Značka: Venture Capital

Why crypto industry needs venture capital: Q&A with veteran investor

Traditional funding in the crypto space was once considered useless. After all, the industry itself offers different, controversial, but nonetheless, ways to fund a project – initial coin offering (ICO), initial exchange offering (IEO) and the current darlings of offerings – launchpads and initial decentralized exchange (DEX) offerings. But with the industry maturing and more startups wanting not only the capital but mentorship to build a working and valuable product, venture capital has emerged as one of the most attractive options. Cointelegraph talked to Li Rongbin, founding partner of SevenX, about why venture capital funding is the next big thing for crypto startups and entrepreneurs.Tell us about your fund.Our company, SevenX Ventures, was launched at the beginning of 2020, so we are a relatively young brand. But all of our three founding partners have around six years of experience in crypto VC. We are one of the earliest VCs to invest in DeFi and NFTs in China. We’ve backed such DeFi projects like Dodo, Zerion, Debank, Furucombo, Daomaker, Vega, etc., and NFT-related projects, including YGG, Alchemy NFT, Rangers, and Whale, etc. Before SevenX, we’ve separately had our own crypto venture funds, based in Beijing and  Shanghai, which were early investors of some great projects, including Huobi, Tron, NEO and others. We decided to merge into one because we want to really gather our experience and knowledge to better deliver value to our portfolios.Why do you think the crypto industry needs corporate investment, given that there are many options to fund a project like ICO and IDO, for instance?We believe in decentralization and really think that a decentralized way of fundraising is cool and helpful. Such kind of fundraising will bring users, publicity and community. But VCs are experienced and have great connections and resources in the industry, which are good for bootstrapping,  There is a debate around whether to take VCs’ funds as an entrepreneur. Sometimes these firms do little help, and they are also the fastest to dump the project in the bear market. But I think the problem really is in how you deal with the communication and utilization of what VCs have to offer in the most efficient way. What kind of companies do you invest in? How do you do your research and due diligence?We love innovations. We are looking for anything that is innovative enough to change the current paradigm of crypto, and we are not afraid of taking risks.More specifically, we are investing in projects with logical reasoning ability and founders who clearly know where it is going. We like imagination, but those bold imaginations should be based on logical reasoning and analysis. We think right now the whole industry is in the very early stage, just like the Age of Exploration.We want to be the backers of those ambitious “captains,” we want to give them support on “the sailing” with “gears like compass, toolbox and knowledge” because we have seen a lot of captains before and used to be captains ourselves (we still are, from an investment perspective).We will provide the capital needed for the voyage, the safety and even sometimes as a crew member. But we need to back the entrepreneurs who know what they’re doing. And we only invest in captains who really want to find the new continent, not the ones who just want to discover another island and ship some goods back.For research, we always map a specific market to form an architect structure, for example, what is the foundation of the whole DeFi direction, or how many pillars should it really have? We then analyze the driving forces or impact factors behind it. We have a so-called “get-BTC” model to analyze a product from six different aspects, including governance, economy, team, business model, technology and community.What matters most when investing in a crypto company – the product or the team?I would say that at an early stage, the team matters most as products could evolve as time passes by. But people are hard to change. We’re also interested in investing in teams that have seen failures before.But at a later stage, it is the product that matters most as a lot of things might influence the outcome and lead to failure in this ever-changing market.What’s the most difficult thing about investing in crypto companies and products? What kind of risks are involved?The most difficult thing is that there is too much happening every day in the space. I often sleep for only six hours a day, trying to catch up with the innovations happening all over the world. Sometimes we need to slow down a little bit and think rather than act fast.The risk is that we have to realize we are participating in a great experiment in the whole new world. And it’s definitely not risk-resilient. But how do you change the world without experimenting?What is the most promising direction in the industry right now? Why?But we are looking at potentially interesting directions like the arweave ecosystem. We think it is the backbone of Web 3.0, NFT infrastructure and the new paradigm of NFT utility. Other potentially interesting developments include DID, credit lending, community decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), and any type of technology that could bring crypto to mass adoption.What kind of assistance do you provide to the companies you invest in? A compass, toolkit, a supply station. We provide assistance throughout the entire process of product development – from building tokennomics, designing marketing strategy, setting up business development, to recruiting and providing emotional support.Did you ever have an unfortunate experience with projects?For the past two years, so far, so good.What does the future of investment in crypto look like? Do you think it’ll see an inflow of more institutional investment firms?More competition from traditional Web 2.0 giant investors and more small two- or three-men teams that root deep in the ecosystem will take place at the same time.  Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you with all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor can this article be considered as investment advice.

