Weekly Roundup: What Happened in Play2Earn Games and NFTs This Week? [Jan. 23, 2022]

Weekly Roundup: What Happened in Play2Earn Games and NFTs This Week? [Jan. 23, 2022]

CoinMarketCap takes a look at some of the most prominent play-to-earn and NFT events — from record trading volume on OpenSea in January, to Twitter launching verified NFT profile pictures.

Weekly Roundup: What Happened in Play2Earn Games and NFTs This Week? [Jan. 23, 2022]


OpenSea’s Trading Volume Hits Records $3.5 Billion

In the first two weeks of January, OpenSea’s trading volume soared to a new all-time high of over $3.5 billion.

According to data from Dune Analytics, the Ethereum trading volume on the leading NFT marketplace has now engulfed its previous all-time high of $3.42 billion from August last year and its $3.24 billion sales in December.
Since the beginning of the year, OpenSea’s trading volume has so far been above $169 million daily. Adding to its streak of wins, the NFT platform announced a $300 million Series C funding round earlier this month. The latest financing saw its valuation climb to $13.3 billion.

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Coinbase to Allow Users to Buy NFTs With Mastercard

U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase has inked a deal with Mastercard to simplify the process of buying NFTs on its forthcoming NFT marketplace.

Coinbase announced the partnership in an official blog post, explaining that it was working with the payments giant to classify NFTs as “digital goods.” With this, the crypto exchange claims it will allow "a broader group of consumers to purchase NFTs while promising to "unlock a new way to pay using Mastercard cards."
During an interview accompanying the news, Coinbase senior product director for payments and commerce Prakash Hariramani explained that the crypto exchange is interested in making the process of buying digital collectibles “very easy.” He argued that having had success in its “on-ramp to crypto” feature for newcomers, Coinbase is looking to replicate the same success in the NFT space.
"We want to do the same thing for NFTs with Mastercard by solving the pain points—to make it as easy as possible to buy an NFT and make sure it’s the best consumer experience."
On its part, Mastercard said that "buying digital goods should be as simple as buying a T-shirt or coffee pods on an e-commerce site."
Coinbase has been working on its NFT platform for a while now. In just 24 hours following the announcement of its launch, the platform saw over 1 million signups.

Solana-based NFT Platform Metaplex Raises $46 Million

Metaplex, the protocol behind millions of Solana NFTs, has raised $46 million from several big names, including NBA legend Michael Jordan.

The Metaplex Foundation announced the $46 million round on Tuesday, noting that the capital would help it provide tools for “building a people-first metaverse.”

The round was co-led by investment firm Multicoin Capital and Jump Crypt, with Animoca Brands, Solana Ventures and Alameda Research also participating. More than 90 individual investors also took part in the round, including legendary basketball player Michael Jordan, retired NBA star Allen Iverson, and current players like Joel Embiid and Kevin Love.
Speaking to crypto news site Decrypt, Stephen Hess, director of the Metaplex Foundation confirmed that the funds will be used to develop Metaplex’s developer tools and feature set. The company will also target expanding the potential use cases for Solana NFTs beyond the fast-rising NFT-driven metaverse and video games. He said:
“We'll have an iOS SDK and an Android SDK coming out this year, which are going to allow this next generation of mobile apps to be built quickly. It will solve a lot of the tension and difficulty that the software engineering community at large had working with the blockchain and specifically Solana, which can be tricky.”

The Sandbox’s Parent Company Animoca Now Valued at $5 Billion

Animoca Brands, the parent company of The Sandbox and a leading investor in the NFT and metaverse space, has announced a nearly $359 million raise, bringing its pre-money valuation to more than $5 billion.

The $358,888,888 round was led by Liberty City Venture, with participation from others like 10T Holdings, Sequoia China, billionaire investor George Soros’ Soros Fund Management, Gemini Frontier Fund and Winklevoss Capital.

“The new capital will be used to continue funding strategic acquisitions and investments, product development, and licenses for popular intellectual properties.”

The latest capital injection follows earlier investments throughout 2021. The company raised nearly $139 million from two tranches in May and July. Back then, its valuation was $1 billion, with the round attracting the likes of Coinbase Ventures and Samsung Venture Investment Corporation.

In October, Animoca raised another $65 million at a valuation of $2.2 billion. The relatively smaller round attracted gaming giant Ubisoft.

AMC Rewards Shareholders With Free NFTs

AMC has distributed its exclusive “I Own AMC” NFTs to more than 580,000 shareholders. The movie theater giant tapped the WAX (Worldwide Asset eXchange) platform for the initiative.
Nearly 600,000 shareholders who registered via AMC’s Investor Connect portal by the December 31 deadline have been airdropped their digital collectibles. AMC CEO Adam Aron tweeted:
“Emails detailing how to claim your AMC Investor Connect “I Own AMC” NFT will be sent next week on Jan 18, to all in the U.S. and globally who enrolled by 12/31/21. The NFT and a WAX wallet for up to a year are free to you. TY to our passionate shareholders. Own this NFT proudly!”

