• Investors include celebrities Michael Jordan and Kevin Love
  • Metaplex Foundation previously launched an NFT marketplace in June 2021

Metaplex Foundation announced a $46 million funding round on Tuesday, co-led by Multicoin Capital and Jump Crypto. The fresh raise will go towards “expanding support for gaming and metaverse applications,” the company said in a statement to Blockworks. 

Metaplex, the Solana-based protocol developed by the firm, is commonly used in minting non-fungible tokens (NFTs), as well as an infrastructure for creators to launch self-hosted NFT storefronts. The protocol has minted over 5.7 million NFTs since its inception, according to the startup.

Stephen Hess,  director of Metaplex Foundation, told Blockworks that there will be a “few key areas of development that the Metaplex Foundation will initially focus on.”

“This includes introducing an open NFT standard and minting program, tools that further enable peer-to-peer commerce and Web3 identity systems using an on-chain social graph,” Hess said. “We believe these elements are core to the metaverse, and we are keen to support the projects and developers who are expanding the functionality of the Metaplex protocol.”

Other investors in the round include big names like Michael Jordan, Kevin Love, Ndamukong Suh, Obi Toppin, Allen Iverson, Arnold Poernomo and Lily Liu, with participation from Alameda Research, Solana Ventures and Animoca Brands. 

“NFTs introduced millions of people to crypto in 2021 and showed the world a new way to build relationships directly with fans,” Kyle Samani, managing partner at Multicoin Capital, said in a statement.

“Metaplex accelerated that trend by radically reducing minting and trading costs, which made NFTs more accessible to a long-tail of creators, each with their own true fans.”

Metaplex Foundation previously launched an NFT marketplace in June 2021, partnering with Solana Labs and cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

The funding announcement follows a historic year for NFTs. The ten largest marketplaces for the blockchain-based digital collectibles notched almost $24 billion in total trading volume in 2021 alone, according to a report by Chainanalysis.

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  • Morgan Chittum is a New York-based reporter covering NFTs, the metaverse, play-to-earn gaming and other emerging Web3 tech for Blockworks. Previously she was a street reporter, covering crime at New York Daily News, and a media and journalism fellow at the Poynter Institute. Contact Morgan via email at [email protected]