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Sfermion's Collider #15

Curated news and updates from the world of web3 and gaming.

Sfermion is an investment firm focused on backing the founders building the metaverse.

Hello 👋

Welcome to the 15th edition of Sfermion’s Collider where we highlight the latest & greatest news in the world of web3 and gaming!

Weekly, we aim to drop a curated list of the most exciting stories & updates that we believe are enabling the emergence of the metaverse.

Web3 Updates

OpenSea | Zero/Optional Royalties : OpenSea drops the bomb today, announcing a shift to zero/optional royalties. OpenSea fee will be 0% for a limited time, optional creator earnings (0.5% min) will be in-place for all collections without on-chain enforcement (old & new), and marketplaces with the same policies will not be blocked by the operator filter. This is a huge shift as the marketplace landscape starts to blur (hehe) and users are flocking to alternatives. With the whole royalty debate now seemingly set aside, who will win the battle of the UX?

BLUR | Token Launch : The long-awaited $BLUR airdrop is live and ready to claim (not for US). Check out this Dune dashboard here for token-related metrics. The question now is, does Blur have enough to compete/overtake OpenSea in a post-airdrop world?

Collab.Land | Token Airdrop 2/23 : CollabLand announces the COLLAB token and DAO. Over 2m wallets are eligible for a claim set for 2/23. Follow their twitter for more info!

SEC & Do Kwon | Charges : The SEC charged Terraform Labs and CEO Do Kwon on Thursday for allegedly “orchestrating” cryptocurrency securities fraud. The regulators’ complaint was filed in the Southern District of New York on Thursday. It charges Kwon and Terraform Labs on two federal securities counts.

Linkin Park & Shibuya | AI Music Video : Linkin Park has dropped new music video directed by PplPleaser / Shibuya with an AI model that was trained on White Rabbit content. Check out the video here, which has over 16m views!

Walmart | Sams Clubs Metaverse Trademarks : Walmart, one of the world’s biggest retail firms, has filed additional metaverse trademarks to promote digital assets across its products and services. According to the post, it aims to promote Sam’s Club via NFTs, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies. Customers will also have access to virtual reality (VR) healthcare and crypto trading, brokerage, and financial services, among others.

Napster & MintSongs | Acquisition and Web3 Plans : OG music platform, Napster, is looking to enter web3 and has finalized a deal to buy Mint Songs, a platform that helps music artists build Web3 communities.

WAGMI United & Adidas : WAGMI United, a new brand dedicated to bringing Web3's most innovative ideas and passionate communities to the world of sports, has announced a partnership with Adidas. The two brands will team up to release a new NFT collection on July 6 that will give fans a personal role in shaping the future of a professional sports team.

Coinbase | Arbitrum Expansion : Coinbase integrates Arbitrum to make it faster, easier, and cheaper to access web3. Eligible Coinbase customers can now send and receive ETH, DAI, and WBTC on Arbitrum.

Overlord | WME Partnership & Creepz Animation : supercharging their mission to become a leading gaming & entertainment brand, Overlord will work with the production company to create a show based on characters from the Creepz NFT collection.

Magic Eden | 15% Layoffs : As part of a company-wide restructuring, Magic Eden has made the difficult decision to part ways with 22 teammates. Great talent available to hire so reach out to the ME team as needed!

Gaming Updates

Sony | NFT Rental Patent : Sony wants to rent NFTs to players and stream spectators through PlayStation 5 according to the company's most recently published patent. Specifically, the patent describes an interconnected system that gives users an offer to rent a NFT depicting artwork or an asset from popular PlayStation 5 games. The patent's initial filing was made July 6 last year, which means Sony has been preparing the use of NFTs on consoles for quite some time.

Square Enix & Polygon | Partnership : Japan’s Square Enix has teamed up with Polygon to launch a dynamic Web3 experience dubbed Symbiogenesis. The interactive Web3 project leverages the Polygon blockchain network to offer players fast, secure, and sustainable transactions.

Oasys & Softbank | Validator Partnership : In addition to being an Oasys' validator, the two will also explore potential collaboration, including the development of blockchain-based services.

ReadyPlayerDAO & NEAR | Gaming Partnership : RPD partners with NEAR to help elevate web3 gaming as a whole and in their ecosystem! Near is focused on building the carbon neutral web3 gaming protocol.

Rooniverse & Immutable (💰) | Migration : XP Foundry, a Web3 game studio, said it is migrating on-chain assets of its mobile game Rooniverse to ImmutableX from Solana. Rooniverse is a free-to-play “hyper-royale mobile game” featuring cute and savage creatures battling in player-versus-player game modes. Players can also take part in crafting, user-generated content (UGC), and social gameplay.

