From Hype to Utility: How Kathie Lee Gifford-backed ViciNFT is Evolving NFTs

2022 is the year that saw the NFT speculative craze finally end. With the end of the year seeing the crypto market suffer an unprecedented winter, investors finally realized that NFTs were not the quick-rich asset most of them thought they to be. Now, the NFT landscape has started to change as brands no longer are focusing on the “hype” factor of NFTs but on their actual utility.

Take Starbucks as an example, which introduced its web3-based “Odyssey” experience to allow its customers to engage in interactive activities to earn NFT stems and points, earning benefits and additional experiences in the process. Just like the coffee company, many other brands have started designing new use cases for NFTs, going far beyond the mere idea of collectibles by bringing actual utility and value to their customers.

However, while the demand for innovative uses for NFTs has increased, the technical nature of NFTs means that brands have to deal with all the difficulties that come with implementing NFT projects. For this reason, demand for web3 and NFT consulting services have also emerged, with companies like ViciNFT, backed by actress and investor Kathie Lee Gifford, jumping at the opportunity to meet it.

ViciNFT is a software development startup founded in 2021 with the mission of helping creators and organizations take advantage of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) by taking care of their design, creation, and management. The startup aims to make NFTs more socially responsible not only by ensuring that all of its operations are carbon-neutral but also by requiring a mandatory charity component to all of the auctions it runs.

Today, ViciNFT is led by Silicon Valley entrepreneur, investor, author, and philanthropist Jon Fisher. Not only recognized as one of the brightest minds in the valley, he also became viral after his emotional commencement address at the University of San Francisco back in 2018. Jon is also the recipient of several awards, including the American City Business Journal’s “40 under 40” and Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year.”

Vit Kantor, Richard Smith, and Jordan French co-founded ViciNFT with Jon after they fell in love with his philanthropic and technological vision. As successful entrepreneurs themselves, they were able to recognize the skills that have allowed Jon to find so many innovative solutions to real-world problems in the past, eventually capitalizing on them.

“Jon’s ability to earn the trust of the right people makes for a successful enterprise, time and time again” says French about what made the team rally under Jon’s banner.

Under his leadership, the startup has experienced rapid growth over the past years, having raised $20.6 million through venture funding according to Crunchbase. Jon and his co-founders not only are widely-respected experts in their respective industries but they also were able to recognize the potential of NFTs and act on it before major brands did so.

“Large B2B companies, such as Salesforce, as well as prominent crypto-related companies, such as MoonPay, have announced their move into ‘Utility NFTs’ and promised to offer their clients tools for minting and distributing NFTs in-mass. That means they feel the potential, though aren’t able yet to clearly articulate what would be the utility of those ‘Utility NFTs’,” says ViciNFT’s CEO, Jon Fisher. ”We have figured out what that potential means, and are ahead of all of them, I believe. We have built the set of tools that imbues the NFTs with utility that derives its value from the very essence of what the blockchain tech offers.”

So far, ViciNFT’s first mover advantage has allowed it to collaborate with names like Kathie Lee Gifford–whose first limited edition NFT collection marked the milestone of Kathie’s Hollywood Star and Walk of Fame achievement, honored her beloved fans, and furthered her new philanthropic mission–as well as Michelle Phillips, the Servino Family, the Napoleon Hill Foundation, Bill Gladstone and the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco. Now that the startup is expanding its operations, the true challenge has begun: bringing NFTs to the world while helping to make it better.

McClatchy newsroom and editorial staff were not involved in the creation of this content.