GameFi and NFT are entering a craze. Which companies are behind them?
On July 30, the cover of Fortune magazine reported that DeFi is occupying Wall Street. The article means that DeFi is rapidly penetrating Wall Street, so that all financial institutions must build their own DeFi strategies to avoid being eliminated in the future competition. In fact, we can find the tremendous changes in the development of DeFi in recent months. It has become a broad concept. It is no longer the DeFi mentioned in the previous few months, which is “pure financial” such as lending, oracles, and DEX. Concept, now to understand Defi, I am afraid it is more appropriate to understand it as “a financial economic system with valuable data on the chain”. Under this new category definition, the recent development trend of Defi has appeared a kind of alienation: the original “pure finance” is subject to the broader market, and its development has not been as fast as imagined. On the contrary, the marginal development originally thought has gradually become the mainstream of the field. The most obvious is the chain game Defi (GameFi), or the direct construction of the metaverse. Obviously, these two have shown the potential of changing the world and are not limited at all. The so-called decentralized finance is a new product of global outreach.
Gaming is a global industry: there are currently more than 2.7 billion gamers in the world, mainly in Asia, Europe and Latin America. In addition, games are firmly integrated into the daily lives of many people: 60% of Americans play video games in some form every day, and video game streaming has 1.2 billion viewers every year. For example, Fortnite is a popular product of Epic Games. In 2020, there are more than 350 million monthly active players, generating 5.1 billion US dollars in revenue, which shows that even a single game can achieve great success. Some analysts predict that the value of the gaming industry will exceed US$300 billion in the next few years.
With the development of 3D digital content manufacturing technologies such as Unity and Unreal, and the maturity of related VR and AR software and hardware technologies, it is expected that games will become one of the main presentation forms of blockchain applications. The game industry is actively experimenting with more sophisticated visual effects, virtual world construction, automated generation, user independent creation, social mode, etc., and user creation and social platforms such as Roblox have emerged. It is expected that the industry will be in the open world, UGC platform Continue to innovate and evolve in categories such as, social games, virtual currency, etc., a large number of 3A-level chain games will be born in the future, and the game types will also be extended to RPG, competitive games and other fields to satisfy players with higher games
The current Play To Earn model provides strong support for the development of chain games. From Decentraland and Roblox, you can see a possible future direction of Play To Earn. Create To brings new services and economic benefits to players through virtual creation. Earn mode. Its earning effect is mainly achieved through creators providing players with value-added services, that is, Create To Earn. Creators build the game world, create skins, and sell items to players, thereby enhancing the player’s gaming experience. This enables creators to obtain real-world benefits through virtual creation, and sandbox games begin to move towards the UGC platform. Under economic incentives, user creation is stimulated. This kind of player creation as the leading factor brings immersive experience and social scenes, and has seen the embryonic form of new growth points in the follow-up blockchain ecology.
GameFi and NFT investment company
a16z (ANDREESSEN HOROWITZ) is a venture capital institution located in Silicon Valley, California, founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. The name a16z is also derived from the A and Z in the names of the two founders and the 16 letters in the middle.
Since its establishment, a16z has invested in many star companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and Slack. Unlike other investment institutions, a16z can be regarded as a media company that makes profits through venture capital. It currently manages $18.8 billion in assets and involves 7 funds, including 3 crypto funds.
As a weather vane for investment in the crypto market, a16z is increasing its investment in the NFT field. Current NFT projects include OpenSea, Dapper Labs, Zed Run developer Virtually Human Studio and Bitski. In addition, in order to help content creators, developers, institutions and other organizations understand the use of NFT, a16z also launched the NFT content integration platform Canon.
Coinbase Ventures is a venture capital fund established in 2018 by Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, to provide early-stage investment for cryptocurrency and blockchain startups. According to the official website, Coinbase Ventures has invested in 72 projects.
In the investment blueprint of Coinbase Ventures, NFT is also an indispensable part. For example, Animoca Brands, Rarible, Zora, OpenSea, Dapper Labs and Genies have all received investment.
Digital Currency Group
Digital Currency Group holds a pivotal position in the crypto market and is one of the few financial giants on Wall Street that focuses on blockchain and digital currency investment. In terms of investment in the NFT field, Digital Currency Group has spared no effort in investing in Dapper Labs (FLOW), Decentraland (MANA), Metaverse AI, Big Time Studios, NFTBank.ai and Wilder World. Among them, Grayscale Investment also registered FLOW and MANA trust funds
Alameda Research was established in 2017 by Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the founder of the crypto trading platform FTX, which recently received US$900 million in financing. It manages more than US$1 billion in digital assets. Its business includes trading (quantitative trading + market making) Business), OTC, research analysis and investment.
Dragonfly Capital is a venture capital company supported by the founders of Baidu, Meituan, Meitu, Sequoia China, and Zhen Fund. In March of this year, Dragonfly Capital launched a second-phase fund with a scale of approximately US$225 million to support projects in the fields of DeFi, NFT and creator capitalization, and Sequoia China will join the second-phase fund as a strategic LP.
At present, Dragonfly Capital has invested in projects such as Element, Taker Protocol, Showtime, TryShowtime, among which social platforms are the key layout direction of Dragonfly Capital.
