Visitors view the digital art piece "CryptoPunk #553" by Larva Labs during the opening weekend of the Seattle NFT Museum in Seattle, Washington on January 29, 2022. - Using the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies, Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) transform anything from illustrations to memes into virtual collectors' items that cannot be duplicated. Jason Redmond—AFP https://apple.news/A-z-yJcr7Qk6bGdM3-gh6wQ
Australian NFT startup Immutable has just received $200 million in new funding that pushes its valuation to $2.5 billion, placing the company among a growing number of NFT-related businesses with valuations exceeding $1 billion. Immutable said it plans to use the funds to expand its operations abroad and for merger and acquisitions. In the next six months the company also plans to expand its 165-person-team by 200 employees, according to CoinDesk.
“We’re excited to raise this capital so we can help deploy it aggressively through M&A opportunities,” Immutable’s co-founder and president, Robbie Ferguson, told Reuters, which first reported the news.
The Sydney-based company is the developer of NFT-enabled games like Gods Unchained and Guild of Guardians. The games incorporate non-fungible tokens to give players ownership over their in-game items. In the emerging sector of play-to-earn games, NFTs are used to represent digital items like an avatar, a sword, or an outfit, the ownership of which is recorded in a publicly-visible ledger called the blockchain. The NFTs can be bought and sold outside of the game by individual owners. Immutable has also created a so-called layer 2 blockchain on which businesses can build games, exchanges, and apps.
The funding of the newly minted unicorn—the term used to describe private companies with valuations exceeding $1 billion—was led by Singaporean state-owned investment company Temasek, according to Reuters. Other investors included Mirae Asset, ParaFi Capital, Declaration Partners, and Tencent, according to Reuters.
Immutable had previously raised money last year at a $410 million valuation, the company told Reuters.
NFT-based play-to-earn games experienced increased adoption last year. About 52% of active crypto wallets are now tied to some kind of blockchain game, according to a Jan. 13 report by crypto tracker DappRadar.
The boom in NFTs is helping to mint a number of new unicorn companies. NFT marketplace OpenSea, for example, was valued at $13.3 billion last year. Meanwhile, also in 2021, Mythical Games raised $150 million at a $1.25 billion valuation to further develop its NFT-enabled play-to-earn game Blankos Block Party and a platform for creating games with NFTs.
The overall NFT market surpassed $40 billion in 2021, according to blockchain analytics firm Chainanalysis.