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    Explained | What is MoonPay and why are so many celebrities rallying behind it?

    Explained | What is MoonPay and why are so many celebrities rallying behind it?

    Explained | What is MoonPay and why are so many celebrities rallying behind it?
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Updated)

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    MoonPay is a payments service for cryptocurrencies and NFTs. What sets it apart from other payment services is that users can use fiat currency to complete crypto transactions. In technical terms, it is an on-ramp and off-ramp service.

    MoonPay is a crypto payment service. It allows people to buy and sell cryptocurrency and NFTs using debit cards, credit cards and several other major payment methods. Launched in 2019, the payment service has risen to popularity, riding the waves of the burgeoning NFT market. The company recently revealed that it raised around $87 million in funding from A-List celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg, Gwyneth Paltrow, Post Malone, Ashton Kutcher and many more.

    But what exactly is MoonPay, and why are so many of Hollywood's biggest names rallying behind the project? Let's find out!

    So, what exactly is MoonPay?

    As mentioned earlier, MoonPay is a payments service for cryptocurrencies and NFTs. What sets it apart from other payment services is that users can use fiat currency to complete crypto transactions. In technical terms, it is an on-ramp and off-ramp service.

    On-ramp refers to the exchange of fiat currency for digital assets, and off-ramp is the other way around. Since MoonPay accepts fiat payments, it is able to offer its users several traditional payment methods to purchase digital assets. One can complete a transaction using a debit card, credit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.



    How has MoonPay become so popular?

    The convenience that MoonPay offers has made it a popular service for retail investors and celebrities alike. According to the company website, the platform currently has more than 10 million active users, spread over 160 countries and has completed almost $3 billion in transactions.

    MoonPay was the go-to payment service when NFTs shot into popularity. Users could purchase their favourite NFTs without the hassle of owning cryptocurrencies. The platform gained even more popularity when celebs started using it to buy artworks from the infamous Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection.

    The BAYC collection features 10,000 digital portraits of bored-looking apes with customisable accessories. When they were first introduced, they sold at $250 each. However, they were a massive hit amongst celebrities, and the current asking price for a Bored Ape is around $300,000.

    In a typical exchange, you would have to first to own a wallet, add an equivalent amount of cryptocurrency and then make the purchase -- a trivial, time-consuming process. With MoonPay, the process is much easier. All the user needs to do is name a budget. MoonPay then uses its rarity tools to arrive at a benchmark price for the digital asset.

    MoonPay handles the process of buying the required crypto, then purchases the NFT and invoices the customer. "We've tried to make it as similar as a process as you would be interacting with your private bank," says Ivan Soto-Wright, the CEO of MoonPay. "You basically generate an invoice, you wire money for that invoice, and then we settle the transaction," he explained.



    Thanks to its convenience, celebrities flocked to the platform to purchase coveted NFTs, such as the BAYC collection. Some celebs would also thank the platform for their service through tweets and this set of a chain reaction of sorts.

    Popular rapper Post Malone, who purchased two BAYC NFTs through the platform, even included MoonPay in one of his music videos. In the video for "One Right Now", Post is seen purchasing a Bored Ape on the MoonPay platform.

    Why are celebrities rallying behind MoonPay?

    MoonPay raised $555 million through Tiger Global, Coatue and other investment firms during its first round of funding. Following this initial round of funding, the payment service has added 60 new celebrity investors, who have collectively raised $87 million for the platform.

    Most of these celebrities were already users of MoonPay, having purchased a Bored Ape or some other NFT through the platform. Being artists, they have realised the potential of NFTs, Web 3.0 and cryptos, and the revenue they bring with them.

    "Web3 is inspiring the entertainment industry, and commerce in general, to reimagine the way we create community, connect with fans, build value and manage intellectual property," said Gwyneth Paltrow after her investment in MoonPay.

    Seeing a potential partnership opportunity, Soto-Wright decided to approach the celebrities in his network. "A lot of them have venture capital portfolios, a lot of them have their own independent ventures, and we came to them saying 'we can help you understand opportunities around Web3, crypto and the metaverse,'" said Soto-Wright according to a post by CNBC. "We virtually had no rejections. Everyone wanted to be a part of it."

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