Značka: Funding

$75M Blockchain Founders Fund II backs portfolio of P2E and Web3 projects

Singapore-based Blockchain Founders Fund has launched a new venture capital fund to support emerging projects in the cryptocurrency, metaverse and Web3 sectors, offering further evidence that investors are still keen to back major growth trends in the digital asset market. Blockchain Founders Fund II, also known as BFF II, has raised $75 million from various investors across the blockchain and crypto industry, including NEO Global Capital, Appworks, Baksh Capital, Octava and The Sandbox chief operating officer Sebastien Borget. BFF II has already deployed capital across 11 projects, including a layer-two derivatives exchange, several play-to-earn games and a DeFi protocol. BFF II is focused primarily on crypto, blockchain Web3 and metaverse projects. The fund is also prepared to offer an additional $5 million to successful startups that make it to subsequent funding rounds. BFF partner Mansoor Madhavji told Cointelegraph that “operational experience” is an important consideration when selecting which companies to support. All the companies receiving financial backing “have demonstrated strong product market fit [and] are able to set trends in the crypto space,” he said. Related: a16z, Google lead $20M investment in Africa Web3 game publisher Carry1stDespite a steep selloff in the cryptocurrency sector, which culminated on Monday with Bitcoin (BTC) falling below $34,000, smart money investors increasingly view digital assets as a generational opportunity. As such, they are deploying capital in sectors they believe could reshape the digital economy over the next decade. Real Vision founder and macro investor Raoul Pal has also stuck to his conviction that digital assets are revolutionizing the world around us. On Saturday, Pal told his 878,000 Twitter followers that he hasn’t “touched a thing” with respect to his crypto holdings.haha… no, haven’t touched a thing and I set it up that I dont need to.— Raoul Pal (@RaoulGMI) January 22, 2022Venture funds have shown an enduring commitment to the blockchain sector over the past year despite massive fluctuations in digital asset prices. Through the first ten months of 2021, venture capital had deployed over $17 billion into blockchain- and crypto-focused projects, according to PitchDeck.

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Crypto Biz: Microsoft enters the metaverse, Jan. 14-20

This week’s Crypto Biz explores Microsoft’s Activision purchase, the new partnership between Coinbase and Mastercard and the latest funding news from the world of crypto. For a comprehensive breakdown of business developments over the last week, register for the full newsletter below.Microsoft enters the Metaverse with Activision purchaseIt’s no secret that Microsoft has been eyeing its entry into the Metaverse ever since Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook to Meta. The company found its perfect entry this week by acquiring gaming giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Satya Nadella, who has served as Microsoft’s CEO since 2014, described video games as playing a “key role in the development of metaverse platforms.” Activision is behind some of the world’s most iconic gaming franchises, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Together with @ATVI_AB, we will usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive, and accessible to all. https://t.co/fF2Ig3gSfx— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) January 18, 2022Coinbase partners with Mastercard around NFT purchasesCrypto is nothing new for Mastercard. As Cointelegraph reported, the credit card giant launched crypto-linked credit cards across the Asia-Pacific region in November 2021. Now, the company is partnering with Coinbase to enable users to purchase nonfungible tokens using their credit cards. The partnership revolves around Coinbase’s forthcoming nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace and enables users to buy digital collectibles without having to set up a crypto wallet or hold Ether (ETH). Strengthening payment onramps to the crypto sector is considered vital for boosting mainstream adoption. Intel to reveal new energy-efficient Bitcoin mining ASICSemiconductor giant Intel is planning to unveil a new energy-efficient Bitcoin (BTC) mining ASIC at the forthcoming IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference in February. The new ASIC, which is referred to as the Bonanza Mine, is based on a patent submitted by Intel in November 2018. The technology behind the Bonanza Mine could reduce overall power consumption by approximately 15%. For reference: Intel is a Dow 30 company. Its potential foray into the Bitcoin mining industry could become one of the biggest stories of 2022. BREAKING – Intel says #Bitcoin mining market could grow by $2.8 BILLION in just 3 years pic.twitter.com/BaTo0hsRSf— Bitcoin Magazine (@BitcoinMagazine) January 20, 2022

