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Rad looks to BSV as ‘source of truth’ across NFT ecosystem

This article was originally published on CoinGeek on March 29, 2022.

Ayre Ventures, the Ayre Group’s venture capital division, has announced a significant investment in Rad NFTV, the innovative content distribution and NFT streaming platform that is looking to BSV for help in managing the increasingly complex NFT/Web3 ecosystem.

Rad began life midway through the last decade under the name Littlstar, a streaming network with a focus on virtual reality (VR) video content. Littlstar was a launch partner on all the major VR devices and headsets, including PlayStation VR, Oculus and Google Daydream. Littlstar also had content deals with major film and TV studios, including Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal and Viacom.

While Littlstar was able to build trust on the content side with these companies as well as a respectable customer base via its consumer-facing app, Rad CEO Tony Mugavero told CoinGeek that the VR content produced by the studios at the time was largely exploratory, and the companies began scaling back or shutting down their VR operations around the end of 2017.

With VR not yet ready for prime time, Rad began supporting traditional video content, which offered access to a broader range of devices beyond VR headsets. Rad inked a raft of partnerships that saw its app appear on PlayStation 5, Android TV and Apple devices. More recently, Rad struck a deal with Chinese tech giant Huawei that will see its app pre-installed on a couple hundred million TVs.

However, the shift to traditional video streaming meant Rad was now in competition with mainstream giants such as Netflix and Hulu, leaving the company searching for an answer to why consumers should choose their service. Having been an early adopter of Bitcoin and other major digital assets, Mugavero began studying the potential advantages that blockchain technology could offer.

Ahead of the curve

In 2017, Mugavero wrote a white paper based on his view that content should be using smart contracts to handle revenue shares/resales and should be loosely coupled to a content delivery network.

The platform that emerged was powered by Ara, a P2P ecosystem with built-in commerce and content delivery layers. It allowed network peers to host and deliver content, creators to sell content through the network and consumers to purchase content. Peers were rewarded with an Ethereum-based token called ARA, while those who were either pushing content in or pulling it out were interacting with blockchain tech to prove ownership.

But once again, Rad found itself ahead of the curve. Major content providers were happy to take meetings with Rad to discuss this promising new technology, but these meetings always ended with expressions of enthusiasm for the future possibilities without any concrete plans for the here and now.

Things changed dramatically around the end of 2020 as interest in the NFT space exploded thanks to NBA Topshot. That led consumers to the OpenSea marketplace, which enjoyed exponential volume growth from one month to the next. Seizing the moment, Rad announced plans for its own NFT marketplace in 2021.

No ice bucket challenge videos

Rad’s initial forays into the NFT world saw it launch some auctions directly on its platform, mainly comprised of a few “higher touch” efforts with fashion outfit DKNY and streaming giant Cinedigm that Mugavero said allowed Rad to “get a handle on what’s working and what’s not.”

Brooklyn Earick, CMO at Rad NFTV, didn’t see pitching its services to the hordes of individuals creating vacation videos or TikTok dances. Instead, Rad focused on “the premium end of YouTube,” aka the creators of animated series, short films and the like.

In stark contrast to the prevailing model that requires creators to engage with as many as five or six different services to launch an NFT initiative, the Rad platform’s tools offer creators everything they need to create/distribute/market their own NFTs without needing to talk directly to Rad. Earick says this one-stop-shop concept “has been resonating really well with the NFT natives as well as our existing content partners who are now saying ‘how do we get into this.’”

Rad’s team has a number of members who are well familiar with Ethereum, and Earick said that chain was “the tip of the spear to build for.” However, Earick noted that “it’s very expensive to build [on Ethereum] from a gas perspective.” (Ethereum’s inherent volatility was on full display last Friday as gas prices soared with the launch of the NFT-affiliated APE token.)

The hurdles imposed by Ethereum’s unpredictable transaction fees were among the factors that led the Rad team to investigate BSV’s potential role in Rad’s operations. Earick said BSV’s clear advantages in terms of cost and scale were “obviously very interesting” because “if you present consumers with options, they’ll largely gravitate towards the one that creates the least friction, makes their lives easier and costs less.”

BSV holds the same appeal for creators who face the costs of minting hundreds or even thousands of individual NFTs to launch their own collection. “If they have the option of doing so at x price and 100x price, they’ll naturally gravitate toward the cheaper option.”

The BSV blockchain’s commitment to large blocks also allows creators to include a greater amount of NFT metadata on-chain. While BSV’s capacity has yet to scale to the point where it makes sense to upload Blue Ray-quality copies of every film in a studio’s library, creators can include cast information, subtitles and other metadata that add value to individual NFTs.

The master plan? A master ledger

Mugavero is even more intrigued by what BSV can offer a company’s back office operations, including distributing files that require a chain of custody. Mugavero cited the example of film editors submitting changes for review, which may involve multiple individuals in multiple departments. BSV can be used for entitlements inside an organization with the ability to track an asset’s progress, an option that Mugavero said a number of studios have expressed interest in exploring.

However, this interest would quickly cool if the studios faced paying excessive ETH gas fees every time an asset is transferred within a large organization. “If it’s pennies, it’s not a big deal. If it’s $100 every single time they move around ownership, that’s a problem.”

