Sky Mavis, the Vietnamese startup behind the blockchain game Axie Infinity, has announced a US$7.5 million Series A fundraise, led by Libertus Capital.
A host of institutional and individual investors, including Collab + Currency, Blocktower Capital and Backed VC, besides individuals such as Mark Cuban, Alexis Ohanian and Kevin Lin, also participated.
The startup’s seed investors — it previously raised US$1.5 million — including Animoca Brands, Hashed, Pangea Blockchain Fund, Consensys and 500 Startups Vietnam also returned to join the latest round.
The fresh funds will be used to scale Axie Infinity and non-fungible tokens (NFT) gaming to “billions of users”, as well as to hire aggressively to bolster “our ranks with missionaries”.
“We believe that games, with real, player-owned economies will become places where we live, work, and play. These new digital nations will take time to build and require expertise in philosophy, economy, and game design. With our new investors, we get everything we have been looking for and more,” said Sky Mavis COO and co-founder Aleksander Leonard Larsen.
The blockchain venture was founded in early 2018 by Larsen, Nguyễn Thành Trung, Đoàn Minh Tú, , Hồ Sỹ Việt Anh and Jeffrey Samuel Kim Zirlin.
A technology-focused game studio, Sky Mavis creates virtual worlds with player owned-economies and marketplaces for trustless trading of unique digital assets, besides infrastructure that enables its products to reach millions of players worldwide.
Axie Infinity, which is a top game on Ethereum, is a virtual world full of fierce, adorable pets, called Axies, which can be battled, collected and even used to earn an income.
The firm claims Axie Infinity has approximately 41,000 daily active users, of which 45-50 per cent is from Southeast Asia (mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia). It also has more than 40,000 Axie holders and generates over US$12 million in monthly NFT volume.
(NFTs enable new types of games. Just as mobile gaming unlocked new design space and player archetypes, so too will NFT games. These games won’t look like the games of the past and will require an entirely new perspective and skillset to build.)
Primarily, the startup earns money from direct NFT sales and takes a 4.25 per cent cut on each trade that happens on its internal NFT marketplace.
“Our NFT marketplace has processed over US$55 million since inception, and this month is our best ever with US$14.6 million traded between players. In the future, we will publish other games on our ‘Mavis Hub’ (Steam for blockchain games) and take a cut of their revenue in return for letting them use our platform and access our userbase of players,” he disclosed.
In addition to Axie, Sky Mavis is currently working on a wallet, a scalability solution called Ronin, and a Blockchain gaming store.
“Axie Infinity is at the intersection of gaming and NFTs, two of the fastest growing and most promising cryptocurrency use cases. With over 30,000 daily active users, they have proven product-market fit and an incredibly passionate community. We’re excited to support Sky Mavis as they scale to the next 300,000 and then 3 million users,” said Ari Paul, CIO at Blocktower Capital.
“Sitting at the intersection of digital play, property ownership, and the future of work, Axie Infinity is one of the most fascinating and ambitious gaming projects in the world. With over 30,000 DAUs and 40,000 Axie holders, and no signs of slowing down, we’re witnessing a powerful, community-run digital nation form in real time,” a joint statement from Derek Schloss and Stephen McKeon from Collab + Currency said.
Blockchain v/s ordinary mobile games
“Blockchain enables the user to truly own their game assets by using NFTs. Our data shows that they become more engaged and confident in spending money, knowing they can always sell them if they want. It also means that we, as a game company, cannot inflate the economy with too many assets since everything is transparent and tamper-evident,” Larsen explained.
“This adds another level of safety for the user, which again increases their confidence in the game. Players can also bring their NFT assets with them into other experiences that aren’t made by the initial developer,” he concluded.
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