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Binance Smart Chain and Animoca Brands have partnered to launch a $200 million investment program to accelerate and incubate early crypto gaming startups. The goal is to increase mainstream adoption of blockchain tech significantly.

The new investment program will support GameFi (decentralized game finance) projects. Blockchain games, such as those that use cryptocurrency or nonfungible tokens (NFTs), have taken off this year as the crypto and gaming booms intersect. This boom helped Animoca Brands raise multiple rounds, including a recent $65 million round at a $2.2 billion valuation.

NFTs use the transparency and security of the digital ledger of blockchain to uniquely identify in-game digital items, which can be sold as limited edition collectibles for higher prices. But crypto can still be complicated as you need special secure digital wallets for tasks such as exchanging currency.

That has slowed blockchain’s acceptance in mainstream circles. Gaming helps reach more mainstream users, as it has seen a boom during the pandemic. But traditional game companies have been slow to adopt blockchain — partly out of environmental concerns, regulation fears, abundant scams, and gamer resistance — in ways that could bring in a larger gaming mass market.

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Animoca Brands acquired The Sa

Above: Animoca Brands acquired The Sandbox developer Pixowl for $4.875 million.

Image Credit: Animoca Brands

Ultimately, the goal is to build next-generation scalable blockchains and onboard one billion new users into cryptocurrency.

“Gaming is one of the strong pillars of Web 2.0, reaching billions of users,” said Gwendolyn Regina, investment director at BSC’s Accelerator Fund, in a statement. “Its large-scale real-life use case makes it one of the core focus areas for crypto’s mass adoption to onboard retail consumers into the Web 3 world.”

Animoca executive chairman Yat Siu said in a statement that investment program has the potential to take blockchain to the mainstream.

Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and Animoca Brands will help early GameFi projects that need funding to develop their products, increase their presence in the decentralized finance gaming sector and grow within the play-to-earn blockchain and open metaverse industry.

“Early GameFi projects currently require funding for a runway to build their products,” said Siu. “They need support to increase their industry expertise for open-world gameplay. Also for networking opportunities to establish growth in the blockchain gaming and open metaverse.”

BSC is funding the new $200 million investment program with $100 million from its $1 billion growth fund, the accelerator arm of the leading DeFi, NFT, and GameFi infrastructure platform. The other $100 million comes from Animoca Brands, the Hong Kong-based company driving digital property rights via NFTs and gaming.

Animoca Brands' NFT game F1 Delta Time.

Above: Animoca Brands’ NFT game F1 Delta Time.

Image Credit: Animoca Brands

With properties like The Sandbox, Animoca’s goal is to build the open metaverse, accelerate and incubate early crypto gaming startups building on Binance Smart Chain.

“With the co-investment, projects building on BSC will get the opportunity to gain insights and expertise from leading gaming giants such as Animoca Brands, along with collaboration opportunities with blockchain experts from the BSC Community,” said Regina. “We look forward to working together with GameFi projects to build next-gen scalable blockchains and onboard the next one billion new users into crypto.”

In October, BSC established the $1 billion Growth Fund to drive mass adoption of crypto and blockchain by supporting projects that can help bring the next billion users to the space in the next two years.

Animoca Brands’ portfolio of blockchain investments and partnerships consists of over 100 of the most promising NFT-related companies and projects, including Axie Infinity, OpenSea, Dapper Labs (NBA Top Shot), Bitski, Harmony, Alien Worlds, and Star Atlas. Its subsidiaries include The Sandbox, Blowfish Studios, Quidd, Gamee, nWay, Bondly, Lympo, and more.

Above: Binance Smart Chain and Animoca Brands have teamed up.

Image Credit: Binance

BSC is one of the largest blockchain ecosystems, with over 2.1 million daily active addresses in the past weeks. Games and play-to-earn opportunities on BSC have seen significant traffic and unique wallet interaction growth in 2021.

GameFi projects on BSC have increased their users tenfold and volumes by 200% with Binance Smart Chain’s support. Global digital asset exchanges have listed some of these games.

BSC currently bolsters an ecosystem of high-simulation games, including RPGs, strategy-battle arenas, sports, digital entertainment, adventure-story based, logic creative, and socials. Most of these gaming projects have developed NFT marketplaces and play-to-earn (P2E) models with NFT reflection rewards. Additionally, these GameFi projects have the potential to emerge as metaverses, the companies said.

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