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The co-leaders of the round were Hashed (a crypto investor in South Korea) and Collab+Currency. Other investors included Bitkraft Ventures, Electric Capital, Coinbase Ventures, and SamsungNext.
The investment will be used towards the development of their platform, supporting more nonfungible token (NFT) avatars and adding more social utilities to avatars. The Singapore and South Korea-based company is competing in a crowded space with rivals such as celebrity social avatar maker Genies.
Off’s goal is to create an open ecosystem for avatar-based “microverses,” or small versions of the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. The company said that microverses are a kind of mod or space where users of NFT avatars can interact with each other in different social contexts. For instance, there could be spaces such as karaoke places where people can sing and dance, stand-up comedy clubs, and conference rooms. These will provide different visual and aural environments as well as the context – purpose, goals, rules, competition, collaboration.
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“Our big vision of the metaverse is for people to break free from physical reality so they can express themselves honestly and authentically,” said Jinwoo Park, team lead at Off and a cofounder of Hashed, in a statement. “We think avatars will be a key component for more people to enter the metaverse to represent their second persona and will enable another NFT utility.”
The company recently launched Myty, a decentralized social platform where people can escape the limitations of the physical world using NFT avatars, Off said. The Myty Camera is a free application that converts CryptoPunks NFTs into avatars. The Myty Camera enables users to show up as the visuals of their own NFT avatars in Discord, Zoom and any other webcam-based applications.
“Off brings NFTs to real life. [The founders] are crypto veterans with a decade of experience in scaling consumer products for mass adoption,” said Baek Kim, principal at Hashed, in a statement. “The team is building the framework and toolkits to create NFTs that truly represent ourselves in the metaverse. Their first product The Myty Camera is adding a fun utility to iconic NFTs by transforming them into avatars that can mimic the owner’s motion and facial expressions to deliver emotion over Zoom calls.”
Off’s next job is “Ghosts Project,” a collection of NFT avatars designed by the Off team and MrMisang, the top artist in SuperRare. Ghosts Project, which is a prequel to MrMisang’s original series, Modern Life is Rubbish, is being optimized for face tracking, motion tracking and is designed to show the full capacity of Myty’s avatars full-body tracking including nodding, raising hands, and various face emotional expressions. GhostsProject is currently building Twitter and Discord communities and planning an NFT avatar sale. Ghosts will be supported by Myty Camera after the sales.
“While many types of NFT exist today, the Web 3 industry is still constrained in the ways it can interact and engage with these NFTs on a social level,” said Derek Edws, partner at Collab+Currency, in a statement. “PFPs, or profile picture projects, are emergent, global, social clubs sitting at the intersection of on-chain identity, community, and culture. The Myty team is focused squarely at this intersection. Our team at Collab+Currency couldn’t be more excited to back the Myty team on their NFT journey.”
Off’s goal is to provide SDK, API, incentive mechanism to the third-party developers so that they can create countless interoperable microverses for NFT avatars and generate profits.
Off started its closed beta of Myty Camera with a handful of CryptoPunks holders a month ago. The Ghosts Project (the first Myty Original pfp project) also launched its website and discord server (https://discord.gg/myty) in the last month. Now there are 20,000 discord members who joined the community and actively participate in the ticket distribution event called Pioneers Program.
Besides Park, the founders are Kyungjin “Kenny” Kim and Hyun Youn “Dan” Lee.
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