Mugavero also sees great potential in using BSV to enable “highly complex payout setups like royalty payments.” A movie or music project may involve hundreds of individuals, each of whom performed different roles with different compensation structures. A complex smart contract would be required to manage all those payouts each time an asset is sold and certain benchmarks are reached, which again only makes sense if the chain on which that contract operates has a low-fee structure of the type offered by BSV.

Currently, if you wanted to understand all NFT activity across all chains, you’d need to write bots to scrape data from each individual chain, then somehow cobble those separate files into a single database. Mugavero says Rad plans to use BSV as “an aggregator of all cross-chain data, so if someone mints something on Ethereum or Solana or wherever, Rad can in parallel fire off an entry into BSV, so it becomes a master ledger.”

Mugavero says “there’s an interesting opportunity there as a source of truth across the ecosystem. That could potentially be done on various different chains but that’s where the low cost and potential larger amounts of metadata capabilities come in on the BSV side.”

Mugavero says BSV’s ability to manage “the guts of the business” will have strong appeal for entities looking to bring a greater sense of order to the burgeoning NFT sector. Rad is already building on BSV and will soon be minting NFTs on Testnet, and Mugavero expects to have a cross-chain single ledger of transactions in place within 12 months.

Like many pioneering technology outfits, Rad has long been ahead of the curve, waiting for the rest of the world to catch on to what it already knows. At long last, with a little boost from BSV, Rad is poised to reap the benefits of being in the right place at the right time.

Watch: CoinGeek New York panel, The New World of NFTs

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Rad announces new funding from Ayre Ventures; plans to build cross-blockchain NFT management platform on the BSV Blockchain

This article was originally published on CoinGeek on March 21, 2022.

Rad, the innovative content distribution and NFT streaming platform, has secured significant funding in a round led by Ayre Ventures; Intersect VC, who are investors in Dapper Labs and Triller; former New England Patriot Super Bowl Champion and Pro Bowler Richard Seymour’s 93 Ventures; Alvin Kwan, former head of Corporate Development at Fox and Board Member at Fubo TV; Rusty Matveev, who is CSO at Calaxy and formerly a partner at MSG Ventures; Revere VC; and Jason Campbell, former quarterback for the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders.

Rad recently launched NFTV, redefining video streaming by combining major content creators and studios with future foundational technologies like web3, blockchain, and virtual and augmented reality (XR). It’s the first network to make NFTs accessible via a rapidly expanding network of over 500m devices worldwide – including Sony PlayStations 4 & 5, Android TVs and Apple platforms. Rad currently offers an unprecedented range of Gen Z-focused entertainment spanning gaming, music, on-demand video, live events, and sports. Rad has done content deals with the likes of Disney, NBCUniversal, Fox, Showtime, Warner Brothers, Sony, Complex Magazine, Whistle Sports, Cinedigm, Esports TV, Anthem Sports & Entertainment, and hundreds of others, and is trusted by the biggest content and hardware companies in the world.

Rad’s streaming platform is powered by Ara, which is a P2P ecosystem for content creators that uses an Ethereum-based token (ARA) for governance, incentives, and staking with royalties for NFTs sold through their platform. The platform is built to incorporate numerous chains and will make discoverability of content and NFTs across chains more efficient and approachable to creators and consumers alike. Rad’s integration of the Bitcoin SV (BSV) blockchain will include support for BSV-based NFTs with on-chain storage of large NFT files including full-length movies, video holograms and AR/VR content. Rad will also leverage the BSV blockchain’s low-cost and high-scaling capacity for managing and tracking NFTs across multiple chains.

Ayre Ventures joins existing investors The Tornante Company which is Michael Eisner’s fund, Sony Innovation Fund, A+E Networks, WWE, Warner Music Group, and Disney via the Disney Accelerator.

Commenting on the funding round, Rad CEO Tony Mugavero said:

“Rad couldn’t be more excited to partner with Ayre Ventures and support the BSV ecosystem. Consumers buying, and creators making movies, XR, and clips leveraging blockchain-based technologies need low cost and high throughput transactions that compliment high performance streaming,” said Tony Mugavero, CEO of Rad. “Blockchain technology should be largely transparent to consumers and creators, and they’ll always go for the most cost-effective and performant option, which the BSV blockchain solves for.”

Rad CMO Brooklyn Earick added:

“We are pumped to offer our users a fast and inexpensive option to scale at enterprise levels on Rad. We foresee a future where creators can tokenize everything, digital and IRL, to fund content creation, art collections and more. BSV will allow our users to both think long-term and execute quickly without the worry of what gas fees might be that day.”

Ayre Ventures founder Calvin Ayre commented on his group’s $1.5m investment in Rad, saying:

“BSV is the perfect home for future-focused companies like Rad that have outgrown the constraints imposed by other public blockchains. I’m thrilled to partner with Rad as they push the boundaries of what a streaming platform has to offer and meet the public’s insatiable demand for an ever-widening variety of digital entertainment options.” 

Rad previously secured investment from a number of prominent entities, including A&E Ventures, Sony Corporation of America, Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc., Warner Music Inc., and World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Rad’s media partners include Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS and Warner Music. 

