Play-to-earn game Axie Infinity continues to see torrid growth, with the company reporting more than 1.8 million daily users in August and daily sales volume reaching as high as $33 million. Since the game was launched in March 2018, total sales volume is close to $2.3 billion, according to CryptoSlam.
On Tuesday, Axie’s creator, Vietnam-based Sky Mavis, announced it had raised a $152 million Series B round at a $3 billion valuation, led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The news was first reported by The Information.
The company said it plans to use the funds to build out its own distribution platform to support outside developers in creating blockchain-enabled games, as well as expand its team and scaling infrastructure.
Founded in 2018, Axie Infinity is a non-fungible token (NFT) game where players battle, collect and trade digital pets called “Axies,” earning rewards in $AXS and $SLP tokens that can be redeemed for real-world money.
The latest fundraising news comes as “play-to-earn” crypto projects like Axie are getting attention from gaming enthusiasts and venture capitalists alike.
“Axie Infinity is a category-defining game that is changing history by creating an entirely new digital economy,” said Sky Mavis CEO Trung Nguyen in a statement.
“We are on a mission to create economic freedom for gamers and are making this happen by turning players into owners of in-game assets unlike the traditional model where publishers, distribution platforms and game developers retain control and benefit the most,” Nguyen added.
The company says the game has brought economic freedom to developing nations hard-hit by COVID-19 related unemployment. Over 25% of players are unbanked, and 50% have not previously used cryptocurrencies, according to Sky Mavis.
“Sky Mavis’ marquee game, Axie Infinity, has introduced a new way for anyone to turn their time into money through Play-to-Earn, a new mechanic that allows gamers to transform their skills and time into earnings and distribution rights for tokenized in-game items,” said Arianna Simpson, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
“The Axie team has unlocked a new way to build and play games that is already completely redefining this category. The game’s growth is a phenomenal testament to how deeply this model is resonating with people around the world,” Simpson added.
Other participants in the latest funding round include venture capital firms Accel Partners and Paradigm.