In a surprising turn of events, OpenSea raised over $100 million in its series B funding round, making it the latest cryptocurrency unicorn.
The New York-based company raised approx $23 million in the Series A funding and over $100 million in the subsequent funding round. The company’s valuation has now hit over $1.5 billion making it the first NFT unicorn. NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are unique virtual items that are certified through blockchain.
The round included a host of investors such as the former Walt Disney president Michael Ovitz, celebrity investor Ashton Kutcher, NBA star Kevin Durant, Kevin Durant, and Shawn Mendes. Other investing firms were investment management company Coatue and Creative Artists Agency. The funding rounds were led by Andreessen Horowitz, also known as A16z.
Kathryn Haun, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, is joining the board of directors at OpenSea. She revealed to Forbes:
“The team at OpenSea realized early on the need for an open, cross-blockchain marketplace where anyone can buy, sell and create digital NFTs which is why they are one of the most important companies in crypto today. We are thrilled to double down on this team, their technology and overall vision, as they continue to provide the best user experience for today’s creators, buyers and sellers, in one platform.”
OpenSea has now joined the likes of Coinbase, Chainanalysis, Animoca Brands, and other crypto unicorns. The company has revealed its collaboration with Polygon, a blockchain scalability platform, to offer its user base an energy-efficient platform that will eliminate ‘gas fees’ for buyers and sellers on their blockchain.
The valuation was surprising since the hype around NFTs was consistently falling. However, OpenSea routinely saw high trading volumes, and its NFT sales recorded over $160 million in June.
Cross-chain NFT Marketplace
OpenSea currently employs the Ethereum infrastructure for its NFT sales. The company, however, has also planned to employ blockchains Flow and Tezos, making the platform a cross-chain NFT marketplace.
Devin Finzer, Co-founder of OpenSea said that the move came from a compromise for economy and accessibility. He explained that Ethereum is too expensive for casual customers and other blockchains like Tezos will allow for low-cost, high-volume projects.