Last Updated August 15, 2023
NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are unique digital tokens that represent ownership of specific digital assets such as art, music, and other forms of content.
The NFT market grew rapidly from inception in 2015 to reach a peak of speculation and frenzy in the Spring 2022.
NFT trading volumes are down over 90% since 2022 – primarily due to market saturation, the prevalence of bad actors and the cooling of the broader economy.
The majority of NFTs to date have been created on smart-contract-driven blockchains such as Ethereum (as well blockchains such as Solana, and Binance SmartChain).
Bitcoin ordinals were created in late 2022 to immutably inscribe digital artifacts (such as artwork) directly onto individual Bitcoin satoshis (1/100,000,000th of a Bitcoin) – thereby empowering the world’s most used well-known blockchain (the Bitcoin network) to store, transport, and secure NFTs.
Matador is leveraging ordinals and the Bitcoin blockchain to launch collections of NFTs with the following characteristics:
- Each NFT collection is divided into 1,000 unique NFTs – representing the 1,000 grams in a kilogram of gold
- Each NFT collection is created in partnership with a culturally significant artist. The artist’s talents and skills are augmented by AI art tools to construct each collection of 1,000 unique NFTs
- Purchasing a Matador NFT entitles the user to take delivery of that NFT physically etched on a 1 gram (or larger) piece of 24k gold
Matador aims to solve several challenges in the blockchain, digital art, and precious metals sectors.
The problem with NFTs and digital art
As the NFT market matures and faces an extended crypto winter, collectors have cooled on the overall market for several reasons, including:
As NFTs gained popularity, there was a significant increase in projects that had minimal differentiation – leading to buyer confusion and apathy.
Lack of Utility
Many NFT projects launched on the basis of scarcity but did not embed inherent utility in their projects.
Lack of Liquidity
As the crypto winter has extended, many NFT projects have faced an extreme lack of liquidity – leading to an inability to sell assets at a fair market value in a timely manner.
High gas fees, rug pulls, high profile phishing attacks and other technical issues have discouraged several prospective buyers from staying in the NFT ecosystem.
The problem with Bitcoin ordinals
Bitcoin ordinals are unique digital artifacts created on top of the Bitcoin network. The ordinals ecosystem saw an early adoption spike after their popularization in February 2023 and exceeded a $1bn market cap by May 2023.
However, the ordinals market faces continued scrutiny both from existing Bitcoin industry participants as well as outside observers. Key issues (which in many cases are similar to the NFT issues) include:
Lack of Quality Projects
The majority of the projects launched on ordinals have been meme projects and copycats that lack the utility and innovation required to reach longevity in the NFT ecosystem.
Developers who are serious about projects with longevity may be concerned about building on a tech stack that is less mature than that of Ethereum and other ecosystems.
Ordinals have been a polarizing topic in the Bitcoin community – with some enthusiasts supportive of progress and others who feel that any innovation to Bitcoin is a nuisance or distraction. As builders evaluate the ecosystem, they face conflicting prospects which could drive them to another platform or protocol.
Lack of Infrastructure
While ordinals are built upon the blockchain with the highest user base, the infrastructure (wallets, exchanges, minting tools) are still limited relative to Ethereum and other smart contract-based blockchains.
Gold Market Challenges
The gold market is massive, with $130bn+ a day of daily trading. Despite its scale, retail audiences (especially young millennial buyers) don’t commonly buy gold. Key reasons include:
Storage & Security Challenges
Young people typically value mobility and portability. Gold has several perceived challenges with storage, vaulting, and concerns around theft.
Lack of Liquidity
Physical gold is perceived to have limited liquidity – with high spreads between buying and selling – which reduces its utility as a store of value.
Compared to digital currencies like Bitcoin, gold is seen as a boring asset class that hasn’t changed in decades (if not centuries). A big reason for this is that the gold market hasn’t evolved in the last several decades.
Matador is building a technology solution that integrates art, Bitcoin ordinals technology and precious metals to create an innovative offering targeting a combination of NFT buyers, art enthusiasts and precious metals buyers.
