocol, which ensures that a physically-backed token is truly backed by a physical asset.
In a statement from Hirst, “The Currency tests the boundaries of the digital and physical world and our role in both," adding that the time-based exchange period “ensures that even doing nothing is doing something.” This bold concept is a way for Hirst to challenge the establishment of the old art world and open minds to the value of NFTs. Hirst invites conversation and debate by posing the question, "is it better to keep the physical or NFT art?" You can check out this excellent interview with Hirst and Stephen Fry to learn more.
NFTs have struck the world by storm as a new frontier of “artwork” that is as captivating as it is controversial. Of course, much of this is due to the fact that NFTs inherently are more tradable than other pieces of art, with a financial layer baked in. Given NFTs are entirely digital, one can enjoy ownership in a digital wallet with less friction and additional computationally verified uniqueness (e.g., authentication and scarcity) compared to owning traditional artwork that they must insure, frame, and safely custody on the walls in their home.
When I pitch 4K, I’m confronted with a choice: do I describe 4K as a marketplace or do I call 4K a physical-digital bridge?
There are countless reasons why people hold on to collectibles, but sentimental value and market dynamics are undoubtedly at the top of the list. As the thin line between the physical and digital becomes increasingly blurred, fashion and collectibles have proven to be the OG indicators of cultural allegiance and identity for the crypto community. Below we explore 10 of the most sought out crypto collectibles to date.
Deemed as one of the first, if not the VERY first NFTs in existence, Mike Caldwell introduced the physical incarnation of Bitcoin to the market in 2011.
Max Einhorn is our Co-Founder and COO. Prior to co-founding 4K, Max was a financial and Tokenomics Advisor for various Blockchain companies and Financial Services Management Consultant at Oliver Wyman. He is an avid skiier and classically-trained pianist.
What attributes do you look for in a business partner?
I look for partners who are able to not only see their own excellence, but also see excellence in others, nurture that excellence, and take as much pride in their partners’ successes as they do their own.
What is a quote that resonates with you?
In order to buy an NFT on 4K, you need a place to store it. This is called a wallet. Your crypto wallet holds your crypto assets and is uniquely yours. With your wallet, you can:
The 4K Marketplace is the central hub for conducting transactions between buyers and sellers of items on our platform. Physical items listed on the 4K Marketplace are first converted into NFTs, or Non-Fungible-Tokens. These NFTs represent the tangible, physical items that we help you to "digitally-bridge" using the 4K Protocol. In practice, this means that once you are ready to sell an item, you'll have a quick call with a representative at 4K, ship your item to a secure vault owned by 4K, and gain ownership of an NFT representing the physical item which can then be listed on the 4K Marketplace.
Once you list your "digitally-bridged" item on the 4K Marketplace, the item will be available for purchase from buyers immediately using cryptocurrency.
The 4K Marketplace is the central hub for conducting transactions between buyers and sellers of items on our platform. Items listed on the 4K Marketplace are NFTs, or Non-Fungible-Tokens. These NFTs represent tangible, physical items that have been "digitally-bridged" by the 4K Protocol. In practice, this means that a seller has taken a physical item, stored it in a secure vault owned by 4K, and minted a digital representation of that item as an NFT.
Once a seller lists one of these "digitally-bridged" items on our Marketplace, the item will be available for purchase using your crypto wallet.
Of all the innovations to hit the crypto space, Unisocks holds a unique place. Originally an experiment, it's now an undeniable flex that somehow sits at the intersection of art, game theory, and always-on-liquidity.
Some very quick, tl;dr background – Uniswap's launch popularized the automated market maker (AMM), and very much changed the fate of the Ethereum network through offering frictionless, decentralized trading. If all of these words don't resonate, travel back in time to check out an OG Dec 2018 post on Uniswap from Cyrus Younessi on the launch and its core innovations.
Recently, 4K was invited to a private tour of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This exclusive tour was hosted by retired Astronaut Mike Springer who completed missions with the Atlantis and Discovery space shuttles.
Our team was give an insider’s look in to NASA’s history of technological advancements. From a tour of the original control center that oversaw the Apollo missions to the ground-breaking technology of the space shuttles, the experience was certainly inspiring for our team.
At 4K we are building the Physical-Digital™ bridge, a decentralized protocol that enables anyone to bring physical assets on-chain as physically-backed NFTs.
To understand this innovation, we must understand the importance of bringing physical-assets on chain in the first place.
2021 was a huge year for Crypto and it was also the year NFTs went mainstream. NFTs dominated our culture, attracting attention from celebrities, sports personalities, and media outlets alike. 2021 was also the year 4K entered the Crypto world with a mission to bring our Physical-Digital™ bridge to the masses.
Here are some of our favorite highlights from 2021.
BITCOIN MIAMI 2021
Bitcoin Miami 2021 was a massive event in the crypto space that brought hundreds of thousands of people to Southern Florida. It was clear Crypto had staked a place in the mainstream.
Greetings, crypto community!
As Web3 continues to evolve, new tools are rapidly being created to provide decentralized versions of common Internet services like content management, blog hosting, and storage provisioning. At 4K, we’re committed to supporting the crypto ecosystem by fully embracing the latest in Web3 tooling, starting by transitioning our hosted blog content over to Mirror.xyz.
Hello, world! We are 4K. We are building the world’s most incentive-aligned peer-to-peer marketplace, one that is owned by its users. Our mission is to empower people to transact with more trust, more transparency, more speed, and with a 95+% reduction in fees. Unlike incumbent marketplaces that win at the expense of their users, we win alongside our users. In this post, we’ll share our solutions to problems that have been plaguing peer-to-peer markets and announce the launch of our first product. Let’s dive in!