The NFT market isn’t slowing down, as evidenced by $10.67 billion of trading volume in Q3 2021—more than four times as much as the first half of the year. Brands large and small may be eyeing potential moves into space, and NFT studios and tech solutions alike are popping up to help them make the leap. Enter Mojito.
Billed as an all-in-one NFT commerce suite, Mojito hails from Serotonin, a Web3 marketing agency and product studio. Mojito is the tech platform behind the recently launched Sotheby’s Metaverse NFT marketplace from the storied auction house, and today Serotonin announced that Mojito has spun out of the firm, raising $20 million in funding at a $100 million valuation.
As seen with the new Sotheby’s platform, Mojito lets brands and companies build Ethereum-centric NFT marketplace functionality within their own websites using straightforward APIs. That enables everything from minting NFTs to setting up royalties, accepting both fiat and crypto payments, gathering know-your-consumer (KYC) info, and more.
Serotonin was co-founded by CEO Amanda Cassatt and partner Matthew Iles, a pair of alums of Ethereum technology firm and product studio, ConsenSys. (Disclosure: ConsenSys Mesh funds an editorially independent Decrypt.) After setting up shop as a crypto industry-focused marketing agency, Serotonin quickly found itself inundated with requests from companies looking to enter the NFT space on their own terms.
Introducing Sotheby's Metaverse, a dedicated platform for collectors of digital art, offering a highly curated selection of NFTs handpicked by our specialists. Join @sothebysverse! https://t.co/sfsO3IWMNo pic.twitter.com/5HANunrxkW
— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) October 14, 2021
“Brands, IP holders, and rights holders are used to selling goods on their own websites, as opposed to relying on third-party marketplaces,” Cassatt told Decrypt. “They're accustomed to having a destination that attracts their audience and their fans or users to come to their page and do business with them. [...] They want the same thing, we’ve learned, in Web3."
Sotheby’s Metaverse is the first example of Mojito in action—an “extraordinarily smooth, smooth launch,” Cassatt claimed—plus the auction house is one of the product’s new investors.
Joining Sotheby’s in the funding round is Connect Ventures, an investment partnership between Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and VC firm New Enterprise Associates. Cassatt mentioned that Mojito will launch marketplaces with CAA, and that both Sotheby’s and CAA will serve as “connectors and channel partners” to help turn other firms onto Mojito as well.
Mojito works with Ethereum NFTs as well as layer-2 scaling solutions (such as Polygon), plus it can support Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible blockchains (like Binance Smart Chain).
Ethereum is currently the most popular blockchain for NFTs, and Cassatt said that Serotonin wanted to be “where the major energy is in the decentralized ecosystem.” She sees potential integrations with decentralized finance protocols and DAOs, or decentralized autonomous organizations, as options ahead for Mojito.
Beyond the ability to create bespoke NFT marketplaces with their own branding, Cassatt claimed that Mojito’s biggest benefit is the simplified functionality—effectively a plug-and-play approach for Web2 firms. “That's really the big unlock: these web teams at major brands don't need to know anything about blockchain or Web3 in order to get started,” she said.
NFTs are seen as an early step forward in the creation of the broader metaverse (not the Sotheby’s platform)—that is, the vision of immersive shared online spaces that represent the future of work, play, and social interactions. Mojito is positioned as a way for companies and brands to make the leap into that burgeoning digital ecosystem while maintaining their voice.
“Brands, companies, and also new creators are really incentivized to create in web3, because it's instantly global,” said Cassatt. “There's no supply chain. There are no limits—based on the physical world—to what you can create. So I'm pretty bullish in general on the metaverse concept.”