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$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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Web 3.0 needs more users, not more investors

The wide world of crypto has always been made up of people who know a lot about money. After all, cryptocurrencies themselves are financial products.The paradigm-shifting elevator pitch of Web 3.0 has always been able to pique the interest of investors, and over the last couple of years, we’ve seen an extraordinary amount of money flowing freely into the industry. Those funds have come both in the form of direct investment  —  venture capital (VC) and now decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs)  and indirect investment — institutional acquisition of cryptocurrencies driving token prices up and bolstering the crypto-based treasuries of Web 3.0 projects. We can expect to see more and more resources piling into the Web 3.0 space as time goes on, but it is becoming increasingly true that it does not have a (monetary) resource shortage. What it does have, is a shortage of products which are usable, appropriate and attractive for a mainstream audience.So far, Web 3.0 and cryptocurrencies are mostly used by the classic early-adopter demographics — younger people and people with high technical proficiency. That can be expected for any technology which is extremely disruptive. In the past, the same thing has been true of social media (Web 2.0) and even computers. When Meta (former Facebook) first started, only college-aged students were invited to use the platform. When the “web” first drew breath, a list of known websites had to be maintained just so people would be able to use it. Sequencing crypto’s DNA: Finance, decentralization, and democratizationAt the moment, most of us are still living and working in a world where the ability to exchange and trade cryptocurrency tokens for fiat value is an essential part of their function. That paradigm may well shift in the future, but for now, most people’s willingness to hold any given token boils down to their belief in its ability to outperform other assets in the digital and other economies — the incentive is financial. Those incentives have caused a whole slew of people who haven’t been regular investors before to flock to cryptocurrency. The relatively low financial barrier for getting into the crypto market combined with the seduction of stories about massive profits and crypto billionaires has spawned an enormous retail investor class in the cryptocurrency game. Those retail investors are often the same people who are bootstrapping user numbers for a lot of Web 3.0 products. In most cases, the products themselves are directly linked to using cryptocurrency as a vehicle for investment and speculation: Uniswap (UNI), OpenSea and Aave (AAVE) are some of the most well-known, popular Web 3.0 products, and they’re all directly connected to acquiring and trading and getting leverage on cryptocurrency assets. Of course, it makes sense that these products have become popular, and their popularity has driven them to become some of the most polished products in the entire space. However, “investors” are always going to be a pretty small subset of the overall population, and so there will also always be a cap on the number of people who are able to find value in something like Uniswap. For Web 3.0 to continue growing—in size, adoption and value—there needs to be additional focus on creating products that the average person can find value in every single day of their lives. As much as it is an incredible innovation, a Web 3.0 which focuses solely on finance will never be ubiquitous technology. Replacing Web 2.0: Imitation versus innovationA lot of Web 3.0 projects are making massive inroads by being “alternatives to Web 2.0 platforms.” Web 3.0 has some clear advantages over Web 2.0, which make them much more appealing to a broad audience. Some applications, like Odysee, offer a more equitable platform for creators and users than alternatives — in this case, YouTube. By removing the costs and overheads associated with intermediaries and middlemen, Odysee is able to offer creators on their platform a much larger cut of profits than competing Web 2.0 platforms like YouTube and Twitch. Like Odysee, the Brave browser is also trying to create a more equitable platform for its users — this time by overhauling the Web 2.0 ad-based revenue model with a more private, transparent and fair alternative.Web 2.0 ads are often intrusive both in terms of being injected into the content we consume online, as well as the privacy-invasive practices used to serve targeted ads. Brave ads don’t appear on web pages at all but in the system notification tray instead. Ads aren’t targeted using enormous databases of your personal information, instead, chosen locally — so your personal info stays private. Not only that, you can completely opt out of Brave ads if you want to. If you do opt in, users are given 70% of whatever the advertiser paid — creating a much more fair, private,  and transparent advertising system. Other apps, like Session messenger, leverage the benefits of decentralization to offer greatly improved privacy compared to centralized messengers. Using its staked service node network, Session is able to offer more privacy and anonymity than any centralized competitor in a completely trustless way. Apps like these are playing an essential part in onboarding mainstream users onto the Web 3.0 future. Session alone has grown 500% in 2021, as users ditch WhatsApp in favor of more private alternatives. Brave is slowly establishing itself as a major browser and currently has over 40 million users. These things all have a few things in common: they’re easy to use, they have obvious advantages regardless of your interest in crypto, and they don’t require any significant financial investment. Why we need users: Improving products, increasing valueIn tech, value is ultimately driven by users. In the end, if nobody is using your technology, what’s the point? If Web 3.0 is going to remain one of the biggest growing industries in the entire world, it needs users. For all of the benefits it offers, creating truly decentralized applications is a lot more complex than their centralized alternatives. More users will help solve this problem, as products with users can mature more quickly. As Session has grown, the additional feedback, reporting and support from its community has enormously helped improve the actual application. I’m sure other projects have found the same thing, as their popularity has increased, everything moves more quickly. The next step for our industry should be to reach that critical mass of users as quickly as we can. Not only will this continue to drive the growth and improvement of the applications themselves, it will also attract new investment into the space — more resources, more growth. The Web 3.0 train is moving more quickly than it ever has before, but we’re still speeding up. If we want the wheels to keep rolling, we should support and encourage projects which will introduce new mainstream audiences to the exciting world of Web 3.0. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

