The massive $ 450 million fundraising round was led by the crypto industry's largest venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).
Yuga Labs, which owns three of the largest NFT collections, is now valued at $ 4 billion. Other contributors to the funding round include Hong Kong-based gaming software company Animoca Brands, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, and MoonPay.
According to reports, the team plans to use the funding to build a media empire and its NFT-centric Metaverse called “Otherside”.
Ready Player One
Wylie Aronow, a co-founder of the Bored Ape Yacht Club who uses the pseudonym of Gordon Goner, told The Verge that they want to create a "gamified interoperable world" that is entirely decentralized, adding:
"We think the true Ready Player One experience will be handled by the players."
CEO Nicole Muniz said Yuga Labs is partnering with a few different game studios to bring Otherside to the making. She added that the Metaverse will be open to everyone, not just BAYC owners. There hasn't been a timeline for launching the ambitious project or game to earn that Yuga Labs has planned for later this year.
A16z crypto division head Chris Dixon commented that Yuga Labs and other emerging Web3 companies are an essential counterweight to centralized tech giants like Meta (formerly Facebook, Facebook shares - ticker FB), adding:
"There is a dystopian future where Meta is this type of dominant digital experience provider, and all the money and control goes to that company."
However, a16z has also invested heavily in many cryptocurrencies and Web3 startups, giving it plenty of leeway on its future directions, which raises the question of centralization.
Last month, Yuga Labs made a significant move to acquire more of the NFT ecosystem by purchasing CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs.
Last week, the company also launched its token called ApeCoin (APE) to support the BAYC ecosystem. However, the token has already lost 31% from its all-time high on launch day.
Yuga Labs collections dominate
The BAYC remains the most popular NFT collection in terms of weekly sales. Cryptoslam is currently reporting a seven-day sales volume of $ 116,4 million for the collection. The second highest NFT collection is Mutant Ape Yacht Club, also from Yuga Labs, with $ 68,3 million in weekly sales.