Animoca Brands valued at $5B following $358M raiseThe biggest funding news of the week was centered around Animoca Brands, an NFT-focused venture capital and software gaming company that recently raised over $358 million. The funding round, which catapulted Animoca to a valuation of $5 billion, was backed by Liberty City Ventures, 10T Holdings, Gemini Frontier Fund, ParaFi Capital, Provident, Sequoia China and Winklevoss Capital, among others. Animoca said its ultimate vision is to protect users’ digital property rights in the Metaverse using NFTs.Related: Meta reportedly plans to integrate NFTs on Facebook and Instagram profilesCrypto IRA iTrustCapital valued at $1.3BSpeaking of major funding announcements, crypto-focused 401(k) provider iTrustCapital wrapped up a $125 million Series A growth round that was led by Left Lane Capital. The company said it planned to use the cash injection to expand existing product offerings as well as explore strategic acquisitions. The value proposition of iTrustCapital is it provides tax-advantaged exposure to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether through government-approved retirement accounts. That means you can invest in crypto while keeping Uncle Sam happy. There’s a new metaverse player in town. Microsoft, the world’s second-largest company by market capitalization, announced earlier this week that it had acquired Activision Blizzard for $95.00 a share in a deal that’s expected to conclude in fiscal 2023. Microsoft will utilize the gaming giant to pivot to the virtual worlds’ environment of the Metaverse.

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Aleph.im raises $10M to develop censorship-resistant data storage

The competition among the computing networks is warming up, with decentralized players coming into the stage with backing from the crypto ecosystem.Decentralized storage and computing network Aleph.im completed a $10 million funding round led by Stratos Technologies. Zeeprime, NOIA Capital, Theia, Bitfwd Capital have contributed to the funding, among others. The cross-blockchain network aims to provide fully decentralized computing power and censorship-resistant data storage, according to the announcement.Aleph.im scheduled its first computing resource node rollout for January following the funding round. The nodes would eventually become the decentralized network’s main processing power source. Aleph.im rewards its core channel nodes with the network’s native token, ALEPH. The new funding would enable Aleph.im to increase its minimum wage payment capabilities from the current 70 core channel nodes to 150 node operators. This expansion aims to create a distributed virtual machine network to make full-stack decentralization possible for key blockchain and decentralized application (DApp) developers.After kicking off the network’s computer nodes, Aleph.im also plans to activate storage nodes in 2022, according to Aleph.im founder Jonathan Schemoul. Decentralized storage would enable Web3 developers, DApps and protocols “to fully decentralize up to the last piece of their development stack,” he added.Related: Solana-based DeFi protocol Hubble raises $10M, prepares for mainnet launchStratos Technologies’ Rennick Palley noted that Web3 development would continue to rely on a small number of service providers until the full stack supporting compute and processing power is decentralized. “Aleph.im’s efforts benefit the industry as a whole, and, for this reason, we are proud to be contributing to the larger effort and movement toward truly decentralized full-stack architecture.”Last year, Aleph.im introduced a DApp to let users automatically back up the data underlying their nonfungible tokens. Gaming giant Ubisoft picked Aleph.im to participate in the sixth season of Ubisoft’s Entrepreneurs Lab. Despite facing backlash from the gaming community, Ubisoft joined the Aleph.im network as a channel node operator.

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Canadian Bitcoin platform Shakepay raises $35M in Series A funding

It’s another shake-up for the finance industry as Montreal-based Bitcoin (BTC) startup Shakepay raised $35 million from investors. The fresh funding from the United States-based venture capital firm QED Investors values the company at $251 million. Founded in 2015, Shakepay allows Canadians to buy and sell BTC and pay their friends. It also supports the purchase of Ether (ETH).The startup aims to use the funds to consolidate growth, focus on bringing on additional products to market such as the recently launched Shakepay Visa Prepaid Card, and expand the team. Speaking to Cointelegraph, ShakePay CEO Jean Amiouny said: Shakepay’s seen demand boom for adopting Bitcoin and we’re really excited about this raise to be able to offer more Bitcoin products to our fellow Canadians.”The funding supports a swathe of encouraging stats for 2021. The company surpassed $6 billion in total volume reaching more than 900,000 customers last year. According to the Shakepay blog, the company reached 1% of Canada’s population, or 380,000 people, in March last year and 2% of the population in November. The company grew its userbase by 381% in 2021. Canada is increasingly becoming pro-Bitcoin. A recent survey showed that 62% of Canadians want to get paid in crypto by 2027, while a Bitcoin ETF launched in Canada late last year. For Shakepay, it’s all about retail adoption, as the group seeks to make “it easy for Canadians to buy and earn the soundest money to ever exist: Bitcoin.”Related: Canadian restaurant chain reports earning 300% gains on BTC investment to weather pandemicJean Amiouny illustrated the company’s vision in the official announcement:With our Series A funding, Shakepay is excited to welcome QED Investors, who have deep experience in the financial technology industry, and who will support the continued growth of Shakepay’s vision to be a leader in financial applications that help Canadians achieve financial wealth through investing in bitcoin.”