Polychain Capital is a native crypto hedge fund established in 2016 in San Francisco, California. Its founder Olaf Carlson-Wee is known as the first employee of Coinbase, and the famous Litecoin founder Li Qiwei is the second employee of Coinbase. Therefore, Polychain Capital also attracted US$250 million in investment from well-known venture capital institutions such as a16z, Sequoia Capital and Union Square Ventures. According to an investor document in a CoinDesk report in March this year, Polychain Capital has achieved an overall return of 1332.3% since its establishment in 2016.
AU79 Ventures was established in 2019. It is a research-driven blockchain investment company. It is also a GameFi and SocialFi unicorn institution. It adheres to the concept of immersive investment and has now built an investment bank and a chain game laboratory.
The team will empower the project from many aspects. In addition to financial support, the investment project will be fully empowered in financing planning, financial product design, economic system, marketing, etc., and truly help entrepreneurs. The main investment portfolio includes Axie. Infinity, Polygon, Decentraland, Terra, Avalanche, DODO, TheSandbox, etc.
Galaxy Digital was founded by the legendary Wall Street billionaire Mike Novogratz and has been listed on the GEM of the Toronto Stock Exchange. As of 2020, Galaxy Digital’s fund management scale exceeds US$1.4 trillion.
Animoca Brands is a blockchain game and NFT developer. Its games include The Sandbox, F1®Delta Time, MotoGP Ignition™, etc. Recently, Animoca Brands received 50 million U.S. dollars in financing. Blue Pool Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Liberty City Ventures and Samsung Ventures participated in the investment. This round of funding brought its financing to approximately 139 million U.S. dollars. Among them, among many institutions, Blue Pool Capital is a family wealth fund jointly established by Jack Ma and Alibaba’s core founder Cai Chongxin.
The game development team Dapper Labs owns the popular games CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot, and the Flow blockchain. It plans to cooperate with the avatar technology company Genies in the third quarter of this year to launch an NFT market called “Genies Marketplace” on Flow. The platform aims to become the Amazon of Metaverse Wearable Equipment NFT. In the latest round of financing, Dapper Labs completed a $305 million financing led by Coatue, top stars Michael Jordan, and Kevin Durant, and its valuation rose to $2.6 billion. In April this year, a person familiar with the matter revealed that Dapper Labs is conducting a new round of financing with a valuation of more than 7.5 billion US dollars.
Samsung Next is an investment fund established by Samsung with a USD 150 million investment in 2017, mainly focusing on artificial intelligence, blockchain, and financial technology.
As a traditional VC, Samsung Next is also accelerating the deployment of NFT, and has successively invested in popular projects such as Animoca Brands, Dapper Labs, Flow, SuperRare and Nifty’s.
Billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is a loyal fan of cryptocurrency and a heavy NFT enthusiast. In his opinion, NFT has a bright future. In addition to several large purchases and even distribution of encrypted art, and active application of NFT, for example, Cuban will issue NFT tickets for the Dallas Mavericks game next season, is building the NFT digital art gallery Lazy.com, etc., he also invested in SuperRare, Mintable , Cryptoslam, OpenSea, Sky Mavis, Nifty’s and NFT Genius.
CoinFund is an investment group that specializes in cryptocurrency startups. It has three funds, of which the third $83 million fund mainly invests in DeFi and NFT projects. Not only that, CoinFund plans to launch a new investment tool, Metaversal, which can not only serve as an investment path for investors to bet on the entire NFT market, but also become a development tool for NFT projects.
Hashkey Capital is an investment fund focusing on the blockchain industry under the HashKey Group, a financial group headquartered in Hong Kong. Among them, Xiao Feng, the chairman of HashKey Group, is the vice chairman and executive director of China Wanxiang Holdings Co., Ltd. and the chairman and general manager of Shanghai Wanxiang Blockchain Co., Ltd.
As one of the more active venture capital institutions in Asia, Hashkey Capital’s investment frequency in the NFT field is also very high. The projects involved include Animoca Brands, Enjin, Genies, MyNFT and Alchemynft.
Moonwhale Ventures is a blockchain technology consulting and investment platform established in 2017 to help companies implement blockchain, expansion/new enterprise construction, fundraising, and consulting market strategies.
OKEx Blockdream Ventures
OKEx Blockdream Ventures is an investment institution under the trading platform OKEx that focuses on discovering global high-quality blockchain projects with an initial capital of US$100 million. Since its establishment, the organization has invested and supported dozens of blockchain projects around the world, some of which have been launched on platforms such as OKEx.
Founded in 2017, NGC Ventures is a venture capital fund focused on the blockchain industry. Its predecessor was NEO Global Capital, with assets of more than 400 million U.S. dollars.
Spark Digital Capital
Spark Digital Capital is a well-known international cryptocurrency venture capital fund with a total capital of more than hundreds of millions. It focuses on the blockchain industry ecology, encrypted digital currency and financial technology. Currently, it has invested in more than 50 block chain projects. And ecological early projects.
IOSG Ventures is a research and community-driven crypto venture capital fund, focusing on investing in DeFi, Web3.0, infrastructure and other tracks, and has invested in more than 60 projects.
LD Capital is mainly involved in blockchain primary and secondary investments and transactions, with special funds, funds of funds, hedge funds, etc. under its umbrella. Since 2016, LD Capital has invested in nearly 300 projects, including DeFi, Layer2, public chain, GameFi, Metaverse, etc.