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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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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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Former CFTC chair Giancarlo joins CoinFund as an adviser

Blockchain investment firm CoinFund has appointed former United States commodities regulator J. Christopher Giancarlo as a strategic adviser — a move that should help the Brooklyn-based company navigate the complex, ever-changing regulatory requirements in its home country. Often referred to as “Crypto Dad” by the blockchain community for his support of digital assets, Giancarlo was nominated as commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in 2014. In January 2017, he became the agency’s acting chair before assuming the role full-time in August of the same year. He held the position until July 2019. CoinFund president Christopher Perkins described Giancarlo as a “driving force” of innovation at the CFTC, especially for advocating “thoughtful crypto policy in the United States.” Jake Bruckman, CoinFund’s founder, said the former government official will provide expertise at a time when domestic crypto regulations are changing in real time. Since leaving the CFTC, Giancarlo has become a more vocal supporter of digital assets and has even served on the board of directors at crypto lending firm BlockFi. In June 2021, Giancarlo told Cointelegraph that the United States risks becoming a “backwater” without a central bank digital currency and that China was clearly the leader in CBDC development. As early as January 2020, Giancarlo was on record saying that the United States needs a digital dollar to compete with China’s CBDC project. [embedded content]Related: US lawmaker proposes bill aimed at limiting Fed’s ability to issue CBDCCoinFund has invested in several crypto-focused startups over the past year. As Cointelegraph reported, the blockchain investment firm closed an $83 million funding round in July 2021 to continue supporting emerging projects in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. The company was behind the recent $50 million Series A funding round for digital asset curator Metaversal and also contributed to NFT marketplace Rarible’s $14 million funding round in June 2021.

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Crypto heavyweights back inflation-resistant savings protocol