Matador partners with prominent artists to regularly launch unique 1,000 NFT collections - with each NFT representing the 1,000 grams of gold in each kilogram.
The company enables NFT buyers to print their NFT on physical gold and receive delivery of that etched gold. The company uses a variety of technology frameworks and platforms to execute these processes described below.
Artist+AI Art Generation
Matador’s NFT creator framework enables artists to upload a training image plus relevant words and themes to generate an initial set of images that the creating artist can approve or decline.
Once a primary base image is created, Matador’s framework enables the artist to create 1,000+ unique variations and select which ones to publish. Each image will have the requirement of being simple enough to be laser etchable on a small physical item.
Bulk Ordinal Inscription
Matador’s automation technology facilitates the tagging, metadata generation, and bulk inscription of a 1,000-unit ordinal NFT collection while optimizing for transaction fees.
NFT Pricing Tool
Each Matador NFT includes the right to print that NFT on a gram of gold. In order to ensure appropriate pricing, Matador uses a proprietary pricing engine for each NFT mint. The pricing engine aggregates and analyzes spot gold pricing data from multiple sources to determine the price of each NFT mint. The tool then ensures the Company holds specific reserves.
NFT Minting Portal
Matador’s minting portal enables a global base of users to buy up to a preset number of Matador NFTs during each specific mint of 1,000 NFTs. Users can buy NFTs using Bitcoin and receive their NFT on any wallet that can store Bitcoin ordinals (including the Xverse wallet, Hiro wallet, and the Unisat wallet). During the minting process, Matador can also set a royalty rate for the mint that Matador receives each time the NFT trades on various exchanges. Matador intends to share that royalty with the artists that create the NFTs.
Blockchain Gold Tracker
One of Matador’s key tenets is transparency. A key tenet around this comfort building is to provide comfort to our NFT buyers that we hold sufficient gold to deliver laser-etched gold to each NFT holder around Matador’s gold ownership. In order to validate this, Matador is building a blockchain-based tracking ledger that matches the number of NFTs outstanding with the number of grams of gold Matador holds at the Royal Canadian Mint.
The gold held at the mint is accessible to Matador and its users via the Tradewind VaultChain blockchain. Matador is building a portal that matches the gold holdings viewable at the Mint via VaultChain with the number of NFTs outstanding at any specific time - thereby validating that Matador has sufficient gold reserves to physically etch each NFT on physical gold grams and deliver them to NFT holders.
Physical Etching Platform
Matador is building a web platform + wallet integration that enables users to verify their ownership of specific NFTs and request to have those NFTs laser etched on physical gold and delivered to their address.
The Platform will display the price of printing/shipping the gold (which depends on the destination). In addition, the platform’s back end will have an internal workflow tool to queue the in-house printing and shipping of these NFTs and report this status to users via a wallet integration.
Matador’s back end will plug into an existing laser etching software stack to line up and queue jobs in a streamlined manner. Users that request a specified amount of printed gold will also be required to complete KYC/AML verification.
NFT Disposition Portal
Matador is building a bidding algorithm and platform that enables users to sell their NFTs directly back to Matador for the value of the value of the gold on the printed NFT. The platform will enable users to transfer their NFTs into Matador’s ordinal wallet in exchange for an agreed upon price.
Matador Gold Technologies builds products that make buying gold and other metals more fun and engaging.
We use a partnership of blockchain technology, world-class artists, and bleeding-edge technology to modernize both the art and precious metals industry.
Matador’s key focus areas are building products that are:
- Fun and Engaging
- Transparent and Secure
- Globally Accessible
The Matador Team
Co-Founders Deven Soni & Trevor Koverko have worked together on multiple $100m+ blockchain projects including as founders of Polymath/Polymesh (the world’s first platform focused on tokenizing securities & real-world assets), and Tokens.com (a publicly traded blockchain holding company).
CoFounder Donato Sferra has been an investment banker and angel investor focused on the precious metals and mining industry for over a decade – and has worked on some of the largest transactions and acquisitions in the sector.
Our strategic partners and investors include Hive Digital Technologies, Kitco Metals, and Osisko Mining.
For more detail, please check out our team page at: matador.network
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