One of Asia’s largest investors in blockchain technologies is assembling a vast portfolio of finance, gaming, and social media companies as a challenge to more established empires.
According to the head of the Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands, Yat Siu, the goal is to give people ownership over their virtual properties and break up the likes of Meta Platforms and Microsoft, which he describes as “digital dictatorships.”
Siu’s strategy came about in the light of the crypto crash of 2018, when he turned his small video game studio into a crypto investor. The startup bought a stake in the owner of CryptoKitties, a Pokémon-like game with virtual cats that can be bought and sold with digital money. Spurred by its success, he kept buying.
Four years on, Animoca has become one of crypto’s biggest players, counting Sequoia Capital and George Soros as investors. Animoca’s flagship backing is in Vietnamese gaming firm Sky Mavis, which produces the blockchain video game Axie Infinity.
“If people say this is a crypto winter, then 2018 was the crypto ice age,” Siu says. “Now is the time to deploy more capital, not less.”
According to a Bloomberg report, the game economy has grown fast, in part because of the popularity of digital collectibles.
This, in turn, has attracted wealthy players to the platform. But the crypto crash hit Axie Infinity hard, with its daily users plummeting to 250,000 from a high of more than two million last year.
The road to becoming blockchain unicorns
A study by KPMG and HSBC identified a handful of Web3 firms in Asia Pacific that might become unicorns within the next 10 years.
The reports stated that despite the harsh conditions in the crypto market, some firms have the capacity of becoming unicorns.
And markets in the Asia-Pacific region with China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, and Australia will lead the pack.
Animoca’s portfolio grows
The most recent fundraising round has drawn a variety of opinions from all sides of the crypto sector. Animoca Brands’ Yat Siu said that the firm is “deeply gratified” by investors’ faith in the face of the crypto winter.
The Animoca platform has extended its reach across the crypto ecosystem. The company’s portfolio comprises over 150 NFT-related projects, some of which include OpenSea, Axie Infinity, Sandbox, and Dapper Labs.
Animoca has expressed the desire to go public in the next two to three years. However, it will depend on what form a crypto recovery will take, and how soon.
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