Amazon is putting the finishing touches to its in-house NFT initiative, according to sources directly familiar with the matter. And at least one document suggests that Amazon is set to feature digital collectibles from top crypto-native creators including Beeple and Pudgy Penguins.
The Amazon NFT marketplace will run on a private and permissioned blockchain controlled by the e-commerce giant, according to a confidential terms of service agreement reviewed by Blockworks. A separate confidential Amazon deck reviewed by Blockworks confirmed the private blockchain, adding that Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been a major contributor to its formation. Neither document could be confirmed as presenting the most current version of Amazon’s plans.
Blockworks exclusively reported the formation of the initiative in January, as well as additional developments on March 3, including the buildout of a private blockchain. Sources say Amazon has shifted its launch timeline several times, and an exact unveil date could not be verified.
The blockchain powering Amazon’s digital collectibles is gas-less and read-only, and imposes strict restrictions on NFT creators, partners and — eventually — Amazon customers after launch, per both documents. Blockworks agreed to not directly quote from either document to protect their provenance.
Amazon has inked a number of partnerships for the launch that have been kept under tight wraps, according to multiple sources. One deck, and a separate source, specified that in addition to day-one partnerships with Beeple and the creators of Pudgy Penguins, Amazon has told product partners that Artifact Labs will be involved, as well as Proof Collective.
Requests for comment to Beeple and Pudgy Penguins creators were not immediately returned. Proof Collective and Artifact Labs likewise did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Amazon has imposed strict non-disclosure agreements around its dealings with current and potential Web3 partners.
This story is based on interviews with seven people familiar with the platform’s formation. A number of those sources have direct knowledge of the matter, and all seven sources were granted anonymity to candidly discuss sensitive business dealings.
Amazon tapping subsidiary streamer Twitch
Streaming service Twitch — the Amazon.com subsidiary that reportedly made substantial staff cuts in March — has been tapped to promote the Amazon initiative. Several crypto gaming companies have either discussed or signed partnerships with Amazon to sell NFTs tied to their titles on the marketplace.
Representatives for Twitch did not immediately return a request for comment.
An example: a Web3 game developer signs up with Amazon to sell an NFT to the site’s customers, which then grants the customer access to play the game through Amazon and stream it live on Twitch.
On the fashion front, The Fabricant has agreed to be what two sources categorized as an anchor participant for the marketplace’s fashion vertical. The crypto company has its own partnerships in place with major fashion brands and hosts an NFT marketplace featuring digital collectibles tied to real world experiences.
The Fabricant has its own Discord community while Amazon, according to multiple sources, is planning to support premium Discord memberships for partners. The idea is that brands can hawk an NFT tied to membership to an exclusive Discord community. A spokesperson for The Fabricant declined to comment.
Other planned use cases on the marketplace, per multiple sources include exclusive drops of music, ebooks and movies or tv shows; physical goods shipped after an Amazon customer buys an NFT; access to a private club; or behind the scenes meet and greets with musicians or celebrities.
2023 Prime Day NFT promotion
The company is still planning to heavily promote its hosted digital collectibles on Prime Day, slated for July 22 and 23, according to multiple sources and one of the decks.That includes pushing messaging to Amazon Prime customers in the US, as previously reported by Blockworks.
All customers will be able to snap up available NFTs just as they would order any other product of Amazon, with supported credit and debit cards or any of the company’s assorted payment options — including using one-click checkout.
Three sources said Amazon has emphasized that its platform would result in Web3 adoption for its 300 million active customers, which would support the idea that the platform is designed for the 300 million or so worldwide customers that Amazon says it has.
Amazon’s NFT platform has been repeatedly delayed, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the matter who said it was supposed to hit the market as early as the fourth quarter of 2022.
The company has told at least two partners that there are no plans at launch to include multichain functionality that would allow Amazon NFT buyers to move or transact their digital wares off Amazon’s blockchain. Sources offered conflicting accounts of whether there may be future plans for such functionality, which would likely result in a major liquidity boon for the NFT market on different blockchains.
“Everything is going to be encouraged to be transactional and transferable,” one source told Blockworks this week. “You can’t build in things like digital identity on Amazon, digital reputation on Amazon.”
“Fishing for intelligence”?
Amazon representatives previously reached out to Americana NFT, a crypto-native startup that says it offers a curated marketplace designed to set “the new standard for collecting” premium digital collectibles, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
The effort didn’t go anywhere for Americana, both sources said, and the startup is said to have thought that its much larger counterpart was fishing for intelligence to build out its own marketplace. Amazon representatives have on several previous occasions met with startups and then “launched competing products,” The Wall Street Journal reported in July 2020.
A spokesperson for Americana said that “Although we did not have direct discussions with Amazon’s team, we can verify that we had a meeting with Amazon Ventures in 2022. We extend our best wishes to Amazon as they launch their new marketplace and become a part of the rapidly expanding Web3 community.”