MarqVision Inc., which makes a platform that uses AI to find fake nonfungible tokens and physical goods, said today that it has raised $20 million in early-stage funding to make a system for brands to manage their intellectual property.
Softbank Ventures, Bass Investment, and Y-Combinator, all of whom had already invested, joined DST Global and Atinum Investments in this Series A round. After a seed funding round in October, this brings the company’s total funding to $25 million.
MarqVision’s technology helps its partners find and remove fakes from over 1,500 online marketplaces and thousands of other rogue websites that cover a large part of the global market. It uses AI to find and enforce IP rights for clients like Ralph Lauren and Pokemon, which are some of the most well-known brands in the world.
“Creative assets are under attack in the digital world we live in today,” said Mark Lee, co-founder and CEO of MarqVision. “Content owners are left mostly unprotected as sophisticated counterfeiters trick consumers into buying fake goods and NFTs.”
Nonfungible tokens are a type of crypto asset that uses blockchain technology to link ownership to virtual items like artwork or digital video game items. The benefit is that it lets developers and users make digital items that they can then sell, buy, or trade on online marketplaces to make money off their own work. The bad thing is that fraudsters can take an image or other virtual asset they found and pass it off as their own.
During the NFT market boom of 2021, copied fakes became a huge problem on many marketplaces, including OpenSea, which was the largest NFT market at the time. This included a fake NFT piece that a British collector bought for $336,000 and said was made by the political artist Banksy. Even though the forger gave the money back to the collector, it showed how easy it was for technology to cause problems.
Lee said, “The NFT landscape is a new frontier, and it’s kind of like the Wild West right now.” “Brands are having a hard time figuring out how to use their digital assets for marketing and sales while also protecting their intellectual property and keeping customers from buying fake NFTs by accident.”
The NFT protection from MarqVision takes information from the biggest marketplaces and uses text analysis and AI image models to find listings that break the law. The clients can then look at the flagged NFT listings on the dashboard.
They can then decide if they want them taken away. MarqueVision can also have a bot-powered system for reporting fakes report them automatically for removal when the confidence is very high.
Lee said about the NFT fake detection system, “This is a huge, complicated problem that is getting worse very quickly.” “We give companies a way to defend their intellectual property and fight back.”
Lee said that the company will use the new money to build the world’s first “operating system” for IP, which will give brand owners full control over their portfolios and help them manage their property rights. He said that in a world that is becoming more digital, where listings can go up in seconds and be bought and sold, there needs to be a platform that can be both proactive and reactive to deal with the growing number of fakes in real time.
“With this new round of funding, we can speed up our goal of building the world’s first IP operating system to give brand owners full control over their IP portfolios,” Lee said.
Because the number of fakes is going up, OpenSea added its own NFT plagiarism detector to its own marketplace in May to try to cut down on “copymints.” bitsCrunch Ltd.’s Crunch DaVinci software, which looks for copied NFTs, is another example of a company that tries to fight fakes.