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BlockFills raises $37 million to support global expansion

BlockFills, a digital asset electronic market making, trading and prime brokerage, has announced the completion of a $37 million Series A funding round.Institutional investors, including Susquehanna Private Equity Investments LLLP, CME Ventures, Simplex Ventures, C6 Ventures, and Nexo Inc., led the round. Since its inception in 2018, the firm has received a total of $44 million from institutional investors in two funding rounds.We’re excited to announce the successful close of our Series A #funding round totaling $37 million! See how this funding will support our global expansion and help institutions safely and efficiently engage #digitalasset markets: https://t.co/lfXHHxCaS1. #VC #fundingnews— BlockFills (@blockfills) January 19, 2022As per the announcement, the funding round will help Blockfills’ worldwide expansion and support technology debuts aimed at enticing global Fortune 500-sized businesses, hedge fund/asset managers, banks, and other institutions into the digital assets sector as well as miner development.“The successful close of our Series A funding round will help ensure that BlockFills and our technology platforms are industry leading and continue to meet the demand for end-to-end solutions that help institutions safely and efficiently engage digital asset markets,” stated Nick Hammer, co-founder and CEO of BlockFills.The company began as a bootstrapped business and raised its first external capital last year in May. The majority of the investors from that round retained their interest in the firm by investing again this time around. Over the years, it has seen a 400% yearly growth in top-line revenue, with spot trading volumes growing by more than 20 times on an average monthly basis since January 2020. The firm now has over 600 institutional clients.Related: Checkout.com raises $1B in Series D, bringing valuation to $40BIn Nov. 2019, Blockfills teamed up with New York-based fintech firm Tassat to offer an institutional Trade at Settlement service for spot Bitcoin (XBT/USD). At present, Blockfills is concentrating on international growth and technological developments. It went on to say that the new cash will be used to fulfill its objectives of expanding new verticals and strengthening its market position.

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Secret Network offers $400M in funding to bring others in on the secret

Secret Network is offering $400 million in funding to grow its privacy-oriented ecosystem and expand user adoption.Secret Network is a decentralized ecosystem that utilizes trusted execution environments to enable private, secure computation over encrypted data. The ecosystem has four components: Secret Tokens, Secret Bridges, Secret Finance and Secret NFTs.According to a Jan. 19 announcement, the privacy-oriented platform is offering a $225 million ecosystem fund and a $175 million accelerator fund with support from 25 existing investors and partners, including BlockTower Capital, Arrington Capital, Fenbushi Capital, Outlier, Spartan Group, and Figment. The Founder of Secret Foundation Tor Bair told Cointelegraph the funding would further the network’s aim to “scale privacy-first, decentralized applications to global adoption by millions of users,” as he emphasized the importance of Web3 technology:“Privacy technologies are essential to ensure that Web 3.0 will be empowering and open, rather than an extension of the failures of Web 2.0.”The ecosystem fund will be used to expand the project’s application layer, network infrastructure, and tooling. The accelerator pool will provide non-dilutive capital, grants and incentives via its native token SCRT to quickly expand user adoption. Secret Network also revealed that numerous top-tier investment firms recently acquired SCRT positions and joined the ecosystem as critical stakeholders, including Alameda Research, DeFiance Capital, CoinFund, and HashKey.The ecosystem funding is a part of the Shockwave initiative, a vision for Secret Network’s global growth, which was announced on Jan. 12. Shockwave aims to cement the ecosystem’s standing as a privacy hub for Web 3.0.Related: Miramax sues Tarantino over ‘money grab’ Pulp Fiction NFTsBair said that a global, privacy focused network was an essential part of building a better internet:“Private-by-default networks and applications create choices for users and allow them to control and consent to how their data is used. The entire Secret community is dedicated to protecting users, providing security, and fighting against surveillance capitalism — a system that exploits instead of empowering.”The funding news follows Secret Network’s freshly launched auctions for a collection of seven highly-anticipated NFTs issued by Quentin Tarantino on Jan. 17. The collection consists of seven chapters of Tarantino’s original, handwritten screenplay of Pulp Fiction, the first chapter of which has been sold and will be announced on Jan. 24.