Epic Games | PostParty Highlights : Epic Games just launched a clip-sharing app called Postparty. The app, available for iOS and Android now, gives people who play Epic titles Fortnite and Rocket League a way to easily share gameplay clips to social media.

Insight of The Week: DappRadar shared that in January 2023, 48% of all blockchain activities from UAW (unique active wallets) came from blockchain games!

Crazy Roblox Stat : Average Daily Active Users (DAUs) were 58.8m (up 19% YoY). Hours engaged were 12.8bn (up 18% YoY). Revenue was only up 2%. Full breakdown of Q4 here.

Research & Interesting Reads

Nic Carter | Operation Choke Point 2.0 - Nic Carter details the Biden Admin's coordinated, ongoing effort across virtually every US financial regulator to deny crypto firms access to banking services.

Hashed | Top 10 Trends in 2023 - Key trends to watch in 2023 as outlined by Simon Kim, Managing Partner @ Hashed.

BAYC | Lawsuit Win and Setting the Record - Co-founder of Yuga Labs, Wylie Aronow, shares a frank letter touching on his recent diagnosis of heart failure and responding to accusations of racist and Nazi imagery embedded within Bored Ape Yacht Club.

SuperCell | Next Chapter - SuperCell CEO shares yearly letter highlighting recent successes, current challenges, and future plans for SuperCell as a studio/publisher of games.

Success of “The Last of Us” - Another strong example of how effective the cross-over of film/media content and gaming IP can be. Hogwarts Legacy is yet another example!

Naavik | Rise of Secondary App Stores

SFT Labs | History of SFT and Top SFT Apps in 2023

Nami | How Generative AI Can Charge Web3 Game Development

NFT Drops & Updates

Limit Break (💰) | Free Ordinal NFT for Genesis Holders : Limit Break team is setting up a Bitcoin node for ordinal minting. Gabe states that Digi Genesis collectors should get prepared to receive a Free Bitcoin NFT.

Puma | NFT PFP Collection : Puma announces launch of their signature PFP collection. There will be 10,000 Total Super PUMA NFTs (4K available for sale) The Mint Date is 2/22 beginning at 10AM EST. All NITRO collection holders will receive a free airdrop for every NITRO NFT they hold. Join the raffle waitlist here.

GQ | First NFT Drop : Men's fashion magazine GQ will release its first NFT collection that grants holders access to a magazine subscription, merchandise and live events. The NFTs will be priced at 0.1957 ETH – a nod to the year GQ was founded. The collection will mint in phases on March 8, beginning with an allowlist of active members from GQ's Discord.

Rihanna | Royalties NFT : A tiny fraction of royalties from Rihanna’s smash hit song “Bitch Better Have My Money” has just been redistributed to 205 people via 300 Ethereum NFTs. Rihanna royalty holders worked with Europe-based crypto startup AnotherBlock to sell 0.99% of the streaming royalty rights to the song.

Lamborghini & VeVe | Car Collectibles : Lambo partners with VeVe to drop four interactive digital collectibles of the popular car via a blind box format on Feb 19th at 8 AM PT.

SMB & Hadeswap | Acquisition : OG and Popular SOL NFT collection, Solana Monkey Business, has been acquired by Hadeswap. The IP ownership is transferred to HadesDAO to lead the initiative with a dedicated team of contributors, ops, devs and culture leaders to reinforce the SMB brand.

Notable Raises

Nefta (💰) | $5m raise : Nefta has raised $5 million in seed funding led by Play Ventures, with follow-on investments from Polygon Ventures, SevenX Ventures, Sfermion and Picus Capital. The startup was founded last year to provide tools to businesses looking to enter and grow in the web3 space. The tools include bespoke APIs, software development kits and white-label services to help businesses integrate digital assets, multi-chain wallets and custom marketplaces. Nefta will also build out their own ads network product to service web3 games/projects and allow for more effective targetting.

Unagi (💰) | $5m raise : Blockchain game developer Unagi raised $5 million in a round led by Sisu Game Ventures, with follow-on from Sfermion, Signum Capital, and 2B Ventures. Unagi are the developers of Ultimate Champions, a free-to-play fantasy football game. Unagi has secured over 45 partnerships for its game, including Arsenal. The team will also be rolling out a basketball version of Ultimate Champions through a partnership deal with EuroLeague Basketball in March. The game is also live on Polygon and BNB Chain. The total amount raised by Unagi is $12.3 million.