About Rad

Rad is redefining streaming for the modern era with NFTs, on-demand, live events, and TV featuring the biggest content creators and studios in the world; all powered by future foundational technologies like blockchain and XR. Discover the best in Music, Movies & TV, Comedy, Sports, Gaming and more! Rad supports on demand, live, holograms, 180°, 360°, 3D content and NFT collectibles (non-fungible tokens). Watch thousands of hours of content, join watch parties, buy limited edition NFTs, get XR experiences, and collect crypto rewards.

Discover more at rad.live and download our iOS app, Android TV app, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, or PSVR apps. 

About Ayre Ventures 

Ayre Ventures, founded by celebrated entrepreneur and philanthropist Calvin Ayre, provides capital to scalable, high-growth businesses within the BSV blockchain ecosystem, the only infinitely scaling enterprise public blockchain. The Group targets investment in innovative ideas and ambitious projects that are ‘positively disruptive’, supporting their expansion with the Group’s extensive network and industry partners.

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Blockchain-as-a-service provider mintBlue, closes substantial seed round financing of EURO 2M

This article was originally published on CoinGeek on March 10, 2022.

Blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform provider mintBlue has secured €2 million in a round led by Two Hop Ventures, with additional support from a Dutch angel investor and Ayre Ventures.

mintBlue is the go-to platform for developers to build with blockchain. mintBlue offers a proprietary API that allows companies large and small to migrate data to the public blockchain, thereby increasing data security, interoperability and traceability. As the leading blockchain development suite that provides data storage directly on the blockchain, mintBlue aims to become the ‘decentralized AWS.’

mintBlue’s solutions are non-custodial; this means that end users control their data and have no lock-in issues. The software supports a commercial level scale that allows for monetisation opportunities down to a thousandth of a cent.

mintBlue’s software allows a growing list of companies to focus on their core operations without the need to devote time and resources to understanding complex blockchain infrastructure. Learn more about mintBlue’s product offering – including NFT invoicing, data integrity and document verification – at mintblue.com.

mintBlue was recently selected by VISMA | yuki, a leading European cloud accounting solutions provider, to integrate blockchain-based functionalities into its bookkeeping. mintBlue has already handled over 700,000 NFT invoices for VISMA | yuki at an extremely low cost per invoice, improving efficiency while eliminating vectors for financial malpractice.

The Dutch angel investor backing mintBlue commented:

Blockchain technology is fascinating, and the mintBlue team has managed to develop one of the world’s first real-world use-cases for a public blockchain with VISMA, with more to come.

Commenting on the investment round, mintBlue CEO Niels van den Bergh said:

With this investment, mintBlue will start its trajectory to become the de-facto blockchain infrastructure provider for web3. Platforms will lose market share over protocols, and we will be there to support that change.

Two Hop Ventures general partner Alex Fauvel said:

mintBlue is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced teams in the blockchain industry, and Two Hop Ventures is proud to support them in their first funding round. With large partners and customers experimenting with putting and managing data on-chain, it is only a matter of time until traditional and modern enterprises are using mintBlue for all their blockchain integrations.

Ayre Ventures founder Calvin Ayre added:

BitcoinSV (BSV) is the only public enterprise blockchain to offer unbounded scaling, and mintBlue exemplifies BSV’s unique capacity to handle large transaction volumes at a minimal cost. I look at mintBlue as Europe’s answer to Alchemy, the U.S. blockchain developer platform that recently raised $200m at a $10b valuation. As word spreads of mintBlue’s capacity to boost business via the BSV blockchain, I see mintBlue mirroring Alchemy’s meteoric rise.”

ABOUT MINTBLUE

mintBlue makes blockchain development easy. Users can focus on their solution instead of the complex underlying blockchain infrastructure. We offer data solutions to store, share and monetise data without giving up ownership.

mintBlue is Europe’s first public blockchain platform used at scale.

mintBlue PR Kit link

ABOUT TWO HOP VENTURES

Two Hop Ventures is a venture capital fund focused exclusively on start-ups building infrastructure for the next generation of the Internet. The infrastructure behind this leap forward allows data and other assets to be held by the users, not Facebook, Google etc., via the combination of the blockchain and Internet. Two Hop believes that the Bitcoin SV Blockchain is the only viable solution.

The fund has a traditional structure, is registered at the AFM in The Netherlands and operates under the EU AIFMD light regime. It holds no BSV or other crypto and is strictly equity and debt only. Investments are made exclusively in early-stage start-ups building on the Bitcoin SV blockchain and are without geographic limitation. The manager seeks to maximize investor returns by creating a balanced portfolio across the core infrastructure sectors of this flourishing ecosystem.

ABOUT AYRE VENTURES

Ayre Ventures, founded by celebrated entrepreneur and philanthropist Calvin Ayre, provides capital to scalable, high-growth businesses within the BSV blockchain ecosystem, the only infinitely scaling enterprise public blockchain. The Group targets investment in innovative ideas and ambitious projects that are ‘positively disruptive’, supporting their expansion with the Group’s extensive network and industry partners.

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