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Tom Brady's NFT platform Autograph raises $170M to scale operations

The nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace Autograph co-founded by Super Bowl champion Tom Brady has announced it closed on a $170 million funding round.In a Wednesday announcement, Autograph said Andreessen Horowitz, or a16z, and VC firm Kleiner Perkin co-led the $170-million Series B round with contributions from crypto investor Katie Haun’s firm, Nicole Quinn of Lightspeed Venture Partners, and San Francisco-based venture firm 01A. The company said it planned to use the funds to scale its NFT technology and hinted at a series of partnerships aimed at expanding its user base.In addition to the funding round, Haun, a16z general partner Arianna Simpson, and Kleiner Perkins partner Ilya Fushman will join Autograph’s board of directors, with a16z general partner Chris Dixon joining the firm’s board of advisors. According to the new members, Autograph will continue to aim for mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies and NFTs.Big news on the @Autograph front. We are pumped to add some really knowledgeable people in the Web3 space to our team. This thread from @cdixon includes some great context on our business. #ToTheMoon https://t.co/Xsmws3KQ05— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) January 19, 2022Since its launch in August 2021, Autograph has partnered with major names in sports and entertainment, often for NFT collections. In December, Brady dropped a series of ​​digital collectibles representing moments from his football career, including cleats and a jersey, from the NFL combine. The marketplace also features NFTs from tennis star Naomi Osaka, skateboarder Tony Hawk and others.Related: Touchdown! Goal! Knockout! Crypto and sports collide in 2021Andreessen Horowitz has been behind some of the biggest funding rounds for crypto and blockchain projects as well as its own crypto-focused funds dedicated to expanding the size and marketability of blockchain projects. The firm’s portfolio includes Coinbase, Compound, Maker and many others.

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a16z, Google lead $20M investment in Africa Web3 game publisher Carry1st

Web3 and social games publisher Carry1st has raised $20 million in Series A funding to further expand product development in Africa — a continent that could become the premier hub for the gaming industry over the next decade. The investment round was led by Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, which has been highly active in the blockchain space, with additional participation from Avenir and Google-parent Alphabet. Carry1st’s existing backers, including Riot Games, Konvoy Ventures, Raine Ventures and TTV Capital, also participated in the investment round. The cash injection will be used by Carry1st to expand its content portfolio, grow its in-house development team and spearhead a new growth strategy to attract tens of millions of new users. A key pillar of its growth strategy is developing infrastructure to support play-to-earn gaming, which allows users to monetize their gaming experience. Alphabet’s investment in Carry1st is part of its Africa digital transformation initiative, which was announced in October 2021 by CEO Sundar Pichai. At the time, Pichai identified Africa as a major growth driver for the digital economy with an estimated 300 million people expected to come online over the next five years. If existing trends are any indication, many of those new users will be gamers. As a leading publisher of social games in Africa, Carry1st appears to be in a unique position to capitalize on this potential. In addition to providing a full-stack publishing platform, the company develops games with embedded payments solutions and online marketplaces to support monetization. The company has publishing deals with several developer studios, including Tilting Point, the publisher of Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off and Sweden’s Raketspel. Africa is quickly asserting itself as one of the biggest consumer markets for peer-to-peer payments and decentralized networks. Several major economies in the region, including Nigeria, have embraced Bitcoin (BTC) for payments and remittances. Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis estimates that the continent’s crypto market grew 1,200% between 2020 and 2021. The gaming industry is expected to grow exponentially over the next 10 years, creating new opportunities for Web3 and play-to-earn business models. Related: Binance sponsors AFCON to further develop crypto adoption in AfricaAccording to research from Newzoo and Cary1st, the number of gamers in Sub-Saharan Africa is set to grow 275% over the next decade.

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Crypto IRA iTrustCapital raises $125M, pushes valuation over $1B