Fintech startup Seashell has raised $6 million in seed investments from some of crypto’s biggest venture funds and project founders as it seeks to build out an inflation-resistant finance app — a timely initiative as consumers struggle with the pressures of rising costs.  The investment round was co-led by Khosla Ventures and Kindred Ventures, with additional participation from Robinhood co-founder Vlad Tenev, billionaire investor Mark Cuban, former U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair J. Christopher Giancarlo and Coinbase Ventures. The founders of crypto-focused projects Terra, Polygon, Avalanche and Solana were also among the investors. Seashell is launching a consumer app that gives users a simple way to earn higher yields on their money. The company claims that its Seashell Save product gives users up to 10% interest on their funds, with flexible redemption options. The app is available on both Android and iOS devices. Company founder and CEO Daryl Hok, who also served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at blockchain security firm CertiK, told Cointelegraph that the app generates yield from both “on-chain and off-chain sources” despite not being an actual DeFi product. He further explained:“Similar to how traditional banks put customer money to work by loaning out the funds, Seashell invests customer money across DeFi protocols and off-chain lending to generate higher yields for its users.”Although Seashell isn’t built on the blockchain, the app could still appeal to savers who are worried about inflation and the erosion of their purchasing power.Fed gone wild. M1 money supply edition.Operative word: Wow.$SPX #M1 pic.twitter.com/DQlxOqznZZ— Sven Henrich (@NorthmanTrader) April 6, 2020Inflation has made front-page news over the past six months as governments struggle to contain surging prices. Although politicians have blamed supply shortages for the rise in prices, the more plausible explanation is the ballooning money supply. The United States Federal Reserve, for example, has printed more money in the last two years than in all of the country’s previous history combined. Related: ‘Most bullish macro backdrop in 75 years’ — 5 things to watch in Bitcoin this weekThe United States’ M1 money supply rose from over $4 trillion in January 2020 to over $20.3 trillion in November 2021. Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. LouisCost pressures increased again in December, with the U.S. consumer price index, better known as the CPI, rising 0.5% during the month to a total of 7% annually. That was the highest year-over-year gain since 1982. Sarah House, a senior economist at Wells Fargo, told the Wall Street Journal that “There is still tremendous momentum when it comes to inflation right now,” adding that price increases are likely to peak in the coming months.

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Binance Labs backs $200M Oasis Ecosystem Fund

Binance Labs, the venture capital (VC) arm of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, announced Tuesday that it will contribute to Oasis Foundation’s $200 million ecosystem development fund, sending a strong signal that major investors were still keen to back emerging projects on alternative blockchain networks. With the investment, Binance Labs joins other prominent VC firms in supporting the Oasis Network, an alternative smart contract platform that intends to compete with Ethereum. As Cointelegraph reported in November, Oasis Foundation initially launched a $160 million development fund to lure promising startups to its blockchain. In addition to Binance Labs, other notable VC firms to support the ecosystem development fund include Hashed, Jump Capital, Dragonfly Capital and Draper Dragon.Bill Chin, who heads the Binance Labs fund, touted the Oasis Network’s “scalability and privacy-preserving features,” as well as its ability to advance Web3 development, as reasons for backing the project.Binance Labs has invested in several blockchain projects over the past 12 months. As Cointelegraph reported, in December, the VC firm led a $60 million investment round into cross-chain protocol Multichain. A few weeks later, Binance Labs announced that it had participated in Woo Network’s $12 million Series A funding round. Related: OpenSea raises $300M for encrypted digital marketplaceVenture capital made a huge splash in the blockchain industry in 2021, with investment firms pumping over $17 billion into crypto-focused projects through the first 10 months of the year. The investment flows were steady throughout the year even as Bitcoin (BTC) and the broader cryptocurrency market experienced turbulent price action. Market turbulence has resurfaced at the start of 2022, with Bitcoin briefly falling below $40,000 and the broader crypto markets bleeding heavily. 

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OpenSea raises $300 million for encrypted digital marketplace

The nonfungible token (NFT) market is gaining momentum as the next frontier in collectibles, gaming and the metaverse. To accelerate this vision, OpenSea announced on Jan. 4 that it has secured $300 million in a Series C funding led by Coatue and Paradigm.OpenSea is a digital market based on the Wyvern Protocol, which is composed of custom-built Ethereum smart contracts that are expressly created for buying and selling unique digital assets. The marketplace was established in 2018.With the most recent investment, OpenSea’s value has now surpassed $13.3 billion. Apart from Paradigm and Coatue, OpenSea noted that there were a number of both new and existing investors who participated in the round.Related: Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs catch up to CryptoPunks, flips floor priceOpenSea said it will use the money to further develop its product, enhance customer service and security, invest in the wider NFT and Web3 community, and hire more employees.In 2021, NFTs played a major role in the mainstream success of crypto and blockchain. The industry recorded over $14 billion in sales during the year, with digital art collections and digital collectibles accounting for 91% of transactions, according to company data. OpenSea has already generated more than $700 million worth of trade volume since the start of 2022, as reported by Cointelegraph.

