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Animoca Brands raised $360 million to create “The Open Metaverse”

Animoca Brands reported Tuesday that it has raised roughly $360 million in a fresh investment round, valuing the Hong Kong-based blockchain gaming company at $5.4 billion. The investment takes the company’s total cash raised to about $700 million, more than doubling its prior estimate of $2.2 billion from October 2021. It intends to use the funds to make acquisitions, develop new products, and licence additional intellectual property.

The fundraising was led by Liberty City Ventures and featured additional investors like as Winklevoss Capital and Soros Fund Management, continuing an exciting period for blockchain gaming and non-fungible tokens. According to data from NFT sales tracking firm DappRadar, the market for NFTs grew to about $25 billion in 2021, up from just under $100 million in 2020.

Animoca Brands develops, operates and invests in blockchain gaming and NFT-related companies and is underpinned by the concept of “true digital ownership,” or turning every game item into real world assets in the form of NFTs. Its most popular titles include The Sandbox and Revv Racing. The company also has investments in more than 150 NFT, metaverse and blockchain companies, including OpenSea, NBA Top Shot creator Dapper Labs, Axie Infinity developers Sky Mavis, and, as of last week, the Fan Controlled Football league.

Animoca Brands was created and spun off from Animoca, a game-focused outlet incubated at digital communications company Outblaze (which was also founded by Animoca Brands cofounder and executive chairman, Yat Siu), in 2014 to focus on its burgeoning mobile gaming business. Following a move to NFTs and blockchain gaming in 2017, Animoca Brands drew the ire of the Australian Stock Exchange, which claimed the business had broken its listing requirements due to its “involvement in cryptocurrency related operations,” among other things. In March 2020, it was delisted.

Since then, it’s changed drastically. Animoca Brands raised $88.8 million in the first of two funding rounds in May, valued at $1 billion. It raised another $65 million in October from investors including Sequoia Capital and Ubisoft, after completing the second portion, a $50 million investment, in July.

However, Animoca Brands isn’t the first blockchain gaming firm to receive a windfall. Competitor Mythical Games raised $75 million in June for its blockchain-based fantasy soccer game, while three months later, Sorare raised $680 million for its blockchain-based fantasy soccer game. Animoca Brands owns investments in both Sky Mavis and Dapper Labs, which raised $152 million and $250 million, respectively, near the end of 2021. Siu is unconcerned about his rivals. He’s actually banking on them. In November, he told Forbes, “With Web 3.0, it’s a shared network impact.” “There may be rivalry amongst the parties, but they all require one another.”