Mon. Nov 29th, 2021

So what is Animoca, this company that has placed Yat Siu in the middle of the global NFT gaming world, estimated to reach $ 179.6 billion by 2025?

Originally a gaming software company, Animoca has turned into a backbone for some of the hottest features in the online world. It’s centered on games – worlds, currencies and digital tokens or collectibles, commonly called NFTs.

‘This is the future’

Siu seems to have chosen what was around the corner: he co-founded Animoca as a gaming app group, and it now has more than 100 investments.

Among its more successful investments are shares in The Sandbox and its token SAND, Decentraland and Dapper Labs, the founder of CryptoKitties – a popular blockchain game centered on collecting cute creatures.

It also owns shares in AxieInfinity, the first site to perform more than $ 1 billion in NFT transactions, where owners take a cut every time a creature is created or changes hands. Animoca’s inventory does not end there: it also has a number of NFT collectibles for brands such as Bratz, FC Bayern Munich and DeltaTime Formula 1.

Right now, it is the range of holdings – equity holdings acquired when this sector was in its even earlier stages and the money laundering – that make the group so valuable.

As of Nov. 3, metaverse tokens including The Sandbox’s SAND, REVV and GAMEE alone were worth more than $ 12.2 billion, the company said, though the value of its holdings could fluctuate wildly. In less than a month, the SAND token has risen more than 600 percent, though it is not clear if it could realize it.

Animoca Brands’ stake in the virtual NFT gaming world The Sandbox is one of its biggest assets. Delivered

The company and various subsidiaries also own shares in companies that issue tokens.

“From 2018, some might say [we were] reckless… [but we said] this is the future. It does not matter how we get there, we just have to get there. We made a lot of swaps, we traded their cryptocurrency with our stock, ”Siu recalls, pointing out that the industry was so small at the time that luck was just as important as strategy.

“It was pretty easy to see who were the smartest people in the room who cared about the mission,” he says when asked how he identified companies to work with.

Animoca is still investing and acquiring. The strategy now is to acquire game studios such as Blowfish Studios, which it bought for $ 6.6 million in July because it believes it can help it grow using blockchain. It has also participated in recent increases in Australia, including supporting ASX-listed game developer and publisher iCandy’s $ 40 million raise and Newcastle Stock Exchange-listed OliveX’s $ 8 million raise.

But for Siu, there is another battle to be fought: to convince the world that his view of the online world – one that he says is in direct opposition to Facebook and Microsoft’s ambitions – is right.

How Siu found Metaverset

Siu does not really remember a time when the virtual and online world was not as important – if not more so – to him than the physical.

In the 1980s, when he diligently pursued classical music at the insistence of his musician parents, he looked for a faster way of composing. So he wrote his own software, which he then set up on the shared server before the internet. It was a crucial moment in two ways: checks arrived in the mail when people were using his software, and he made several online friends who did not care that he was about 10 years old, of Chinese heritage or much else about him at all.

It also eventually gave him his first job at Atari.

“The only thing that mattered was who I was virtually and online. And you know, when I popped into the office – in Vienna they had a one-man office – they were like, are you right? Because I was this Asian boy. And I still got the opportunity, ”he says of his first job after high school.

He later moved to Hong Kong and launched the city’s first ISP, then cheap cloud computing, which he backed from a local construction company.

In 2014, when he co-founded Animoca, Siu’s worldview was strengthened: it should be open to everyone.

In web 3.0, he says, it is no longer a zero-sum game. Siu sees a world where everyone can succeed in one way or another. He wants to “decentralize everything”, a view that emphasizes the company’s preferred approach to being a minority investor in everything from games to metavers to online worlds.

He quickly learned, he says, that the big technology companies are not playing fair – Apple launched Animoca from the app store after the company realized that quick release of new apps and cross-promotion of them would guarantee them a higher ranking.

“We were in this really weird situation where we could try to call Apple the way Epic did, but we were a very small company. Or we could try to solve it … so effectively we practiced a form of self-censorship. because of fear.This is actually the world we live in today … it happens with Facebook, Twitter, everything, right?

“We saw NFTs and the ability to own a portion of digital equity, and it all just felt right. This is back in 2017.”

‘Strategic capital and influential money’

Putting itself in line with powerful backers to lobby for its worldview is one of the main reasons why Animoca is constantly raising new capital. Siu says the company does not need cash.

The increases should rather bring it in line with what he calls “strategic capital” and later “influential money”. In other words, people who can help push his type of web 3.0. In its most recent capital raising, Animoca received funding from companies such as Ubisoft Entertainment, which publishes and develops Assassin’s Creed, Sequoia China and Dragonfly Capital. Similarly, in November, The Sandbox (the majority owned by Animoca) raised $ 93 million in a round led by SoftBank.

He also believes that the market is slowly beginning to recognize that NFTs, the meta-verse and his vision for their future are real.

“A lot of people have criticized it as just a giant Ponzi scheme,” he says.

“You know, it’s just pouring money into us. And the thing is, if it’s a garden surrounded by walls, which is typical game, then it must be because the money that goes in can only be that money. , that can come out, no? But in an open economic system we can innovate freely even by creating new services, and it is not a Ponzi scheme because one can create a new value and therefore new services can be introduced , which is what’s happening. ”

Animoca has not released financial statements since 2020 despite having more than 2,500 shareholders and its shares traded on PrimaryMarkets. The company has told investors it is working on releasing accounts soon, but has not given any set deadlines.

Siu says the company – which generates revenue by taking a clip every time a digital asset is sold – does not need capital. As NFT values ​​rise and more people participate, it is a good result for Animoca’s undisclosed revenue line.

As for a stock market listing, Siu says it is not the main focus, although it could be considered as early as next year or possibly the year after.

“It is not a top priority for us. The highest priority is really to continue building in space. Capital is not an issue for us,” he says again.

However, he admits that the company has fallen behind with its investor communication, a fact that it is working hard to rectify. In part, he says, it was difficult to recruit the right people after being delisted by ASX.

That stigma has diminished now, he says. “Today we are in a position where we can pick up the best people. We regret that it has taken so long. “

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