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Another week in crypto begins with uncertain macroeconomic forces at play. The Fed’s emergency meeting… Russia and Ukraine… the US government becoming the third-biggest Bitcoin whale thanks to one of the world’s worst rappers.
But looking past that noise, the money is still flowing into crypto in positive ways, hence another sizeable edition of this column. Let’s take a look at where some of it landed over the past week…
Polygon raises $450m, led by familiar crypto VCs
The round was led by some of the biggest crypto-funding venture capital firms from the past 12 months, including, among about 40 others: Sequoia Capital, SoftBank, Galaxy Digital, Galaxy Interactive, Tiger Global Management, Republic Capital, Alameda Research and the GameFi-focused company Animoca Brands (see below).
Prominent angel investors including British Alan Howard and Canadian businessman/TV personality Kevin O’Leary also took part.
The funding will reportedly be primarily used to expand Polygon’s scaling solutions for the Ethereum network, as well as supporting the mainstream adoption of Web3 applications in general.
By now everyone has heard of the $450 million funding round of Polygon. Everyone is applauding Sandeep, Jayanti, and Anurag for their outstanding success. But, behind this seemingly large number is a larger story.
— Ajeet Khurana (@AjeetK) February 7, 2022
“Web3 builds on the early internet’s open-source ideals, enabling users to create the value, control the network and reap the rewards,” said Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal in a statement regarding the raise.
“Technological disruption didn’t start with Web2, nor is it going to end there,” he added.
Animoca Brands’ latest funding gets a further boost
Hong Kong-based gaming and venture capital firm Animoca Brands looks set to receive even more funding on the back of its most recent US$388.88 million round, which has a metaverse-exposure narrative, as reported by Stockhead.
KKR & Co, a global investment firm based in the US, is reportedly in talks to increase the funding to US$500 million. According to Bloomberg, the crypto-gaming-focused, former ASX-listed firm is still valued at around US$5 billion, but could soon be valued at US$10 billion through further funding rounds this year.
For a market struggling with weak sentiment, the number of >$100m funding rounds announced last week was astonishingly high. KKR reportedly upped Animoca Brands’ newest funding to $500m,
Polygon raised $450m, Alchemy and Aleo both $200m. https://t.co/SR4GqRjr12
— Noelle Acheson (@NoelleInMadrid) February 13, 2022
Bitcoin mining picks’n’shovel player Compute North gets $385m
Compute North, a US-based Bitcoin mining infrastructure firm providing equipment-hosting services within its data centres, has raised US$385 million in a Series C equity round as well as debt funding.
The US$300 million debt portion of the raise meanwhile was also provided by Generate Capital. The firm is referring to the entire raise as a “growth capital fund”.
Like most crypto-mining-focused operations, particularly in the US, Compute North has a strong focus on the sustainability narrative, promoting renewable power growth, such as wind, solar, and carbon-free assets for its operations.
Bitcoin mining cops a bad rap from some, who view it as a process that chews up an inordinate amount of electricity. You can read a bit more about the sector and that topic in our recent interview with crypto-mining expert Ray Sun from Exponential Digital.
Alchemy pulls together $200 million, becomes ‘decacorn’
Alchemy, a San Francisco-based Web3 crypto-infrastructure startup has raised US$200 million in Series C funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Silver Lake, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Coatue Management, DFJ, Pantera Capital, and Addition.
The raise pushes the cross-blockchain developer platform to “deca unicorn” status with a valuation of US$10.2 billion.
.@alchemyplatform raises another $200M on a $10B valuation.
The CEO said the past few months marked the “fastest growth” in company history, with Alchemy tripling the amount of customers building on its platform.
Infrastructure so hot right now.https://t.co/8P8JJXc8e7
— J◎e McCann (@joemccann) February 8, 2022
“We believe we’re just in the first inning of Web3 and blockchain,” said CEO Nikil Viswanathan in a statement, adding: “We’ll be using this new round of financing to double down and continue to invest in the ecosystem that we all share.”
Among other things, Alchemy’s B2B developer products help to facilitate non-fungible token (NFT) trading platforms such as OpenSea.
Aleo, Pixelmon, OpenNode, and more
• Aleo, a US-based platform for building private blockchain-based applications, has raised US$200 million in Series B funding led by Kora Management LP and SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from Tiger Global, Sea Capital, Samsung Next, Slow Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).
The round gives the “zero-knowledge-proof” privacy-tech-focused company a valuation of US$1.45 billion.
With 10,000+ nodes, our ecosystem is growing and I’m proud to announce Aleo has raised $200M in the largest funding round for a zero-knowledge company.
We’re using this funding to bring zero-knowledge cryptography to the web, read about it here: https://t.co/6gMdWGpDIk
— Howard Wu (@1HowardWu) February 7, 2022
• Pixelmon, an NFT collection for an upcoming “AAA-quality” blockchain game has raised US$71.4 million in a minting event, as reported by Stockhead last week.
Pixelmon is sold out! After many months of hard work the team is so excited for the many opportunities that $70M will provide for the game and for holders.
We now have everything we need to build one of the biggest games in the NFT space. It’s time to get to work.
— Pixelmon (@ThePixelmon) February 7, 2022
• OpenNode, an LA-based Bitcoin payments provider has raised US$20 million in a Series A funding. Investors include the UK firm Kingsway, a social-media platform you may have heard of called Twitter, Avon Ventures, and famed investor and noted Bitcoin and crypto bull, Tim Draper.
• Rift Finance, a NYC-based blockchain protocol focused on growing the DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation) sector, has raised US$18 million in funding. The round was led by Pantera Capital, with participation from Two Sigma Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Spartan Group, Defiance Capital, Hashed, Jump Capital, Vessel Capital and Morningstar Ventures.
Notable angel investors included Terra’s Do Kwon, Aave’s Stani Kulechov, Polygon’s Sandeep Nailwal and Goldentree Asset Management’s Joseph Naggar.
• MetaStreet, a liquidity routing and scaling solution for NFT collateralisation platforms, has raised US$14 million in seed funding. Investors included Dragonfly Capital, Ethereal Ventures, Sfermion, Nascent, Delphi Digital, Alliance DAO, Seed Club Ventures, Animoca Brands and more.
• StreetBeat, a Silicon Valley fintech, has raised US$10 million in seed funding from TTV Capital, Seraph Group, and AAF Management.
The Californian company has developed a free investment and trading app for stocks and crypto, and pulled in more than 35,000 clients in its first-month beta, and 125,000 trading orders in its first week.
• Burnt Finance, a DeFi protocol built on Solana, has raised US$8 million in funding led by Animoca Brands, Alameda Research, Multicoin Capital, Valor Capital, Figment, Spartan Capital, HashKey, Terra, and Fantom.
The protocol has also launched its own NFT platform and, as noted by CoinDesk, is known for literally burning a piece of artwork (called Morons) from the famously anon street artist Banksy, before selling it as a digitised NFT version for about US$100k.