VanEck’s new NFT platform SegMint highlights TradFi’s keen interest in Web3 tokenization

Asset management firm VanEck will look to emulate the success of its recently launched Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the United States with a new self-custody nonfungible token (NFT) platform to explore the potential of tokenized digital asset ownership. 

Cointelegraph spoke exclusively to Matthew Bartlett, VanEck’s NFT community and Web3 head, ahead of the launch of SegMint at NFT Paris. The NFT asset management platform allows users to vault and fractionalize digital assets by issuing keys that will be tradable on the platform’s in-house exchange.

VanEck, the first U.S. asset manager to file for a spot Bitcoin (BTC) ETF in 2017, has garnered a reputation as a traditional finance firm actively exploring cryptocurrency ETFs and digital asset ownership.

VanEck’s NFT “degen”

Bartlett’s mandate as the firm’s NFT and Web3 head is partly thanks to his personal interest in the space. Coupling nearly two decades of experience split between TradFi players Franklin Templeton and VanEck with his love of NFTs, Bartlett was given the go-ahead to build an in-house platform for NFT ownership and digital asset fractionalization.

“Jan van Eck said I want you to build something, but he didn’t know I was an NFT degen, so I had to start there. I put on my cap as a user and looked at the problems I encountered, figured out what they were, and that’s how we formed the thesis of what we built,” Bartlett explains.

Matthew Bartlett on stage at NFT Paris in February 2024. Source: Cointelegraph

VanEck’s Web3 lead became an NFT buyer in 2017 and dabbled in the space, minting and auctioning in Decentraland. Bartlett also helped VanEck take its first steps in the space with a free NFT giveaway that served as a real-world ticket to bell ringing ceremonies at the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq.

Over the past seven years, the firm has been building what Bartlett describes as a robust digital asset team, mainly consisting of cryptocurrency investment analysts and digital asset product managers.

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