Tennis legend Maria Sharapova appeared at Binance Blockchain Week Paris 2022 to share her interest in Non-Focusable Tokens (NFT).
During an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Sharapova stated that she is “opening up to this new world of cryptocurrencies and Web3”, noting that this sector will help her better interact with her fans. Sharapova was also one of the strategic investors in MoonPay’s first round of funding, but said she wants to connect her personal experience with the digital world in the future.
Maria Sharapova (right) with Cointelegraph Senior Reporter Rachel Wolfson (left) at Binance Blockchain Week in Paris in 2022. Source: Rachel Wolfson
Cointelegraph: What are you doing here today at Binance Blockchain Week Paris?
Maria Sharapova: I’m curious about what cryptocurrency is and would like to know how to overcome the amazing physical experience I’ve had with my fans over the years. Right now I’m looking for ways to bring the experience into the digital world, so that’s what I’m most excited about. As an entrepreneur, I also think it is important to pave the way for other women to enter Web3. Money is a topic that I think we women don’t talk about enough.
CT: Do you have plans to start an NFT project?
Michael: I have been looking at this area for a few months now because I am a far more preferred person than long term opportunities. When I saw the opportunity to connect the physical and digital experience, I knew I wanted it to be a long-term experience for me. Storytelling is very important and a big part of Web3. I think stories will be better told to both sides when considering a long-term project.
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CT: Do you think NFTs can help improve fan interaction?
Michael: Absolutely. NFT is about finding ways to connect with the right communities that are interested in what I do in another space. For example, I see on TV every week how I have played tennis for many years, but I no longer have this stand every day because I retired two years ago. The Web3 experience gave me access to my fans in completely new ways. I feel like I’m interacting with them more than just watching me compete.
CT: As a businesswoman and former athlete, do you plan to get more women involved in Web3?
Michael: I want to give women the opportunity to try Web3. For example, I was 17 when I won my first major tournament, and social media was in no way a part of that experience. It took me years to get comfortable with social media. I think Web3 is also an area to enter to learn and grow. As I mentioned earlier, talking about money, finance, crypto and blockchain are taboo conversations. People may think that if they don’t know about these topics, they shouldn’t talk. But I think it should be the other way around – you learn a lot if you ask questions and participate.
CT: Why did you decide to invest in MoonPay?
Michael: I want to diversify my portfolio. Initially, my investments were related to consumer goods. For example, I invested early in the sunscreen brand Supergoop. Now I envision a whole new category.
CT: What do you think are the biggest problems with Web3 and how can we overcome them?
Michael: I would like to see the quality of the Web3 experience get a little better and even better, especially in the digital space.
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CT: Any further comments?
Michael: I am very interested in the NFT space because it combines my passion for fashion and interior design and creates unique spaces for individuals and communities. I was more interested in this space because it has several design perspectives. It is also a completely new source of income that both artists and women have discovered.