Cryptocurrency individual retirement account and 401(k) provider iTrustCapital said it had raised $125 million in a growth equity investment, making its valuation reach $1.3 billion.In a Wednesday announcement, iTrustCapital said it had completed a $125 million Series A growth equity investment led by New York-based VC firm Left Lane Capital. The company said it planned to use the funds for expanding its existing product and service line in addition to exploring strategic acquisitions.”We are equally excited to partner with iTrustCapital to help support their mission to provide access to cryptocurrency and other alternative investment products through self-directed IRAs,” said Left Lane Capital board member Matthew Miller. “iTrustCapital serves clients that seek long-term, tax-advantaged exposure to cryptocurrency as an asset class.”Providing access to 25 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and Cardano (ADA) in addition to physical gold and silver, iTrustCapital allows United States-based investors to incorporate crypto investments into their retirement portfolios. The company reported it had reached more than $4.5 billion in total transaction volume, with its client base including many working professionals from 45 to 65 years old.Related: Crypto IRA integrates Coinbase Custody as trade volumes top $1.5BMany investment platforms based in the U.S. have attempted to attract investors by offering tax-free options for holding or mining crypto. Under current U.S. tax law, income is often the only taxable source of funds for many who file returns, with many able to use questionable but legal methods to avoid paying the government. In June 2021, ProPublica reported PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel had used a Roth IRA — an account generally not taxed — to invest $2,000 more than 20 years ago and turn it into a $5 billion fund. Offering “tax-advantaged” access to crypto through IRAs, iTrustCapital seems to be aiming for a similar way to reduce potential tax payments using crypto investments.

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Here’s why Binance Coin is 33% down from its all-time high

Binance Coin (BNB) holders enjoyed a 1,760% rally from $37 to $692 between January and May 2021, but as is customary in crypto, this surge was followed by a 69% correction two weeks later. From there, it’s been a bit of a rough patch to regain investors’ confidence and BNB failed to produce another all-time high in November even though the aggregate cryptocurrency market capitalization peaked at $3 trillion.Binance Coin / USDT at Binance. Source: TradingViewIn addition to being 33% down from its all-time high, BNB investors have other reasons to question whether the current $465 price is sustainable. Especially since traders were recently paying up to 3% per week to keep futures’ short positions open, betting on the downside.Traders flipped bearish on January 10Unlike regular monthly contracts, perpetual futures prices are very similar to those at regular spot exchanges. This makes the process for retail traders a lot easier because they no longer need to calculate the futures premium or manually roll over positions near expiry.The funding rate allows this magic to occur, and it is charged from longs (buyers) when they demand more leverage. However, when the situation is reversed and shorts (sellers) are over-leveraged, the funding rate goes negative and they become the ones paying the fee.BNB 8-hour USDT/USD margin futures funding rate. Source: Coinglass.comNotice how the funding rate on BNB futures was mostly flat between Dec. 15 and Jan. 10, but then quickly shifted to negative 0.13%. This rate is equivalent to 2.8% per week, a relatively high cost for shorts (sellers) to keep their positions. The movement happened while BNB tested the $410 support, its lowest price in 90 days.Excessive premium versus competing blockchainsThe reason behind the Binance short could be the excessive premium versus competing smart-contract chains. For example, BNB’s $78.2 billion market capitalization is 80% higher than Solana’s (SOL) $43.3 billion. Moreover, the premium versus Terra’s (LUNA) $28.2 billion is 178%, and 275% compared to Avalanche’s (AVAX) $20.8 billion. Other factors are in play could also be Binance Smart Chain’s total value locked (TVL) stagnated at $15 billion.Binance Chain TVL in USD. Source: DefiLlama.comFor comparison, Terra’s TVL increased from $9 billion to $19 billion in three months, while Avalanche grew from $6.5 billion to $11.6 billion in the same period. The competition has vastly surpassed Binance Chain’s applications, except for the number of active users on PancakeSwap decentralized exchange.To correctly assess whether Binance Smart Chain use has topped, one must analyze the network’s activity. Some decentralized applications (dApps) like games, social, and NFT marketplaces require little total value locked (TVL) deposited on smart contracts.Binace Smart Chain daily transactions per day. Source: bscscan.comData shows that daily transactions on BSC peaked above 15 million on Nov. 25 and are recently averaging 6.5 million per day. One should also note that Binance Chain’s main competitor Ethereum has been struggling with $40 or higher average transaction fees, which creates the perfect scenario for competing chains. Despite this opportunity to seize market share, Binance Smart Chain seems to have flatlined in terms of daily transactions and TVL, both of which are signs of growth and adoption.Binance’s lead derivatives position could be challengedThe competition for Binance’s leading position might be challenged as Coinbase, America’s largest crypto exchange, plans to begin offering derivatives trading after the acquisition of FairX. Moreover, FTX exchange raised $1.32 billion from private investors and FTX US finalized its acquisition of crypto options exchange LedgerX on Oct. 25. This solidifies its plans to offer derivatives contracts for U.S. investors.There’s a good chance that Binance will keep its leadership versus Coinbase and FTX derivatives considering that it has the first-mover advantage. Furthermore, Binance launched a $1 billion development fund on Oct. 12 to expand the capabilities of the Binance Smart Chain ecosystem.Overvalued or not, solid fundamentals are backing the third-largest cryptocurrency and while the short-term price performance is not promising, there are still plenty of future catalysts for growth. The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Solana-based DeFi protocol Hubble raises $10M, prepares for mainnet launch

