Amazon is developing an NFT platform in stealth mode
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(Kitco News) - E-commerce behemoth Amazon is reportedly looking to become the next globally-recognized brand to establish its own non-fungible token (NFTs) platform and could be launching its initiative as early as spring 2023.
Blockworks obtained this information from four sources familiar with the matter, who said that Amazon has been pitching its new digital collectibles platform to various players in the crypto ecosystem including layer-1 blockchains, blockchain-based gaming startups, developers and digital asset exchanges.
The main focus of the offering is on blockchain-based gaming and related NFT applications, including one application that is specifically designed to entice Amazon customers to play crypto games and claim free NFTs in the process.
At this stage of development, Amazon is keeping details about the venture secret but one source believes they plan to announce the new platform in April.
The e-retail giant entering the NFT space is “a big one” for the crypto ecosystem “for many different reasons,” one source said. “We knew it was possible, but now it seems like it's really happening. That’s going to affect the existing players in the space – if they execute and do this right and are smart about it.”
Early iterations of the plan included a goal to do at least one NFT drop with an artist, and Amazon executives reached out to at least one family office to explore interest in that idea. Since that time, the company’s plans have apparently evolved to include gaming and more user interaction.
Details on the new venture remain scarce at this stage and it's not clear which personnel at Amazon are spearheading the NFT initiative. Two sources at the company said its NFT ecosystem will run out of Amazon proper and not its web-hosting platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Another source who spoke with Blockworks said that Amazon has been exploring various other Web3 initiatives recently, but the company managed to keep the details about these developments close to the vest and out of the press.
It’s likely that the company will need to do a number of internal hires as it moves forward with its plans, one source said.
Kitco Crypto reached out to Amazon for comment, but a spokesperson for the company responded via email, saying “we unfortunately don’t have anything to offer for this one.”
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If this news proves to be true, it's not a completely unexpected development for the retail giant as Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon, previously indicated that he is open to the company selling NFTs. Jassy also hinted that “it’s possible” that the company could eventually integrate crypto as a payment mechanism in their retail business.
It’s still unknown how ambitious Amazon intends to be with its Web3 goals. It's possible the company could launch its own NFT marketplace to compete with the likes of OpenSea and Rarible if they so desired. “With the [number] of customers Amazon has, they could make a huge splash in the NFT marketplace,” one source said.
Earlier in January, AWS partnered with Ava Labs, the development company behind the layer-1 blockchain platform Avalanche (AVAX), with the goal of scaling blockchain adoption for enterprises, institutions and governments. Ava Labs also became a member of the AWS Partner Network (APN), which enables the firm to “help customers deploy custom offerings on AWS that are connected to more than 100,000 partners across more than 150 countries.”