Yuga Labs, owner of three of the largest NFT brands in the market, has raised $450 million in funding at a $4 billion valuation. The founding team behind Bored Ape Yacht Club plans to use the money to build a media empire around NFT, starting with its own games and metaverse projects.

The team describes their metaverse project, called Otherside, as an MMORPG that aims to bridge the wider NFT universe. Wylie Aronow, co-founder of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), said that they hope to create “an interactive world” that is “gamified” and “completely decentralized.” “We think the Ready Player One experience is really going to be possible.”

The announcement comes just weeks after Yuga Labs made a big move to consolidate the NFT space, acquiring CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs. The acquisition brings together three of the most valuable NFT collections – and provides Yuga Labs with a larger list of IPs to collect as it develops its game plans and metaverse. The company also launched a cryptocurrency, ApeCoin (APE), last week; the token will be independently managed and used as the primary currency in Yuga Labs products.

Future of NFT combines Metaverse

CEO Nicole Muniz said Yuga Labs is working with “several different game studios” to bring Otherside to life. The game will not be limited to Bored Ape owners, and the company plans to create development tools that will allow NFTs from other projects to work in their world. “We are effectively opening the door to a walled garden and saying, ‘Everyone is welcome’.

Metaverse projects are all the rage right now (see Facebook rebranding itself as Meta), but Yuga Labs thinks other companies are misrepresenting their metaverse idea, which is to give a startup an opportunity to become one. Highlights Greg Solano, co-founder of Yuga Labs, says people don’t stick together when spending time together in a shared virtual space where nothing happens. Instead, he says, people stick together because they are placed in positions where they have to collaborate.

“You’re just hanging out with people and making friends because you’re getting kicked in the butt,” Solano said. “We don’t think fundamentally that a deeply social experience comes from simply having a Zoom conversation and going around saying “hello.” Yuga Labs declined to provide a schedule for the release of Otherside. A game to earn money is also planned for later this year.

Call for capital 450 million USD

The funding round, one of the largest funding rounds for an NFT company to date, was led by the firm Andreessen Horowitz (A16z), which has invested heavily in the Web3 space. Previously, A16z sponsored OpenSea, Dapper Labs, and Coinbase. Also participating in the funding round were game studio Animoca Brands and crypto companies like Coinbase, MoonPay, and more. Chris Lyons, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, will join the board of Yuga Labs.

The Verge said that Yuga Labs, combined with these upstart [Web3] companies, is an important counterweight to companies like Meta, said Chris Dixon, head of Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto arm. “There is a backward future where Meta is the dominant provider of digital experiences like this and all the money and control goes to that company.” (Interestingly, Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen sits on Meta’s board of directors and made an early investment in Facebook.)

Yuga Labs has been financially successful so far. According to a leak, the company earned $137 million last year, primarily by cutting deals related to its NFT brands, with a whopping 95 percent profit margin.(Yuga Labs declined to comment on the figures.)

But the company has built quite a bit at this point. According to OpenSea data, their NFT collection has a maximum of 40,000 users, and the company only releases one game for a limited time. That means Yuga Labs is essentially being given hundreds of millions of dollars to build a game company — or at least, the 2022 Web3 version of this project — from scratch, on the foundation of a project. extremely lucrative art project.

That success is what investors are thinking about when funding Yuga Labs. “They built a community full of this energy and cultural phenomenon,” says Dixon. But ultimately, the company is betting big, like so many others are doing right now: that some format of metaverse project is going to be the next big thing.

The article is information compiled from many sources.

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