Doja Cat, John Legend Join Eco-Friendly Music NFT Marketplace OneOf

The company, launched in partnership with Quincy Jones, claims to be friendly to both the environment and your wallet.

As the music industry continues to ride the non-fungible token (NFT) wave, it has also become well-acquainted with the new art form’s downsides — which include high economic barriers to entry and a negative impact on the environment. But a new marketplace built specifically for music NFTs aims to help.

That would be OneOf, announced today (May 25) in partnership with Quincy Jones and Quincy Jones Productions. The new marketplace, which has raised $63 million in seed funding and will launch to the public in June, claims to be friendly to both the environment and your wallet. Among the first artists set to drop NFTs on the platform are Doja Cat, Quincy Jones, the Whitney Houston Estate, John Legend, TLC, Charlie Puth, Jacob Collier, G-Eazy and Alesso.

“Blockchain has the ability to democratize ownership and bring economic empowerment to both artists and fans,” said OneOf co-founder and CEO Lin Dai, who previously co-founded blockchain technology company TAP Network. “We are building a technology company with an artist-first ethos and eco-conscious mission to help introduce hundreds of millions of non-crypto native users to blockchain through easy and exciting use cases such as NFTs.”

Most NFT marketplaces operate on the Ethereum blockchain, which runs on a “proof-of-work” model. In this model, computer “miners” race to validate transactions to be added to the blockchain, and earn cryptocurrency as a reward. Although the system is meant to discourage tampering with the blockchain, it sucks up an enormous amount of energy in the process. The exact amount is widely disputed and difficult to quantify, but Digiconomist estimates that the Ethereum network has nearly the same annual carbon footprint as the country of Jordan.

By contrast, OneOf is built on the Tezos blockchain protocol, which uses a “proof-of-stake” model. Long hailed as a potential solution to these environmental problems, proof-of-stake means that miners lock up some of their own cryptocurrency in the network to show their commitment to keeping the ledger accurate. As a result, OneOf claims that the Tezos blockchain uses 2 million times less energy than other networks. OneOf also promises to donate a percentage of the platform’s revenue from every sale either to a charity of the artist’s choice or to a charity focused on the environment.

Further, OneOf says that thanks to the low transaction costs of the Tezos blockchain, OneOf is able to make “minting” an NFT — essentially, listing the NFT on the marketplace — completely free. (Usually, minting requires paying for “gas,” the fluctuating price for writing data onto a blockchain that can cost anywhere from $40 to $150 per NFT.) OneOf hopes this will allow artists to list their NFTs at more affordable prices for fans.

Even if minting NFTs is easy and environmentally-friendly for artists, many fans new to the crypto space may by confused by the process of purchasing cryptocurrency and set up a digital wallet. That’s why OneOf will allow fans to transact with debit and credit cards in more than 135 fiat currencies, in addition to cryptocurrencies. It will also launch an “Emerging Artist Spotlight Program” to highlight up-and-coming artists on the platform.

OneOf was co-founded by Dai alongside Joshua James, who co-founded ZIG Media and Basecamp Productions and is now OneOf COO; and Quincy Jones Productions president Adam Fell, a OneOf board member. The company’s seed funding round investors include venture capitalist and environmental activist Bill Tai, 88rising co-founder Jaeson Ma and Nima Capital founder/CEO Suna Said.