Tim Draper’s DGH Venture studio backs Kalamint
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Blockchain based digital art marketplace Kalamint, which launched on Thursday, has raised its first investment from blockchain venture studio and fund Draper Goren Holm and seed investment fund Amesten Capital. 

The funding amount was not disclosed.

This is Draper Goren Holm’s first investment in an Indian startup and also in the digital art space. Billionaire Draper has been an early investor in startups such as Tesla, Skype and Twitter. Through Draper Associates, he has bet on Bengaluru-based cryptocurrency exchange Unocoin

Los Angeles headquartered Draper Goren Holm was created in 2019 by Draper, Alon Goren, and Josef Holm. 

“We’re so thrilled to have Draper Goren Holm on board. With their team actively investing in the growth and development of the entire Tezos ecosystem, we couldn’t think of a better group of investors to work with than with them,” Sandeep Sangli, CEO at Kalamint said in a statement. 

Bengaluru-based Kalamint is the country's first digital art gallery, which works on a Tezos-based Non-Fungible Token (NFT) platform. NFT refers to cryptocurrencies like Tezos which cannot be traded in parts or fractions unlike Bitcoins and Ethereum. 

Having an NFT platform to sell art digitally, will also help artists put their artwork on a blockchain network, which will in turn safeguard the artist’s work from getting copied or counterfeited, Sachin Jain, founding partner, Amesten Capital told TechCircle. The platform is targeted at a global customer base.

Within six months of starting up, Amesten Capital has invested in nearly nine startups in the Indian blockchain ecosystem,  focussing on accelerating and incubating early stage startups.

On choosing lesser known Tezos over Ethereum as a mode of trade, Jain said, “The gas fee to transact Eth is too high. Even for selling an art piece with half an eth, it is costing $80-100 per transaction. It doesn’t make sense for the artist. With Tezos, this cost becomes 3,000 times cheaper. Also, this is the first global NFT platform trading on Tezos.” 

Minting on Tezos has been a cost-effective alternative to the overwhelmed network and serves as an affordable way for more budget-conscious creatives to leverage the power behind NFTs without breaking the bank. 

The launch is happening at a time when India is on the cusp of finalising on its proposed parliamentary bill to ban cryptocurrencies entirely from the financial system. Jain said that keeping their options open, the startup will also allow fiat currency or regular currency to buy and sell art on the platform starting from third quarter of FY21.

“Our vision is a decentralized, borderless and distributed future in which artists, entrepreneurs and everyone can transact freely, no matter where in the world they are. The Tezos network enables this and we feel it’s our duty to amplify these opportunities,” Alon Goren, founding partner at Draper Goren Holm said in a statement.

“Sandeep and the entire team at Kalamint built an impressive solution at the perfect time as Ethereum new-comers learn more about the network and have a hard time justifying the high gas and risks of failed transactions on the Ethereum network. While we crypto natives can bite the bullet and bear with a congested network, this will stifle mass adoption of new market entrants and Kalamint is positioned perfectly to capture that charge,” Holm, founding partner at Draper Goren Holm, added.

Kalamint’s debut today will be showcasing a collection from MAIKEUL, a contemporary artist from Paris, France with a background in design who exhibits his artworks in galleries around the world. Tomorrow onwards Kalamint will open up to more than 50 artists, a small portion of those who have applied so far, to mint and sell their work in the marketplace.

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