The world looks different to Gabe Frank than it did a year ago. The 31-year-old launched his New York start-up Arcade amid an almighty boom. He set up the company to match owners of popular NFTs (non-fungible tokens), such as Bored Apes or CryptoPunks, with lenders who would use the digital images as collateral for high-interest loans.
What could go wrong? A single CryptoPunk — from a collection of pixelated images of punk rock characters that were given away free when they were created in 2017 — went for $11.8 million last summer. A few months later, someone paid $3.4 million for a Bored Ape, a forlorn primate with a propeller hat and ear-ring. Last year, people spent more than $44 billion on NFTs,