The Solana (SOL) network is ready to see the mainnet launch for another decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol, aimed at Web3 development and backed by bigshots from the crypto industry.Hubble Protocol, a project aiming to develop a censorship-resistant crypto-backed stablecoin among other DeFi services, has raised $10 million from Three Arrows / DeFiance Capital, Delphi Digital, Digital Currency Group (DCG), Crypto.com Capital, ParaFi, Jump Capital, Decentral Park Capital, CMS, Spartan, DeFi Alliance and Mechanism Capital. Hubble plans to expand its team and DeFi products with fresh funds, starting with its scheduled mainnet launch on Jan. 28, according to the announcement. The first item on Hubble’s roadmap is the launch of its zero-interest borrowing platform that mints USDH, a censorship-resistant crypto-backed stablecoin that’s “positioned to become a building block for other protocols” on the Solana ecosystem.From a decentralized stablecoin to an innovative borrowing marketplace to undercollateralized lending, the Hubble team is building “core DeFi primitives for the Solana ecosystem,” according to DCG Director of Investments Matthew Beck. He added: “These are critical components of the Web3 financial stack on one of the most prominent networks in the crypto market.”Seeing stablecoins as a multi-trillion dollar market opportunity, ParaFi Capital Vice President Anjan Vinod stressed that crypto users will want access to both centralized and decentralized stablecoins, where Hubble comes into play. “We see Hubble’s low transaction costs and USDH network effects as compelling features to drive liquidity to the protocol,” he added.Related: Solana could become the ‘Visa of crypto’: Bank of AmericaFollowing its mainnet launch, Hubble users can stake the platform’s native token, HBB, to earn the majority of the protocol’s fees from minting USDH. According to the announcement, Hubble aims to develop undercollateralized lending services in the future and “explore further DeFi innovations laying the foundations for a global and open financial system.”

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NFT-focused Animoca Brands valued at $5B following $358M raise

Hong Kong-based software and venture firm Animoca Brands has secured $358.8 million in capital investments to fuel new acquisitions in the nonfungible token (NFT), gaming and metaverse sectors, further cementing crypto’s biggest trends in 2022. The funding round was led by Liberty City Ventures and had participation from some of blockchain’s biggest venture funds, including 10T Holdings, Gemini Frontier Fund, ParaFi Capital, Provident, Sequoia China, and Winklevoss Capital, among several others. Animoca said the capital injection will go towards financing strategic acquisitions and investments, product development, and license acquisition for intellectual properties. The company said its vision is to create a metaverse that enhances users’ digital property rights through NFTs. Opportunities within GameFi — a broad concept that refers to the financialization of gaming through NFTs and DeFi — are also envisioned as being part of this environment. “Play for fun” or play to earn? The president of Japanese game developer and publisher Square Enix has published a letter to fans, detailing their plans for the metaverse, blockchain and NFTs. https://t.co/MFYFVv2BM2— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) January 3, 2022Regarding GameFi, Animoca referenced industry research showing that the global video game market is expected to reach $829 billion in 2028, up from $180.3 billion in 2021. The industry’s sizable growth is expected to feed into play-to-earn games and other forms of in-game monetization. Animoca raised over $216 million during the course of 2021, while its subsidiary, The Sandbox, concluded a $93 million funding round in early November. With the latest funding, Animoca further cemented itself as one of crypto’s fastest-growing unicorns with a pre-money valuation of $5 billion. That’s more than double the $2.2 billion valuation it received in October 2021. Startups become “unicorns” when they achieve a valuation of at least $1 billion. Several crypto-focused companies have crossed that threshold over the past 12 months, including Amber Group, Bitso, Blockstream, CoinList, ConsenSys, Figure Technologies, OpenSea, and 2TM, among others.[embedded content]Related: OpenSea raises $300M for encrypted digital marketplaceVenture capital funds are betting big on blockchain technology and its role in reshaping the internet and digital economy. As Cointelegraph reported, venture funds poured over $17 billion into blockchain startups through the first 10 months of 2021. That’s more than three times the amount for all of 2020.

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