Amazon is making its first move into the crypto industry.
And the eCommerce giant is targeting non-fungible tokens (NFTs), not cryptocurrency.
That’s per a Blockworks report published Thursday (Jan. 26) revealing the online retailer’s plans to launch an NFT initiative this coming spring.
The report from the crypto industry publication cites several sources familiar with Amazon’s plans, who all claim that Amazon has been exploring the launch of a digital assets enterprise across its primary platform, and not via Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The world’s largest retailer, Amazon has so far kept the crypto industry at arm’s length while investing — and finding success — in other next generation digital commerce activations, including live selling.
Amazon’s entry into the Web3 landscape may provide a key boon to the credibility and vitality of an industry that presently finds itself at an inflection point.
As PYMNTS previously reported, the volume of “minted” NFTs has plummeted by 60%, and the volume of active buyers and sellers is a third of the levels seen at the beginning of 2022.
However, despite NFT industry headwinds, Amazon is not the only traditional institutional player dipping its toes into the NFT marketplace ecosystem.
Reached for comment, a Fidelity Investments spokesperson told PYMNTS in an email that while it is premature to discuss trademark applications that were just filed, they reinforce the company’s legacy for innovation.
Amazon’s Web3 ambitions reportedly include blockchain-based games and NFT collectibles. While the effort remains under development, those sources reached by Blockworks have indicated that an April launch appears to have been “penciled in.”
Whether Amazon plans to launch a marketplace remains unclear, although any moves in that direction by the Seattle-based giant would send shockwaves rocking industry incumbents like OpenSea or Rarible given the size, scale, and reach of the eCommerce titan.
Interestingly, Andy Jassy — the Amazon CEO who took over from founder Jeff Bezos — is no stranger to the collectibles industry. Per the tech CEO’s biography, he worked for five years after graduating from Harvard University as a project manager for collectibles company MBI.
Further information regarding any potential hires Amazon has made to support the effort, or the creation of new internal teams to spearhead the NFT and blockchain gaming initiatives, have yet to be revealed.
The full extent of Amazon’s Web3 ambitions are similarly shrouded in mystery.
In a CNBC Squawkbox interview during April of last year, Jassy publicly stated that he saw NFTs in Amazon’s future.
“I expect that NFTs will continue to grow very significantly. We’re not probably close to adding crypto as a payment mechanism in our retail business, but I do believe over time that you’ll see crypto become bigger and it’s possible… it’s possible down the road,” he said at the time.
That time appears to be now — or at least, this spring.