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Dapper Labs Appoints a Former NFL Vice President as Marketing Director; NBA Top Shot Appoints a New General Manager

Following a $305 million fundraising round, the company is hiring key personnel.

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(Dapper Labs, modified by NFTHours)

Dapper Labs has hired a former social media executive from the National Football League (NFL) as the senior vice president of its marketing department.

After seven years as the NFL’s vice president of social media marketing, Dave Feldman will join Dapper Labs, the firm announced Monday. Feldman was the director of social media for Major League Baseball (MLB) before joining the NFL, where he helped create the organization’s social staff and strategy, according to the corporation.

Dapper Labs has received millions of dollars in venture capital as it tries to build on the success of its main product, NBA Top Shot, with these new hires.

Tristan Rattink has been appointed as the new general manager of Dapper Labs’ non-fungible token (NFT) platform. According to a corporate spokeswoman, the position of GM of Top Shot is a new one.

According to Dapper Labs, Rattink was the previous head of studio at Hyper Hippo Entertainment, where he co-created the mobile game AdVenture Capitalist and its two sequels. He has worked in the gaming and software development industries for over 15 years.

Rattink stated that one of his company’s objectives will be to improve NBA Top Shot’s marketplace experience, which peaked in late February with a frenzy of buying and selling.

NBA Top Shot has amassed over $700 million in total revenues in less than a year, according to Dapper CEO Roham Gharegozlou, who spoke at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2021 last month.

Gharegozlou told CoinDesk via email that “the operating playbook for working at this speed, at this size, in such a new industry has not yet been written.” “We need the best available talent to help us not just keep getting it right, but also to drive us to achieve our goals for the future.”

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MonkeyBall, a Play-to-earn NFC Game Based in Solana, has Raised $3 Million

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MonkeyBall, a crypto business developing a Solana-based play-to-earn NFT game, has raised $3 million in a seed round.

Jump Capital, CMS Holdings, Solana Capital, 6th Man Ventures, and NFX were among the investors who participated in the round.

The investment was also sponsored by angel investors such as billionaire Shalom Meckenzie, one of the top shareholders in sports betting firm DraftKings; Yoni Assia, co-founder of eToro; Nimrod Lehavi, co-founder of Simplex; and Shahaf Bar-Geffen, CEO of crypto payments startup COTI. Bar-Geffen will also serve as the chairman of MonkeyBall.

The founders and core crew of MonkeyBall are Israeli, according to Bar-Geffen. According to Bar-Geffen, the startup currently has 17 employees and is looking to hire more with the new funding.

MonkeyBall is developing a non-traditional soccer game that will reward both players and spectators. According to MonkeyBall, the game can be defined as “a cross between FIFA Street and Final Fantasy.” MonkeyBucks ($MBS) tokens will be earned by winning or attending other people’s games.

The space, according to NFX general partner Gigi Levy-Weiss, will only continue to grow. “The teams that combine the finest of blockchain know-how with exceptional game-design capabilities, that know how to leverage and connect the best of both Blockchain and ‘conventional’ gaming sectors, will be the victors,” he stated. “We’ve seen a lot of these, but MonkeyBall is the greatest!”

Unity Technologies’ engine is being used to create the game, which will be available on both desktop and mobile platforms. It will be released “around Christmas,” according to Bar-Geffen.

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Candy Digital, a Fanatics Sports NFT Studio, Raises $100 Million and is Valued at $1.5 Billion

The official NFT partner of Major League Baseball receives a substantial valuation, which includes a contribution from Peyton Manning.

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In June, candy Digital debuted as Major League Baseball’s official NFT partner, swinging for the fences with officially sanctioned MLB crypto collectibles. The Fanatics-owned studio has now raised a significant amount of money to continue expanding in the NFT industry.

Candy Digital has raised a $100 million Series A fundraising round, valuing the company at $1.5 billion, the company stated today. Candy Digital was co-founded by Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, Galaxy Digital founder and CEO Mike Novogratz, investor and NFT entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, and is majority-owned by Fanatics.

Connect Ventures, an investment alliance between Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and Will Ventures, Gaingels, and Athletes Syndicate associated with Chaos Ventures co-led the financing with Insight Partners and Softbank’s Vision Fund 2.

