Animoca brands nft 359m liberty 5b

Quick take:

  • Animoca Brands completed a $359M funding round on Tuesday, valuing the blockchain VC firm at $5 billion.
  • Yat Siu’s firm also extended its investment in the NFT and GameFi, leading Burnt Finance’s $8M funding round.
  • Animoca will use the funding to make more strategic acquisitions and investments and build products.

Leading GameFi and NFT investor Animoca Brands on Tuesday completed a $359 million funding round at a valuation of $5 billion. The round was led by the current investor, the New York-based venture capital fund, Liberty City Ventures.

The blockchain company’s founder, Yat Siu said the funds will be used to finance more strategic acquisitions and investments, whilst also developing new products and licenses for intellectual property.


NFT Powerhouse Animoca Brands Hits USD 5B Valuation as Winklevoss & Soros Join USD 359M Round

Major non-fungible token (NFT)-focused company Animoca Brands said reached a valuation of USD 5bn after completing a USD 359m investment round.

The latest investment round for Animoca Brands was led by Liberty City Ventures, with participation from a range of other investors including 10T Holdings, C Ventures, Delta Fund, Gemini Frontier Fund, and many others.

Soros Fund Management and Winklevoss Capital, founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the chief executive officer and the president of GeminiTrust Co., are also among the investors.

The free NFTs that players receive allow them to play the game, and in addition to that I think that many gamers find the quality of true ownership to be a positive change from traditional gaming: even if they don’t sell their NFTs, it still feels good to know that they can.

It boils down to giving gamers transient versus lasting value. You can play games for temporary enjoyment, which is what games are for. But now, in addition to that, you can also enjoy the more tangible benefits of property rights.

It is encouraging to view responses of actual gamers who try some of our blockchain games.

GamesBeat: Do you see equal weight for the strategy in terms of nft games and the metaverse? Or is one more important to invest in?

Siu: NFT games and the open metaverse tend to be closely interrelated and are, in some cases, the same thing.

Here’s the answers:

GamesBeat: What is the reason for raising more money so soon after the last round?

Siu: Raising money is not only about the funding itself but also about establishing partnerships and alliances. At valuations like ours, in order to make investor involvement meaningful the round sizes get larger. New investors such as Soros Fund, Winklevoss Capital, Gemini Frontier Fund, Pacific Century, Stable, Wildcat, Mirae, Senator, and ParaFI all offer incredible value to Animoca Brands as we reach for new heights.

GamesBeat: Does this enable more acquisitions, or more investments by Animoca into new blockchain game companies?

Siu: Both.

The top five companies that raised the most money were Forte ($900 million), Sorare ($783 million), Dapper Labs ($607 million), Mythical Games ($270 million), and Animoca Brands ($221 million).

Above: Animoca Brands wants to be the leader in blockchain gaming.

Animoca Brands was one of the earliest companies to adopt a blockchain gaming strategy in 2018, starting with a belief that NFTs would be adopted in games. Now that prediction has come true, though blockchain games still face significant hurdles in mainstream adoption, ease of use, environment impact concerns (some true, some outdated), and fears of scams. Lots of hardcore gamers say they hate NFTs.

In the meantime, brands such as Ubisoft, South Korea’s Com2Us, Square Enix, Zynga, and others have come out in support of NFTs in games.

I asked some questions via email of Siu.

Expensive game titles, rapacious in-app purchases, costly skins, pay-to-win offerings, and the like – often all at once.

It’s therefore no surprise gamers are wary of NFTs, because they think that it’s just another exploitation strategy. In the wrong hands that could be the case, of course, but what gamers don’t yet fully grasp is that NFTs also represent a potential paradigm shift that is very much to THEIR advantage: the transition from a feudalistic operator-owned system to one where individual users finally enjoy digital property rights.

Consider how we approached this issue in our games REVV Racing and Phantom Galaxies: the several thousand NFTs we dropped were completely free. More than 90% of users who joined our games became first-time NFT holders whose first experience was to earn something simply by participating, and which was worth real money.

We have defined the open metaverse as an interconnected series of open worlds where users enjoy ownership and agency over their digital assets, where property rights and composability provide the foundations for a potentially infinite number of creations.

GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it.

Ultimately, NFTs are simply a way to give gamers ownership and control of game assets that previously were the sole property of game companies.

Just as important, every game company needs to create a good model for gamer engagement that is less exploitative and more, well, engaging. For decades, game companies have been riding on the passion and dedication of gamers, extracting value from them aggressively in order to maximize profits. Now, gamers are being offered a different approach.

Most gamers are not ready to pay thousands of dollars just to play a game without immediate utility and earning potential.
That’s why in our games like Phantom Galaxies and REVV Racing we give away NFTs as rewards for activity and engagement.

Ultimately, NFTs are simply a way to give gamers ownership and control of game assets that previously were the sole property of game companies.

Just as important, every game company needs to create a good model for gamer engagement that is less exploitative and more, well, engaging. For decades, game companies have been riding on the passion and dedication of gamers, extracting value from them aggressively in order to maximize profits. Now, gamers are being offered a different approach.

Most gamers are not ready to pay thousands of dollars just to play a game without immediate utility and earning potential.
That’s why in our games like Phantom Galaxies and REVV Racing we give away NFTs as rewards for activity and engagement.

The Phantom Galaxies NFTs (the Halberd-001) are trading for around $17 to $20 and the REVV Racing level 1 cars are trading at around $10. Those game items were introduced free of charge (we didn’t sell anything) which means that many gamers were able – for the very first time – to experience the benefits of true digital ownership.

GamesBeat: Did that resistance affect the funding round at all?Siu: Not in the least. The investors we brought on board have a good understanding of the situation.

GamesBeat: How do we get around some of that and convince them this is worth it?Siu: Education is obviously critical: gamers, who are accustomed to being milked for money, must be made to understand that NFTs are not automatically a scam.

Some NFTs are indeed a scam, of course, but that applies to literally anything.

Animoca Brands

“Secondary placement of shares is occurring because there was high demand that could not be fulfilled in the primary placement,” added the spokesperson, “however secondary placement is not considered part of this capital raise and any sums exchanged via secondary sales do not count toward the company’s finances.”

Liberty City Ventures — and earlier investor in Animoca — led the new round, along with a mix of other earlier and new investors, including 10T Holdings, C Ventures, Delta Fund, Gemini Frontier Fund, Gobi Partners Greater Bay Area, Kingsway, L2 Capital, Mirae Asset, Pacific Century Group, ParaFi Capital, Provident, Senator Investment Group, Sequoia China, Smile Group, Stable Asset Management, Soros Fund Management, Wildcat Capital Management and Winklevoss Capital.

It’s easy to appreciate Animoca’s appeal right now.

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