Ink, a startup that uses blockchain to authenticate digital signatures, has announced the launch of its operations and its first artist partnership: Lexi Jayde.
After raising a pre-seed round of $1.5 million from investors like Sound Ventures (Guy Oseary and Ashton Kutcher), Mark Cuban, Betaworks Ventures, Lupa Systems and more, Ink founder and longtime web3 entrepreneur Max Brody hopes his company can help fans create meaningful, lasting experiences with their favorite artist by creating a protocol for digital signatures on practically anything a fan could want signed.
To Ink, the concept is simple: there are few things universally cherished from fans like getting an autograph from a favorite celebrity. Unlike other merchandise peddled by public figures, created in bulk quantities and sold at exorbitant fees, an autograph is a singular treasure, one of the few things you can have that is personal and unique to your copy. Penmanship wavers slightly from signing to signing, and the autograph becomes a personalized momento of your connection to the artist. Ink’s digital signatures are just the same, plus some added features, including animated autographs so that fans can watch exactly how their artist signed their name.
Ink’s model aims to tackle some of the trepidation with NFTs and web3 overall for many fans and to make the digital signature experience as seamless as possible. To buy, there’s no cryptowallet required — customers can pay with a debit or credit card. Also, perhaps most importantly, the signatures are affordable, typically in the ballpark of $50 a pop and sold in limited quantities.
Though the company is only at its beginning stages, eventually, Ink also has physical activations in the works, available next to merchandise booths at concerts, festivals and more, but for now, with the launch of Jayde’s offerings, fans can buy a signature from her online on the company’s site.
The founder notes he chose Jayde as his first partner for the announcement because he wants Ink to be a “brand of the next era…Lexi is a perfect symbol of that — an artist that’s rising fast and a new figure of the next wave of music.” It’s also a clever way to get in with fanbases early, establishing digital Ink autographs as the norm from the start of an artist’s career. Because fans can get any screenshot or photo signed — like, say, an image of Lexi Jayde’s current Spotify monthly listenership — Brody suggests that Ink can be used as a way to “put your flag in the sand, as a fan, to prove that you were there early on.”
Though the concept is simple, Brody argues “you couldn’t do an authentic digital autograph pre-blockchain.” Because this emerging technology provides fans with a true guarantee of an Ink’s “one of one-ness — the [characteristic] that is already baked into people’s minds when they think about physical autographs.”
Targeting emerging musical talent, however, is just the beginning for Ink. The team hopes to take the concept to all sorts of public figures, including athletes, actors, influencers and more. “We’re looking to partner with the most authentic creators of the next generation as Ink becomes one of the most iconic web3 brands in the world,” says Brody.