YGG (💰) | $13.8m Token Sale : Yield Guild Games (YGG) has generated $13.8m in a token purchase from the YGG treasury led by DWF Labs along with the participation of a16z Crypto, Galaxy Interactive, Sangha Capital Fund, Sanctor Capital, and David Lee to support the guild’s decentralization initiatives.

Abu Dhabi | $2b Web3 Program : Hub71, Abu Dhabi's tech ecosystem, has started a $2 billion initiative to back Web3 and blockchain technology startups in the region. The Hub71+ Digital Assets ecosystem initiative will also provide startups access to a wide range of programs and potential corporate, government and investment partners.

SUPERPLASTIC | $20m raise : Superplastic, the startup that created and develops synthetic influencer characters, has raised $20 million led by Amazon’s Alexa Fund, a strategic investment that will see Superplastic and its characters initially collaborating on an animated comedy series with Amazon Studios. Superplastic has now raised $58 million to date.

Sending Labs | $12.5m raise : Web3 communications project Sending Labs raised a $12.5 million seed round led by Insignia Venture Partners, MindWorks Capital and Signum Capital. The company is also launching its two flagship products in beta. SendingMe, an encrypted chat platform, and SendingNetwork, a software development kit for developers to build decentralized/web3-native social features.

Ajuna | $5m raise : Switzerland-based web3 gaming platform Ajuna raised a $5 million round led by crypto venture capital firm CMCC Global. The platform enables gaming development engines Unreal and Unity to integrate with blockchain technology.

Orb Labs | $4.5m raise : Orb Labs, a blockchain interoperability company, announced its $4.5M seed round led by Bain Capital Crypto, with participation from Shima Capital, 6th Man Ventures, among others. The company plans to launch Earlybird, a cross-chain messaging protocol that is more than 10x cheaper than other protocols while boasting a level of security unmatched in the interoperability space.

Aura Network | $4m raise : Aura Network kicks off 2023 with a $4m fundraising round led by Hashed and Coin98. Aura Network is an ecosystem built to accelerate global NFTs adoption. Aura Network focuses on building the Internet of NFTs and bringing NFT and web3 to the masses.

Tower Pop | $2.1m raise : Tower Pop has raised $2.1 million in a round led by Play Ventures for its Web3 battle royale and tower defense game Omega Royale. Omega Royale with its unique battle royale mode will launch in alpha on the AppStore and Google Play Store as a mobile title in March. Over half a million of games played already in the play-to-mint game, and it is off to a good start with Day 1 retention at 60%, Day 7 retention at 38% and Day 30 retention at 16%.

Phi | $2m raise : Phi has raised a $2m seed round to build a “Social gaming onboarding platform for the web3 ecosystem” led by Chapter One & Delphi Digital, followed by Polygon Ventures. Our experience lets users generate their own personalized space using their ENS domain and allows them to claim in-game objects based on their wallet activity.

Salsa | $2m raise : Salsa, a web3 messaging & data platform, raises a $2m pre-seed led by IDEO Colab Ventures with angels like Dan Romero, gmoney, and Balaji. Salsa aims to solve web3 messaging, starting with an iOS/Android app that allows for wallet-native messaging.

Empires Not Vampires | $1m raise : The company behind Paradise Tycoon, a mid-core multiplayer tycoon game, raised a $1m pre-seed led by Shima Capital. The game is currently in public alpha access via a series of gameplay snapshots, and has amassed 200k+ downloads already.

Soccerverse | Hire Capital Investment : Hiro Capital, a London-based venture capital firm focused on gaming, sports, and metaverse, is leading a seed round for Soccerverse, a massively multiplayer online soccer management sim set in a constantly evolving gaming universe.

BottoDAO | Variant Fund Investment : Variant Fund makes stand-alone investment into BottoDAO, a DAO revolving around community-curated generative art creation.

Mo & Andrew's Curated

Here is your Friday night content. BasedAF (💰) Metaverse Marathon Film is so EPIC!

Who tryna buy Subway?

💰 = Sfermion Portfolio Company

Curated by @mopat1214 + @AndrewSteinwold

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Note: All information in this Newsletter regarding any company or investment is the sole responsibility of the company providing the information. Sfermion, and its affiliates, makes no representation or guarantee to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented. Sfermion is not responsible for any information contained in any links outside our websites and official social accounts.

Sfermion does not offer investment advice/analysis and makes no recommendations on how to act. Information regarding any company or investment in this Newsletter, including any links to information on our website, should not be viewed as an endorsement or recommendation of that company or investment for any purpose whatsoever. Any person receiving this Newsletter is encouraged to consult with their own financial advisor, or relevant personnel, before making any investment decision.

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