Proof of Play announced $33 million in seed funding to fuel the growth of its invite-only, on-chain pirate RPG, Pirate Nation. Players build ships, recruit crew members and battle enemies to compete for glory on the leaderboard.

Since its beta release in December 2022, Pirate Nation has shipped weekly updates. These include card-based combat, island building and community-led world boss raids.

Pirate Nation’s infrastructure is entirely blockchain-based. However, the company plans to quickly immerse players in the game rather than front-loading it with technical barriers to entry. Currently, Pirate Nation is in the process of welcoming its first free-to-play players.

Chris Dixon at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Neil Mehta at Greenoaks co-led the funding round. Naval Ravikant, Balaji Srinivasian, the founders of Twitch, Anchorage Digital, Mercury, Firebase, Zynga and Alchemy also participated.


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Forever Games on-chain

Proof of Play wants to create a “Forever Game” that does not rely on creator intervention or external servers to continue to operate. Players will have unprecedented control to add and remove content, further pushing the limits of decentralization.

This permanence is critical to Amitt Mahajan, cofounder and CEO of Proof of Play.

“As one of the creators and lead developer of Farmville, the #1 Facebook game played by over 300 million people, I saw first-hand what the amount of energy and storytelling players put into games they love. When the game shut down in 2020, however, over a billion hours of playtime, creativity and investment was lost. Realizing this, I felt compelled to find a better way to make games timeless. Proof of Play is committed to building fully on-chain games, and the technical tools to power them, in order to facilitate autonomous worlds, ensure game longevity, and create a more immersive player experience. We’re creating multi-generational products — games that will outlast us and are owned by the communities that play them,” said Mahajan.

Notably, Proof of Play has already taken crucial steps to make sure Pirate Nation is sustainable. In March, Pirate Nation migrated from Polygon’s Etherum sidechain to Arbitrum Nova due to mounting gas fees. With all in-game activity occurring on chain, the developer was absorbing “$3,000 and $4,000 a day” in gas fees prior to the switch. Its “gasless, signless, seamless” tech solution will play a key role in Proof of Play’s broader vision for its future.

Proof of Play’s path ahead

Proof of Play’s relatively larger raise reflects the company’s sweeping vision for an open-source platform. The company plans to create games and infrastructure that enable players to create in-game features. Proof of Play or creators can then use this user-generated content to craft and scale autonomous worlds.

To support this open platforms ethos, Proof of Play plans to plans to open-source its technology framework. This will allow creators to make on-chain games and applications using Proof of Play’s architecture.

“We’re thrilled to be backing Proof of Play as they build an on-chain gaming future with composability, interoperability and permanence at the core of gameplay, enabling players to truly own their assets and anyone to create a new game on top of another. Amitt is a brilliant founder with the unique ability to develop games that people love to play as well as innovate on the underlying tech stack to push the boundaries of on-chain performance and possibilities,” said Chris Dixon, founder and managing partner, a16z crypto.

Alongside this raise, Proof of Play welcomed Emmett Shear, co-founder and former CEO of Twitch, to its board. Shear resigned as CEO in March 2023 after 16 years leading the livestreaming platform. This includes leading the company through Amazon’s 2014 acquisition.

Since stepping down, Shear has served as a visiting group partner at Y Combinator according to LinkedIn. His experience leading and advising startups and expertise in gaming content and creators will be valuable assets for Proof of Play.

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