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As more individuals join the NFT market, a common complaint exists around the accessibility and user experience for non-crypto natives.
But Paper, a crypto-focused payments processing company launched in February, is working to make buying, using and holding NFTs easier for the everyday customer or fan trying to buy a digital collectible, James Sun, co-founder and CEO of the company, told TechCrunch.
Just a couple of months after launching, Paper closed a $7.3 million seed round after a $2 million angel investment, for a total of $9.3 million in fresh capital, Sun said.
The round was co-led by Electric Capital and Initialized Capital with participation from Polygon, FalconX, Long Journey Ventures, ThirdWeb, Night Capital and the founders of Plaid, Twitch, Fractal, MagicEden, Eventbrite, Tagomi and Bison Trails.
Paper allows users to create wallets through their email addresses and purchase NFTs with credit cards (or crypto wallets) across the Polygon, Ethereum, Solana and Avalanche blockchains to provide non-crypto consumers a “frictionless” bridge for entry into the marketplace.
“We view NFTs as a utility, instead of the easiest way to buy a [profile picture] project,” Sun said. “Some of them have cool things like membership but we’re most excited about the ones with utility instead of [a] collectibles [focus].”
The startup’s new capital will be used for hiring, expanding the wallet’s infrastructure and security, and making the product usable across more blockchains, Sun said.
In the past three months, Paper has worked with brands and artists like Fnatic, Deadmau5, Boohoo and YesTheory to make NFTs more accessible through the option of buying them with a credit card and email.
In the future, it will roll out a software development kit, or SDK, which will allow white-labeling experiences for brand enterprises, Sun said.
“The SDK we’re building allows brands and developers to flexibly build a checkout experience that’s uniquely theirs without the Paper logo,” Sun said. “It will allow them to take the wallets we’ve spun up for users and create a branded environment for that wallet so it only displays the NFTs for that brand, versus today where your wallet has all the different NFTs you have.”
While incorporating email addresses might feel more Web 2.0-focused, Sun said the team aims to maintain the interoperability of what crypto is supposed to be.
Sun said the Paper team consists of consumer technology-focused engineers from companies like NextDoor, Google and Twitch, to name a few.
“Consumer experience is highly valued [to us], so we have a different philosophy from others,” Sun said. “We’re new to web3, we’re not OGs or maximalists, but we have a different perspective and we’re building on that experience.”