NFT space bridges passions for tennis legend Maria Sharapova

Tennis legend Maria Sharapova appeared at Binance Blockchain Week Paris 2022 to share her interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

During an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Sharapova mentioned that she is “exposing herself to this new world of crypto and Web3,” noting that the industry will help her better connect with her fans. Sharapova was also one of the strategic investors behind MoonPay’s Series A funding round, but mentioned that she aims to bridge her personal experiences with the digital world moving forward.

Maria Sharapova (right) with Cointelegraph Senior Reporter Rachel Wolfson (left) at Binance Blockchain Week Paris 2022. Source: Rachel Wolfson

Cointelegraph: What are you doing here today at Binance Blockchain Week Paris?

Maria Sharapova: I’m crypto-curious and would like to figure out how to bridge the amazing physical experiences I’ve been able to have with my fans for so many years. Now I’m finding ways to include experiences in the digital world, so that’s what I’m most excited about. Also, as a female entrepreneur, I think it’s important to pave the way for other women to enter Web3. Money is a topic I think we don’t talk about enough as women.

CT: Are you planning to launch an NFT project?

MS: I have been watching this space for several months now, as I am more of a long-term opportunity person. When I saw the opportunity to connect physical experiences with digital ones, I knew I wanted it to be a long-term experience for me. Storytelling is very important and a huge component of Web3. I think the stories will be told better for both parties when we think about a long-term project.

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CT: Do you think NFTs can help create better fan engagement?

MS: Absolutely. NFTs are about finding ways to communicate with the right communities interested in what I’m doing within a different kind of space. For example, I was seen on a TV screen every week playing tennis for so many years, but I no longer have that platform on a daily basis because I retired a couple of years ago. The Web3 experience has given me access to my fans in completely new ways. I feel like I’m more engaged with them, rather than being engaged watching me compete.

CT: As a female entrepreneur and former athlete, do you have plans to get more women involved in Web3?

MS: I want to allow women to have a space to experiment with Web3. For example, I was 17 when I won my first Grand Slam and social media was not part of that experience. It took me years to get comfortable with social media over time. I think Web3 is also an area where you have to go out to learn and grow. As I mentioned earlier, the conversation about money, finance, crypto and blockchain is a taboo conversation. People may think that unless they know about these issues, they shouldn’t talk. But I think this should be the other way around: you learn a lot more if you ask questions and get involved.

CT: Why did you decide to invest in MoonPay?

MS: I want to diversify my portfolio. At first, my investments were around consumer goods. For example, I invested early in the sunscreen brand Supergoop. Now I’m exposing myself to a whole new category.

CT: What do you think are the biggest challenges associated with Web3 and how can we overcome them?

MS: I would love to see the quality of Web3 experiences get better and better, specifically in the digital space.

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CT: Any additional comments?

MS: I am very interested in the NFT space because it brings together my passion for fashion, interior design and creating unique spaces for people and communities. I was more interested in this space because it has more of a design perspective. It’s also a whole new income stream that artists and women alike are discovering.