March 17, 2022

SXSW is the World’s largest innovation festival of the year. South by South West (SXSW) based in Austin, Texas early March for 35 years, is back in person after 2 years of virtual editions due to the pandemic. The main topic of this year is NFT.

NFT, Non-Fungible Tokens, are digital assets backed by blockchain. NFTs can be pure digital collectibles or can also give access to some benefits, either virtual or real.

For example, you can buy the NFT of a music artist and have exclusive access to his new album or invite for a private concert or even share some of his future royalties. This is exactly what Pianity, a French Startup that was in final of the SXSW startup competition, offers.

Music artists need 3 million streams on Spotify to earn $1000. They only need to sell an average of 20 NFTs to reach that same amount of income. Pianity is trying to revolutionize the music industry by making the music artists more connected to their true fans thanks to the sale of NFTs.

Pianity just raised $6.5 millions and has already enabled 500 artists to sell NFTs to 2500 music fans for a total of 11,000 NFTs sold on Pianity.

And this is just the beginning, another French startup, Sorare, who sponsored all the sports-related content at SXSW made $300M revenue last year by selling NFTs related to Soccer players for a Fantasy game. Sorare even raised $680 million at $4.8 Billion valuation, the largest startup fundraising round in French history, and World’s largest fundraising round for an NFT company. 

Speakers at SXSW from brands like Estee Lauder or Pepsi also expressed their interest about NFTs. Brands could offer NFTs and digital benefits to the buyers of their physical products. Brands could also create digital products or services to be purchased in a metaverse, an alternative universe. Nike for instance purchased a company creating virtual sneakers for the metaverse and could sell digital shoes in the future.

SXSW was also the opportunity to understand that the most relevant use cases of NFTs or metaverse are hybrid: a mix of virtual and reality. In the cases mentioned: a real connection with a music artist or with the actual performance of a soccer player thanks to an NFT, or the extension in a virtual space of a physical product from a brand.

The rise of virtual assets may also require more and more protection services: cybersecurity insurance, identity theft protection, inclusion of these assets in an estate planning strategy.


Arnaud Auger, Deputy Head of BNP Paribas C.Lab Americas, Correspondent of Cardif Lab