Animoca brandsa Hong Kong-based blockchain game developer and investor in non-fungible tokens (NFTs), has reached a valuation of $2.2 billion after attracting new capital from investors including France’s Ubisoft Entertainment and Sequoia China .
Animoca announced on Wednesday that it raised $65 million in its latest funding round which also included Liberty City Ventures, Dragonfly Capital, as well as Jack Ma’s protege Justin Sun, who is the founder of cryptocurrency platform Tron. , among others. Animoca previously raised $88.9 million through a funding round in May that saw the seven-year-old company achieve unicorn status.
The company has made a name for itself with play-to-earn blockchain games that allow players to collect and trade NFTs on its platforms. An NFT is a digital asset stored on a blockchain that determines ownership of items such as artwork, music, video, or game items. Among Animoca’s most popular titles are The Sandbox, which is similar to the world-building video game Minecraft. Players in The Sandbox can create and monetize in-game assets such as land, clothing, and gear.
Animoca said it plans to use the new capital to fund strategic investments, acquisitions, product development and intellectual property licensing. “The future is already here,” Yat Siu, co-founder and chairman of Animoca, said in a statement. “With the support of our new strategic investors, Animoca Brands will continue to advance blockchain in gaming – and beyond – to introduce billions of gamers and internet users to true digital ownership.”
The company’s latest funding round serves to highlight the growing popularity of NFTs. Trading volume for the tokens jumped to $10.7 billion in the third quarter, a jump of 704% from the previous quarter, according to an industry report published by DappRadar. Billionaire Elon Musk recently jumped on the bandwagon by selling a song as NFT, while celebrities and sports stars such as Lindsay Lohan and Lionel Messi have started launching their own NFT collections. The scorching space, however, has also attracted skeptics who say the fledgling market is already looking frothy.
Founded as a spin-off in 2014, Animoca began by developing games for smartphones and tablets, some of which were based on cartoon characters like Garfield and Doraemon. The company first ventured into blockchain games around 2017 and has since released several hits, including a licensed Formula 1 race-to-win game.
Animoca has also invested in blockchain companies that focus on NFT-related activities. Its portfolio includes Dapper Labs, the company behind pioneering blockchain game CryptoKitties, Sky Mavis, developer of global sensation Axie Infinity, as well as OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, according to DappRadar.