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NFT-focused holding company raises $50 Series A

Digital asset curator Metaversal announced Tuesday that it has completed a $50 million funding round to further expand its investment capabilities in the nonfungible token (NFT) and metaverse sectors. The Series A funding round was co-led by investment firms CoinFund and Foxhaven, with additional participation from Collab+Currency, Dapper Labs, Digital Currency Group, Franklin Templeton, Rarible, Theta Blockchain Ventures, Galaxy Vision Hill and others. Metaversal said it will use the funding to expand its NFT-focused business, including acquiring high-profile digital collectibles and supporting projects that are being bootstrapped by its venture studio. The funding also enabled Metaversal to secure partnerships with NFT platform Rarible and Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain. Flow, which provides the infrastructure for NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties, is also being supported by Google and Filecoin, among other notable partners. Related: Square Enix CEO reveals plans for blockchain, metaverse, NFTsNFTs were a major factor behind crypto and blockchain’s mainstream success in 2021. The sector generated over $14 billion in sales during the year, with digital art collections and digital collectibles accounting for 91% of transactions, according to industry data. While digital art has largely dominated the NFT market to date, that could soon change with the arrival of music NFTs and fashion-focused collectibles. NFT sales peaked in late August and early September. Source: NonFungibleVenture funds have also identified NFTs as a major growth vector and have funded projects in this space to the tune of $2.1 billion as of Q3 2021. Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz was responsible for nearly 40% of NFT-focused deal activities, according to PitchBook. As Cointelegraph reported, venture funds invested over $17 billion into crypto- and blockchain-focused startups in the first 10 months of 2021, which was more than three times the amount in all of 2020. 

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Crypto Biz: What's up with Jack? Dec. 16-23

When you’re no longer at the helm of a publicly-traded company, you have more leeway to express controversial views. Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took to social media this week to express his discontent over venture capital’s role in Web 3.0. Some of his Twitter followers agreed with his views, others disagreed and some even blocked him entirely. Below is the concise version of the latest “Crypto Biz” newsletter, which is sent to your inbox every Thursday. For a comprehensive breakdown of business developments over the last week, register for the full newsletter below. “You don’t own Web 3.0,” says DorseyDorsey’s gripe with Web 3.0 — a broad term that refers to a more decentralized and interconnected version of the internet — stems from those who control a commanding stake in these emerging protocols. By owning a large stake in Web 3.0 startups, venture capital funds and limited partners can pressure the founders to comply with centralized regulations that go against the ethos of decentralization. Tesla CEO Elon Musk joined Dorsey on Twitter in mocking Web 3.0 projects.Has anyone seen web3? I can’t find it.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 21, 2021Seven Seven Six and Polygon launch $200M fundReddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has deployed vast sums of capital via his Seven Seven Six venture firm to back new Web 3.0 and social projects building on Polygon. The fund, which is valued at a whopping $200 million, will focus specifically on gaming applications and social media platforms. The news came more than a month after Ohanian’s VC teamed up with Solana Ventures on a $100 million Web 3.0 growth fund. In other words, 2022 could be the year where “crypto social” takes off. SBI Group launches crypto-asset fund in JapanOne of Tokyo’s biggest financial services companies is making it easier for Japanese investors to access large-cap cryptocurrencies. Earlier this week, SBI Group unveiled its SBI Alternative Fund, which provides exposure to seven digital assets: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Chainlink (LINK) and Polkadot (DOT). Crypto-curious investors will have until the end of January to file their applications to invest in the fund.Binance Labs leads $60M funding round for MultichainBinance’s venture capital arm, Binance Labs, was one of several big-name investors to back cross-chain protocol Multichain in a $60 million private seed round. Multichain claims that its protocol connects “more public blockchains and crypto assets than anyone else,” which likely explains Binance Labs’ strong interest in the project. Investors can expect to hear more about interoperability in 2022 as the crypto economy continues to mature. 

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