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META4 makes the case for NFTs as an asset class. Institutional investors are already in.

META4 makes the case for NFTs as an asset class. Institutional investors are already in.

By Riley Kaminer

NFTs are about more than hip-looking apes and large-scale events. One Miami-based group of investors is elevating NFTs to perhaps the highest level of flattery (or at least profitability) in today’s world: an institutional-grade investment vehicle.

Meet Wynwood’s own META4, an NFT fund that has aspirations that are at least as large as the ever-growing valuation of the NFT market ($80B by 2025, if you’re keeping score).

Managing partners Brandon Buchanan, who moved to Miami from New York City, and Nabyl Charania, of Miami tech firm Rokk3r, joined forces to establish META4 in early 2021. So far, META4 has raised upwards of $26 million overall across its GP and LP vehicles, from investors as varied as Andreessen Horowitz, asset manager GoldenTree, and large family offices.

When the pandemic hit, Buchanan, a lawyer by vocation with experience in investment banking and venture capital, became less enthralled with his Big Apple existence. “I realized that I was living in a box, paying crazy taxes, and couldn’t go anywhere because the city was on lockdown,” Buchanan told Refresh Miami. “I wanted to find the optimum place to bring out the best version of me.” 

After traveling around the Caribbean for a bit, Buchanan eventually decided to try Miami on for size. At the very least, he thought, if he didn’t like living here, he could chalk it up to an extended vacation. 

Spoiler alert: he stayed. And after over a year in Miami, he’s not looking back. Mayor Francis Suarez’s pro-blockchain and crypto stance was a major pull as well – especially coming from notoriously crypto-skeptical New York state. As in his personal life as an investor, Buchanan saw the trend and said, “I wanted to be part of the next wave.”

META4 focuses on purchasing some of the top NFTs out there, or what Buchanan calls “museum grade” NFTs. “We’re looking at this from the lens of an art curator of a museum curator,” he explained, with the aim of providing META4’s investors with exposure to the crypto crème de la crème.

Along these curatorial lines, Buchanan explained that META4 has purchased assets ‘old’ and new NFTs alike – from 2014 onwards. “We have basically done a retrospective of where NFTs have been, where they are today, and where they’re headed.”

Buchanan emphasized that they are not an art fund. Rather, tech is at the core of what they do. “The art is actually the smart contract. It’s the code and what it enables, from royalties to IP to community building and more.”

Oh, and META4’s team? It’s 6-people strong, thus far – with plans to add a couple more by the end of the year. But don’t let that modest size fool you. META4’s long term ambitions are much greater. 

In Buchanan’s words, the long-term goal of META4 is to become the pre-eminent web3-focused fund. He signaled that we should expect to see META4 raise VC funds, partner with organizations to give retail consumers access to different investment vehicles within the NFT class, and create financial products around their NFTs. That could even include derivatives and options around the NFTs. Back in the physical world, META4 is also exploring the possibility of opening an art gallery-style space to showcase their NFTs in Wynwood.

But in the metaverse, not even the sky’s the limit.

Some of META4’s investments are illustrated on the firm’s website, above. AT TOP OF POST: META4 Managing Partners Brandon Buchanan, at left, and Nabyl Charania.

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Riley Kaminer