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.
Regarding 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.
Venture 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.