LayerZero Locks Down $120M in Fresh Funding for APAC Gaming Push
The company is now valued at $3 billion
d1sk/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks
Blockchain messaging protocol LayerZero has secured a seven-figure fundraise backed by the likes of a16z, OKX Ventures and Sequoia Capital.
LayerZero’s latest Series B funding round, the company said on Tuesday, resulted in a $120 million haul that included additional participation from BOND, Christie’s and Circle Ventures, among others.
The fresh fundraise follows a $135 million round that the company had secured the year prior. The company is now valued at around $3 billion on its latest capital inflows. LayerZero raised a $6.3 million Series A in 2021, Blockworks previously reported.
The cross-chain messaging protocol enables decentralized applications (dapps) deployed across multiple blockchains and allows projects to interact without the need for an intermediary — such as a cross-chain bridge.
The main idea behind the raise, according to Bryan Pellegrino, the co-founder and CEO of LayerZero Labs, was to streamline the team’s insights and pipeline into the Asia-Pacific region’s (APAC) gaming sector.
“From inception, [LayerZero] has been very DeFi focused in general…but we’ve also been getting a lot of inbounds from gaming and NFTs,” Pellegrino said. “We’ve been keeping tabs on where the news games are coming from, and a disproportionate amount are coming from the APAC region.”
Specifically, according to Pellegrino, there have been strong developer communities bubbling in major markets across Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia.
“For us, we just want to make sure that we’re working super closely with the studios, we want to make sure that the OFT standards are baked in by default, and we’re going to make sure localization in all of the markets,” he said.
Cross-chain messaging hits gaming
LayerZero has set its sights on the gaming market, as do many of its latest investors.
Many games that run on Web3 rails today run on application-specific blockchains, but in-game items are still bought and sold on Ethereum, Pellegrino said, because “that’s where all the liquidity is.”
Games, in other words, can be based on your own blockchain. But when it comes to selling digital assets players win in the process of playing, cross-blockchain messaging comes into play.
“There’s a game now where you’re playing a game on this side chain, and once you kill the boss, it sends [messages] that mutates the metadata on your NFT that lives on Ethereum, and it automatically updates your Twitter profile picture,” Pellegrino said. “So, your NFTs could be evolving in real-time.”
Pellegrino says the funding fundraise will be used to expand the LayerZero team and grow the company’s overall market presence and standing.
Later down the road, after the protocol matures, LayerZero could consider governance token airdrops — though it’s not expected to happen any time soon.
“Not right now,” Pellegrino said. “This raise is strictly for the expansion of the company.”
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