Sydney gaming startup Immutable has raised A$82 million to ramp up its Ethereum-based trading platform in non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The round was co-led by California’s BITKRAFT Ventures and Sydney’s King River Capital. Other backers include AirTree Ventures, Prosus Ventures, Galaxy Interactive, Fabric Ventures, FTX, Reinventure, Apex Capital, and VaynerFund.
The raise comes two years after a US$15 million series A from Naspers Ventures, blockchain-focused merchant bank Galaxy Digital’s EOS VC Fund and Apex Capital Partners.
The funding will be used to expand the global engineering and sales team and strengthen the startup’s partnerships with gaming companies. Immutable will also scale the growth of its in-house published NFT games, Gods Unchained and Guild of Guardians.
Immutable’s pitch to gamers is that offers players true ownership of in-game items and has been focused on scaling mainstream adoption of decentralised gaming economies.
Immutable was founded by 20-something brothers James and Robbie Ferguson in 2018.
The duo created a Layer-2 scaling solution for NFTs on Ethereum in April this year, called Immutable X. It offers the underlying carbon-neutral technical infrastructure to power NFT trading, with instant trade confirmation and scalability at more than 9,000 transactions per second and zero gas fees, without compromising security.
Last month, $600 million was hacked from rival scaling solutions that rely on centralised “bridges” for their connection to Ethereum, rather than zero-knowledge proofs.
Blockchain-based NFTs have become a hot item. Most famously Christie’s auctioned a digital collage titled Everydays: The First 5000 Days, by US-based digital artist Mike Winkelmann (who goes by the name Beeple) as an NFT for US$69 million.
Since then, everything from Jack Dorsey’s first tweet to a New York Times column, a music video clip by Russian political activist, and Pussy Riot founder, Nadya Tolokonnikova, and the source code for the World Wide Web have been sold as an NFTs.
Total NFT sales volumes hit US$2.5 billion in the first six months of 2021, with between 10,000 and 20,000 selling every week since March. In the first half of 2020, total sales were $13.7 million.
Better NFT trading
Immutable co-founder Robbie Ferguson said that NFT trading is a terrible mainstream user experience.
“It’s expensive, illiquid, and the only existing scaling solutions compromise on the most important thing – the security and user-base of Ethereum,” he said.
“We want businesses to create their game, marketplace, or NFT application within hours via APIs, with a mainstream user experience. No blockchain programming required.”
From collectible trading card NFTs to fashion NFTs, the Fergusons hope Immutable’s technology partnerships will span multiple industries. Immutable launched one of the blockchain’s most successful games, Gods Unchained, which is led by Chris Clay, the former Game Director of Magic the Gathering Arena.
Other notable projects include upcoming support on OpenSea (NFT marketplace), Mintable (NFT marketplace), RTFKT studios (fashion NFT artists), Ecomi/VeVe Collectibles (licensed collectibles), and Medal.TV (world’s largest gaming clips website).
King River Capital founding partner Zeb Rice said Immutable’s transformative technology had the potential to significantly accelerate the wider adoption of NFTs across gaming, the music industry, financial services and other sectors
“James and Robbie live and breathe this space and have positioned Immutable at the forefront of this rapidly evolving market with the team and the IP to solve one of the biggest problems that exists on the web today – proof of ownership,” he said.
BITKRAFT Ventures founding partner Jens Hilgers said they were excited by the prospects of Immutable’s next-generation scalability infrastructure broadening accessibility for a new wave of blockchain game developers.
“The future of asset trading is digital and in-game items and in-game digital assets will broadly move onto the blockchain,” he said.
“To support and accelerate this shift the industry is in need of a scalable, fast, efficient and trusted blockchain layer. With Immutable we have found the best team and product in the market to make this industry shift a reality.”