Peyton Manning, a retired NFL quarterback, and other undisclosed notable players have also invested in Candy Digital. Candy Digital intends to use the funding to grow its personnel as its NFT business grows. Candy Digital has agreements with the Race Team Alliance (RTA), which represents 13 NASCAR teams, as well as several college athletes, in addition to MLB and the MLB Players Association.

An NFT functions as a blockchain-backed deed of ownership for a valuable digital asset, such as an illustration, video file, or something else entirely. So far in 2021, the market for NFTs has exploded, with $10.67 billion in trading activity in the third quarter.

Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot platform, which has produced more than $750 million in secondary trade volume to date, has been one of the significant parts of the developing NFT business. Dapper is also working on NFT marketplaces for the NFL and LaLiga. At the same time, Tom Brady’s Autograph NFT platform contains collectibles from several well-known athletes, including Tiger Woods and Simone Biles.

Candy Digital is now focusing on building its Major League Baseball NFT ecosystem, which mints its NFTs on Palm, an Ethereum sidechain. It just added a daily MLB Play of the Day collectible, as well as a new marketplace where players may purchase and sell NFTs.

Next week, Candy will release digital packs of MLB Icon souvenirs, which will feature video footage of a famous baseball player in a trading card-like form, akin to NBA Top Shot moments. More MLB NFT products will be released in the following weeks, including memorabilia based on the upcoming World Series.

In addition to Candy Digital, Fanatics has a new trading card firm that has already been valued at $10.4 billion after a $350 million fundraising round. Fanatics Trading Cards snatched sports licenses from established competitors such as Topps and Panini, promising the leagues and their respective players’ associations shares in the new enterprise.

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Animoca, a Hong Kong-based Blockchain Game Developer, has Reached a Valuation of $2.2 Billion

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Animoca Brands, a Hong Kong-based blockchain game developer and non-fungible token investor, has raised $2.2 billion in new funding from investors, including Ubisoft Entertainment of France and Sequoia China.

On Wednesday, Animoca said that it had secured $65 million in a round that comprised Liberty City Ventures, Dragonfly Capital, and Jack Ma’s apprentice Justin Sun, the founder of cryptocurrency platform Tron, among others. Animoca had already secured $88.9 million in a capital round in May, giving the seven-year-old firm unicorn status.

The company is known for its play-to-earn blockchain games, which allow players to collect and exchange NFTs on its platforms. An NFT is a blockchain-based digital asset that determines the ownership of art, music, films, and in-game stuff. The Sandbox, akin to the world-building computer game Minecraft, is one of Animoca’s most popular titles. Lands, wearables, and equipment are among the in-game assets that players can build and commercialize in The Sandbox.

The new funds will be used to fund strategic initiatives, acquisitions, product development, and intellectual property licenses, according to Animoca. In a statement, Yat Siu, co-founder and chairman of Animoca said, “The future is already here. With the support of our new strategic investors, Animoca Brands will continue to expand blockchain in gaming—and beyond—to provide true digital ownership to billions of gamers and internet users.”

The company’s most recent fundraising round exemplifies NFTs’ quickly expanding appeal. According to DappRadar industry analysis, trading volume for the tokens increased by 704% to $10.7 billion in the third quarter, compared to the previous quarter. In addition, billionaire Elon Musk has joined the bandwagon by selling a song as an NFT, and celebrities and athletes like Lindsay Lohan and Lionel Messi have started their own NFT collections. However, skeptics argue the nascent industry is already looking inflated, citing the red-hot space.

Animoca began as a spinoff in 2014, creating games for smartphones and tablets, some of which used cartoon characters such as Garfield and Doraemon. The company initially dabbled in blockchain games in 2017 and has since developed a slew of blockbusters, including a Formula 1-licensed play-to-earn racing game.

Animoca has also made investments in blockchain startups specializing in NFT-related businesses. DappRadar’s portfolio includes Dapper Labs, the company behind the groundbreaking blockchain game CryptoKitties, Sky Mavis, the creator of the global sensation Axie Infinity, and OpenSea, the largest marketplace for NFTs.

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