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Animoca Brands doubles valuation to $2.2 billion with new $65 million funding round

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Game Nonfungible Token (NFT) and virtual real estate developer Animoca Brands doubled their estimate to $2.2 billion after closing a new round of funding that totaled $65 million.


Game Nonfungible Token (NFT) and virtual real estate developer Animoca Brands doubled their estimate to $2.2 billion after closing a new round of funding that totaled $65 million. The latest funding round was valued at $2.2 billion and included backing from gaming giant Ubisoft Entertainment, as well as Liberty City Ventures, Sequoia China, Dragonfly Capital, to name a few. This is a bigger reason for the company to form on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) in March 2020, partly because of its stake in cryptocurrencies. More than 43.8 million new shares issued will be distributed to investors on Wednesday at a price of Australian dollars per share or $1.51, the company announced.

Animoca already has a total of 203.88 million euros in 2021. The brand's metauniverse and interactive content company said the new funds would be used to fund "strategic investments and acquisitions, product development and popular intellectual property licensing." Animoca co-founder, Yat Siu, outlined the company's vision for digital properties and NFT for the future: “In 2018 we set out a strategy based on our assessment that digital property rights will revolutionize the industry in the future by expanding financial inclusion, and that this significant change will begin with the introduction of NFT in games. The future is already here.” "With the support of our new strategic investor, Animoca Brands will continue to advance in-game blockchain - and beyond - to bring billions of gamers and internet users into real digital ownership," he added.

This is another sign that there is a lot of money going into NFT games and companies focusing on virtual real estate. On Tuesday, Galaxy Interactive, a venture capital firm focused on next-generation interactive technology, announced that it has raised $325 million from 70 different investors for its second fund focused on virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and NFT-focused gaming. The gaming industry is a multibillion-dollar market traditionally dominated by corporate giants such as Atari, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, among others.

Throughout their history, these great companies have made it their goal to offer fun games to attract new players and increase their market share. However, the indispensable token (NFT) seeks to provide financial incentives for gamers to play games in the form of NFT, in addition to an attractive gaming ecosystem. These games, known as Winning Games (P2E), are played on the Metaverse, which is essentially a fictional universe. The P2E gaming model requires that platform users be financially rewarded for their time and effort in the game. As a result, this model has the opportunity to gain a global gaming market share of $175.8 billion, which is expected to grow to more than $200 billion by 2024, according to a report by Newzoo.

Minh Doan, co-founder of Warena, a dedicated NFT game, told more about the relevance of this model. He says: Today we call the “Play to Win” model of the GameFi blockchain – a combination of decentralized finance and game mechanics – a sensation in the market as users receive tokens during the game that can grow tens and even hundreds of times in value. " Logs in the NFT gaming subsector are growing rapidly in terms of users and volume. Their associated local token is also doing very well. The birthmark of Ethereum-based NFT game Axie Infinity (AXS) is leading the way in subsector costs. The token has seen 83.35% gains over the last 90 days, 706% over the last 180 days, and over 73,000% annual gains.

AXS is currently changing hands in the $120 range and has risen to become one of the top 25 cryptocurrencies in terms of market cap according to CoinMarketCap, making it the only NFT-related token to make it. The platform itself has seen impressive growth in terms of users and volume since its inception. According to data from Dappradar, the platform has $2.6 billion worth of trading activity with the participation of 836,149 traders. The platform also announced a program to bet on their native tokens.

Alex Salnikov, co-founder and product manager of Rarible, NFT markets, explained further about the growth drivers of the NFT gaming platform, both in terms of volume and consumers. He says: “This growth is in line with the acceleration of the broader NFT market and appears to underscore the flexibility of the NFT use case. In addition, gamification is usually a trend in cryptocurrencies and fits very well with the concept of NFT, which is closely related to interactive and fun community experiences. ” He added that the valuable offerings of blockchain technology are understandable and self-evident for the gaming industry, including P2E experiences and in-game assets with clear origins.

Although the most widely used blockchain network for decentralized application delivery (DApps) is Ethereum, there are several other blockchain networks in the NFT gaming ecosystem such as Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Polygon, Hive, Harmony, Solana, and Flow that have a large consumer base. also grows with volume growth. Salnikov continued, “The test site is widely recognized as one of the leading blockchain games due to its EVM compatibility, high performance and low gas costs. It is also the main side chain of Ethereum, which means that it is connected to the core NFT ecosystem in the first tier. " Jesse Reich, co-founder and CEO of Splinterlands, one of NFT's leading consumer gaming platforms, talked about choosing the Hive network protocol to develop their games. He says: “People thought our choice of Koshera was odd from day one, but it has a Freemia structure. Players can register with username and password and get started. Hard to do on a POW blockchain with gas fee loops.

On October 12, Binance announced a $1 billion accelerated fund for the development of the entire BSC ecosystem. Popular BSC games such as MOBOX: NFT Farmer, Faraland, ZOO Crypto World, and CryptoBlades will increase through this fund and lead to mass adoption of the network. Despite the growth of multiple platforms and networks in the NFT gaming subsector, the long-term availability of these games may be questioned as players from the traditional gaming community are used to playing very well-designed games. These titles also boast a formidable gaming ecosystem as most are backed by large companies that have sufficient resources and infrastructure to develop.

For games that use NFT, local tokens and other incentives to reward users, the same cannot be said at this time as it is still in the early stages of development and therefore not very complicated. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the time and effort invested by users of this platform to win these prizes on games that may not be as stimulating as regular games which are relatively accessible. Reich also mentions: “Above all, there has to be a fun game to be a mega-hit. I believe that "win to win" would be something similar to "win to win" and would be the minimum wage someone would be willing to accept for the click of a computer. "

Doan said these games are new generation games that are difficult compared to traditional computer games. He says: “It's a kind of recreation economy where consumers are paid to play and can later double their income as a real retailer. The nice thing about NFT games is that young people - the main audience - easily understand trends and technical nuances that are sometimes difficult for other users.  Despite the rapidly growing NFT gaming ecosystem, traditional gaming giants have yet to adapt to blockchain technology or the integration of NFT into their existing games. In fact, some of them firmly ruled out that possibility.

Valve recently announced the removal of blockchain games from its Steam platform and even urged users not to post any content related to cryptocurrencies and NFTs. The Steam Market is home to thousands of other very popular games such as Counter-Strike, Battlefield, Halo, and Resident Evil. The company teased crypto in 2016 when it announced it would accept Bitcoin (BTC) payments, but it soon closed, citing high fees and volatility. As a result of this ban, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney announced that his company is open to hosting and supporting games that use cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based assets.

Epic - the company behind the wildly popular Fortnite - found that developers were unable to use the platform's payment services to accept cryptocurrency. Instead, they have to use their own payment system. For games without this infrastructure, this can be a barrier to acceptance and inclusion. Valve's perception extends to regulators in the gambling industry. On 14 October, the UK Gambling Commission opened an investigation into one of the most popular NFT fantasy football games, Sorare. The gaming market assesses whether the platform requires a license to operate and whether its services represent a game of chance.

Sorare has made it clear that while he is willing to have an open dialogue and engage with regulators to explain his game, he "does not offer any form of regulated gambling". The platform is worth over $4.3 billion and growing rapidly. With the entire ecosystem in its early stages of development, it seems more of a waiting game to evaluate the true potential, benefits and long-term proposals for integrating crypto, blockchain and NFT into the gaming ecosystem.

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