In addition to being tradeable, the NFTs will also provide additional perks to holders, such as potential discounts and “other benefits.”

This is not the first time that AMC is dabbling into the NFT space. The company had previously used WAX for its recent distribution of 86,000 NFTs to people who purchased tickets to the “Spider-Man: No Way Home” film.

Puppy Bowl Taps on NFT to Support Ariana Grande’s Animal Rescue Charity

Discovery will be adding NFTs to this year’s Puppy Bowl despite a backlash from some members of its audience.

The NFTs will be released from now until the day of this year’s Puppy Bowl event, set to air on February 13 on Animal Planet. NFT marketplace Chronicle will be offering 5,000 free “Puppy Bowl Pass” NFTs to users. These free passes will grant users premier access to future drops.

In total, there will be 23 different Puppy Bowl NFTs and as of press time, the free passes had all been claimed.

A portion of the proceeds from the sales will be given to Orange Twins Rescue, an animal rescue organization founded by Ariana Grande and her former backup dancers, Scott and Brian Nicholson.

In total, 118 Puppy Bowl puppies from 67 different shelters will be competing for Team Ruff or Team Fluff.

Surprisingly, Discovery announced the news last week, but it wasn’t until this week that Twitter users got wind of the event. As expected, some people expressed their displeasure over the decision to include NFTs. Twitter user Cal Treto wrote:
“lrt we've been watching the puppy bowl ever since I got Phoenix so I can't believe year 8 is where we stop watching because they got into fucking nft's...”

Discovery, in its part, claims that it is aware of the environmental backlash to NFTs and in its defense claims that "these NFTs are not driven by high-energy Proof of Work systems but rather by solutions that are Proof of Stake-driven, and with a commitment to reduce their carbon footprint."

G2 Esports Team to Launch NFTs as Membership Pass

G2 Esports has joined the growing number of esports teams that are turning to NFTs as a fan engagement tool.

Inspired by the esports club’s samurai-themed logo, the popular League of Legends and Counter-Strike team will be releasing profile picture NFTs on the Solana blockchain next month. G2’s will be minting 6,262 Samurai Army NFTs on Solana’s Metaplex protocol in February.

The NFTs will serve as a pass into G2’s exclusive membership initiative. Holders will have access to a social club, early access to future G2 NFT drops, and will be able to interact with the team’s professional esports players. Additional perks include the possibility to compete against esports pro and attendance at future competitions.

"We are creating a gamified social club for sweaty gamers, esports, and NFT fans alike,” G2 Esports founder and CEO Carlos “ocelote” Rogriguez said in a release.

According to the press release, the NFT partnership with Metaplex is only a first step in a “long-term project.” There are plans to expand into other formats, including music, games, and comics.

Tom Brady’s Autograph Platform Raises $170 million

Investors have continued to throw millions at crypto startups, and Tom Brady’s Autograph NFT platform is one of the latest to secure funding.

The platform announced a $170 million Series B funding round on Wednesday. The round was co-led by Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z fund and Kleiner Perkins, with participation from 01A, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and former a16z General Partner Katie Haun’s new VC firm.

Huan will be joining Autograph’s board of advisors as part of the raise. a16z General Partners Chris Dixon and Arianna Simpson, as well as Kleiner Perkins’ Ilya Fushman, will also be coming on board.

Tweeting about the investment round Brady said that Autograph was “pumped to add some really knowledgeable people in the Web3 space to [its] team.” He also shared a thread from a thread from a16z’s Dixon, who wrote that Autograph is “starting with celebrities, but plans to support creators at every stage of development.”

Meta to Debut NFT Marketplace as Twitter Enables Verified NFT Profiles

Citing unnamed sources, the Financial Times, reported that social media giant Meta was planning to introduce a new feature that would allow Meta and Instagram users to mint and sell NFTs. Users will also be able to use their NFT collections as their social media profiles.

The move does not come as a surprise since Instagram's CEO Adam Mosseri revealed in December that the company was "actively exploring NFTs and how we can make them more accessible to a wider audience."

Meanwhile, hours after the Meta news broke, social media rival Twitter released its own NFT integration feature. Users of Twitter Blue will now be able to connect their crypto wallets to the platform and use NFTs as their display picture.
Users will be able to verify the ownership of an NFT through third-party platforms like OpenSea by clicking on the display picture. And if a user sells or transfers the NFT while it is still their profile picture, clicking on the image will not display any information on its ownership.
Interestingly, a Twitter user has already spotted a loophole in the new feature. Blockchain enthusiast @HollanderAdam revealed that anyone can create a supposedly genuine NFT by simply saving an NFT from a Twitter profile and then minting it. He wrote:
“There's actually a MAJOR PROBLEM with the new Twitter PFP feature. It appears to work for ANY NFT in your collection. Not just verified collections. That means someone can just right-click-save any NFT, mint it, and then use it as their PFP.”
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