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Startup Redeem raises $2.5M to bring NFTs directly to mobile phone numbers

When onboarding the next wave of NFTs into the mainstream, it could be as simple as sending a WhatsApp message or an SMS.

Or so hopes Redeem, a new start-up that aims to make NFT transfers as easy as using basic mobile technology, potentially exposing NFT technology to billions of new customers.

“I think NFTs and smart contracts are fascinating,” Toby Rush, founder of Redeem, told CryptoSlate. “Not because they’re pictures of bored apes, but because they’re a ticket credential, a certificate of digital collectible, a membership card.”

Rush, a former Ant Group/Alibaba executive and founder of EyeVerify (acquired by Alibaba for $100 million in 2016), co-founded Redeem with veteran blockchain executive Kenny Conklin III, who previously served as president of Analytico Trading, Inc., a cryptocurrency market maker.

Redeem’s service allows users to connect any blockchain wallet on any network to their phone number, making it easy to redeem tickets, loyalty points, gaming items, and more by scanning a QR code.

The protocol facilitates the smooth exchange of NFTs through popular messaging services such as iMessage, WhatsApp, or SMS, eliminating the need for complicated crypto interfaces or gas fees.

“One of the most interesting things are NFTs as this digital asset that can live outside the four walls of the Googles and Apples and Facebooks and visas and ticket matches of the world,” Rush added.

On Feb. 27., Redeem announced it had raised $2.5M through a consortium of like-minded VCs led by Kenetic Capital, money that Redeem says will be used to roll out product launch and aid in further developments.

“Adoption is the Holy Grail of Web3,” added Jehan Chu, founder of Kenetic Capital.

“Redeem’s core features enable users to access the world of Web3 quickly, without any prior blockchain knowledge. This is a game-changer for traditional enterprise companies seeking to reduce costs and boost new user engagement through Web3 without complex or risky crypto processes,” Chu said.

Redeem says it is blockchain agnostic, meaning it allows users to connect NFTs to wallets supported by Polygon and Metamask, but also supports NFTs on different blockchains like Ethereum and Solana.

“I think most people who engaged in Web3 agree that there is a lot of opportunity around simple, open ecosystems,” Rush said. “For users it’s just more Internet, more technology, an open ecosystem, but the general consumer does not need to understand what is enabling it. They just get the benefit.”

With the growing assembly line of new products and services being launched Q2, Redeem appears poised to make the leap where few blockchain companies have gone before. The mobile phone number.

“Think of it like Domain Name Service, or DNS,” Rush added:

“But we don’t want phone numbers public on the public chain, so what we have done is basically matched your phone number to an NFT wallet.”

Redeem’s funding also saw participation from other VCs, including Monochrome Capital, VC3 DAO, The Fund, Flyover Capital, CMT Digital, KCRise Fund, and KESTREL 0x1.

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