Amazon’s former Starbucks exec launches Yelp-like platform to review and discover NFTs • TechCrunch

Amid signs of life in the NFT market, today an NFT-focused startup, Thred, launched to help users discover new collections, the company TechCrunch exclusively announced.

“We see it like a Yelp, Tripadvisor, or Zillow of space,” Ben Straley, Thred’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch.

Straley has more than 25 years of experience leading digital products and customer experiences, including positions as Head of Global Outbound Marketing and Deals at Amazon and VP of Global Digital Products at Starbucks. “Between these two roles, I’ve learned a lot about how to use data and machine learning to improve the customer experience.”

Thred’s platform combines automated machine learning and algorithms to rank NFT collections on the Ethereum and Polygon blockchains, then ranks the desirability of each NFT collection and combines it with collector, consumer and community content, Straley said .

Users can search, read, and share reviews of any NFT collection to help buyers better understand the collections and know which are “trustworthy or unclear and perhaps incomplete.” Since Thred is currently compatible with Ethereum and Polygon-based NFT collections, it will consider expanding to other chains like Bitcoin and Solana in the future, Straley said.

An image of Thred's platform showing an NFT project and reviews of the project

Photo credit: thread (opens in a new window)

The NFT market has seen some resurgence in recent months as trading volume has risen for two consecutive months, with January hitting the highest volume since June of last year, according to a report. Ethereum, the largest blockchain by NFT sales volume, saw sales volume surge 34% to $892.5 million over the past 30 days, showing continued growth for the sector, CryptoSlam data showed.

“One of the biggest issues holding the NFT market back is how hard it is for the average person to find authentic NFTs that are relevant to their lives and that they might want to own,” Straley said. “This makes it difficult for developers and brands to reach a larger audience in this space. It’s a two-way problem for consumers and brands struggling to access the potential of NFTs.”

Even as the market expands, there are limited ways to help people determine which collections are valuable, trustworthy, or even of interest, Straley said.

“I think it’s a really good time for us to jump in with this solution as there’s renewed interest in digital assets and NFTs and we’re seeing that in the data,” said Straley. “But there’s still this problem when you hear about a Nike NFT or a Porsche NFT or whatever – it’s really not simple or easy to know where to find the authentic collection.”

Once consumers find the NFTs they want through Thred’s platform, they are directed to marketplaces to complete purchases or deals. “We believe we can be a platform for discovery and for creators and brands to reach who they want to reach,” added Straley.

Over the long term, Thred shares a sentiment similar to many other NFT adherents that this market “is going to be massive,” Straley said. “What currently exists only scratches the surface.”

“Enabling the average person to find NFTs and digital assets relevant to their lives solves half the equation,” Straley said. “The other half, where we’re going next, is building the tools and capabilities that enable small, medium, and large creators — including brands — to connect, reach, and engage audiences in the space in ways that leads to acceptance, growth and engagement with their special fans and audiences.”

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