• “Blockchain offers us capabilities the internet couldn’t,” Animoca’s CEO said
  • The company raised $359 million earlier this month in a round led by Liberty City Ventures

Making a break from centralized platforms and connecting directly with creators is key to carving out Animoca Brands’ niche in the metaverse, the startup’s CEO told Blockworks.

“We believe that in the battle between content and distribution, content is king,” CEO Robby Yung said. “In the world of Web3, content will win out over distribution because we will see content itself becoming the platform.”

Yung pointed to the company’s recent nine-digit fundraise as providing resources to build out its vision for the metaverse and enable digital ownership. 

In Yung’s view, nurturing the development of alt-chains and building toward a multi-chain future are key considerations for an open metaverse. Animoca — which incubates and backs NFT, blockchain gaming and metaverse projects — has supported development on blockchains including Flow and Polygon. 

“[The metaverse] is attributable to openness, the multi-chain interoperable world, a diversity of platforms — many layer-1 and layer-2 chains that people can build on top of,” he said. “[The] last thing blockchain needs is ‘winners,’ and when we all coalesce around Ethereum, for example, that may not be good for innovation.” 

And the market for individual ownership of virtual items will only grow as the metaverse expands, Yung said. 

“Blockchain offers us capabilities the internet couldn’t,” Yung said. “There’s digital ownership of digital goods, which we feel is a game changer in how we conduct our lives online.”

Platforms now have too much power over the dissemination of copyrighted content, the CEO said. 

“They were renting from platforms [like Netflix],” he said. “While it works for copyright holders, it doesn’t provide value to customers or return to creators of the content, either. Most of the value is taken by platforms distributing it.”.

In the pioneering phase

As Animoca eyes new investments, it’s paramount for the company to key in on transparent businesses, Yung said. 

It has previously backed over 150 NFT and metaverse-related companies, including OpenSea, Dapper Labs, Axie Infinity and Yield Guild Games. The firm is also the parent company of The Sandbox.

“We’re still in the pioneering phase of building out content verticals and technology platforms,” Yung saud. 

Though it’s matured a great deal, the metaverse and the entire idea of digital ownership remains nascent, Yung said. 

“The products out in the market aren’t indicative of where this industry will be 3 years from now,” Yung said. “Now that we have matured, you’re going to see products reflective of what the future holds, compared to last year and the year before because those were built on shoe strings.”

  • Jacquelyn Melinek is a New York-based reporter covering funding, decentralized finance (DeFi) and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). She previously reported on energy markets for S&P Global Platts and Bloomberg News and is published in over 65 news outlets. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Media and Journalism. Contact Jacquelyn via email at [email protected]