Days after its $87.7 million capital raising, Animoca Brands has attracted a further $93 million in investment to accelerate its blockchain-based gaming offering – now valuing Animoca at close to $3 billion.
Animoca raised the $93 million as part of a Series B round led by Japanese entity SoftBank Vision Fund 2, which established SoftBank’s maiden venture into crypto assets.
The investment will be to be used to grow Animoca’s subsidiary The Sandbox platform into becoming a prime entertainment destination.
In addition to SoftBank, other investors included Singapore-based True Global Ventures, as well as a multitude of other institutional investors including Liberty City Ventures, Galaxy Interactive, Kingsway Capital and Blue Pool Capital.
“This investment will help fuel the growth of The Sandbox creators’ economy as we expand beyond gaming into fashion, architecture, virtual concerts and shows, art galleries, museums, and more,” The Sandbox co-founder and chief executive officer Arthur Madrid said.
Mr Madrid also explained that his company is actively developing an entire ecosystem that opens new digital “job opportunities” for players and creators in the company’s NFT metaverse.
Animoca revealed the investment will enable the company to scale the platform’s growth as a “prime entertainment destination” where brands, IPs, and celebrities can engage with their fans through virtual experiences including games, live performances and social experiences.
According to The Sandbox co-founder and chief operating officer Sebastien Borget, the investment round will also beef up existing operations and extend player acquisition in The Sandbox ecosystem “while sending a clear statement that the world’s most innovative fund believes in Web3 and decentralisation as the next major trend”.
Entering the metaverse
The Sandbox founders are adamant that their work is a unique project promising more than just a gallery of games. The team behind the world’s leading open NFT metaverse platform says it is building a virtual world including a topographical layout that can be explored using personalised 3D avatars.
Participants can navigate the digital in-game world, crossing borders from one LAND to another, thereby making the location of each game experience very similar to actual real estate.
In other words, users’ location and who their digital neighbours are, become nearly as important as the quality of the entertainment experience.
An added concept being introduced into the metaverse is enabling the use of NFTs to enhance existing digital experiences and empowering players to create value and earning power. The Sandbox participants can obtain digital employment opportunities for architects, hosters, landowners and performers.
To highlight its overarching strategy, Animoca has confirmed that its grand digital gaming and lifestyle offering will be decentralised and democratised for the good of all its users. The Sandbox developers have confirmed they intend the game to emerge as the primary NFT-based open metaverse in the world – a place where the content, economy, and even governance will be delegated to players, creators, and users who contribute to this virtual world.
Within the metaverse, players can use a “play-to-earn” model to monetise the time they’ve spent in-game. The Sandbox intends to utilise play-to-earn to create a circular feedback loop, thereby allowing organic supply and demand to dictate in-game resource allocation.
Strong growth to-date
So far in 2021, The Sandbox has enjoyed strong growth multiples and, since its inception, has generated over US$144 million in gross merchandise value (GMV).
The venture has also attracted over 500,000 users to create a connected wallet as well as over 165 renowned brands including Snoop Dogg, The Walking Dead, The Smurfs, Care Bears, Atari and CryptoKitties.
All existing Sandbox participants have formed IP partnerships to create “voxelised” versions of their worlds and characters, to be used (as well as traded) in-game.
“We believe The Sandbox is constructing an open metaverse, unlocking new economic opportunities by empowering people to build and monetise their creations, from avatars and buildings to games and collectables,” said Aaron Wong, investor at SoftBank.
“Leveraging blockchain technology and decentralised governance, the company is putting the power and control in the hands of its users, resulting in a thriving global community,” he added.