The UAE-based start-up raised a total of $4.35m as institutional investors begin to realise the potential of the growing ecosystem
Zone, the first GameFi ecosystem on the Algorand blockchain, raised $2.35 million in new funds before its initial dex offering on January 15.
The latest funding was raised from investors in the cryptocurrency financing and launch pad spaces, including DAO Maker, GSR, Altonomy, Enjinstarter, SuperLauncher DAO, MH Ventures, ZBS Capital, Tag Ventures and K300 Ventures, and brings the UAE-based Zone's total amount secured to $4.35m.
“We see Zone as proof that Algorand is the future of GameFi. The market now has a GameFi ecosystem that supports everything, all without very high fees that discourage user adoption. Institutional investors can see where the market is shifting, and this proves that," Adi Mishra, founder of Zone, said on Tuesday.
GameFi – or gaming finance – combines gaming, decentralised finance and the opportunity to earn, whether in cryptocurrency or cash. This allows anyone to access and generate financial means by simply playing games.
Players can trade for non-fungible tokens – virtual assets that are unique, cannot be replaced with others and can be sent to other digital wallets – such as swords or other in-game items. The NFT market hit $41 billion in value at the 2021, according to blockchain data firm Chainalysis.
A notable example is the game Axie Infinity, where digital pets are bred and pitted against each other. In the Philippines, it became so popular that it became the main source of income for some people, CNBC reported.
The overall gaming market has also been increasingly catching the eye of investors. The top 15 venture capital funds dedicated to gaming have almost $2.5bn in assets under management, according to advisory firm Games One – and the gaming business existed without dedicated venture capital for the first 38 years.
Zone counts Marwan Al Zarouni, the chief executive of the Dubai Blockchain Centre, as one of its advisers. While preparing for its IDO – a type of decentralised crowdfunding platform – Zone took on Sebastien Borget, co-founder and chief operating officer of The Sandbox, and John Linden, chief executive of Mythical Games, as advisers.
It attracted $1.6m in an oversubscribed seed round last October.
The market now has a GameFi ecosystem that supports everything, all without very high gas fees that discourage user adoption. Institutional investors can see where the market is shifting, and this proves that
Zone has been on the Algorand testnet – an alternative blockchain used for testing – since November.
The games that use Zone and Algo tokens include Chess, Clash Royale, League of Legends and Dota 2.
Algorand – which styles itself as "the future of FinanceFi" – uses a pure proof-of-stake protocol built on Byzantine consensus, in which each user's influence on the choice of a new block is proportional to its stake, or number of tokens, in the system. Users are randomly and secretly selected to propose blocks and vote on block proposals.
It has been dubbed as the "Ethereum killer", alongside other alternative crypto coins such as Solana and Polkadot, because it is more energy-efficient and cost-effective compared to the world's second-biggest cryptocurrency.
Algorand is one of the lesser-known cryptocurrencies, with a market capitalisation of almost $9bn on Tuesday – a mere 1 per cent of industry-leading Bitcoin's over $792bn, according to CoinMarketCap. Its price was down 2.4 per cent in the past 24 hours.