Animoca Brands, a blockchain gaming company focused on non-fungible tokens, has become the Hong Kong tech industry’s newest unicorn after completing a capital raise of US$88,888,888 based on a US$1 billion valuation.

The investment round was led by Kingsway Capital, and included RIT Capital Partners (formerly Rothschild Investment Trust), HashKey Fintech Investment Fund, AppWorks Fund, LCV Fund, Huobi, Octava, Ellerston Capital, Perennial, Axia Infinity Ventures, SNZ, Liberty City Ventures, Metapurse and other prominent investors.

“Having spent nearly a decade investing in emerging and frontier markets, we have first-hand experience of the power of disruptive technologies,” said Kingsway founder and CEO Manuel Stotz. “The emergence of digital property rights, whether via Bitcoin or NFTs, is perhaps the greatest opportunity for financial inclusion for the bottom 3 billion frontier and emerging market consumers, as well as an opportunity for a more decentralized and thus more equitable global internet.”

The funding round is a strategic milestone that positions Animoca Brands for further growth as it continues to bring digital property rights to video gamers through the use of blockchain technology and NFTs, enabling capabilities such as play-to-earn and digital asset interoperability.

See related article: Guide to tokens and NFTs: what is ‘tokenization’ and how does it work?

“This strategic capital raise firmly establishes Animoca Brands as one of the leading and most valuable companies in the NFT space, not just in Asia but globally,” Yat Siu, co-founder and chairman of Animoca Brands, told Forkast.News.

NFTs have been making headlines recently, not only in the blockchain space but also across mainstream media. Animoca’s capital raise stands as testimony to its ability to monetize this new asset class, although NFTs continue to attract criticism from many quarters amid concerns related to their high valuations and lack of intrinsic value. 

The fresh capital will be utilized to fund further acquisitions, develop new products, continue to make strategic investments, and to secure additional licenses for popular intellectual properties for Animoca and its subsidiaries in the NFT and gaming spaces.

“What we are building is really important for the metaverse and digital property rights in general, so this is a big part of bringing people who are not just from the crypto landscape,” Siu said. “Most of the investors that came in this round are what you might consider traditional investors who are not in the crypto world, but believe what we are building is important.” 

See related article: How fractionalized NFTs could be the next frontier of investing

Following the success of its blockchain game titles, Animoca has emerged as a force in blockchain, NFTs and games, having already made fruitful investments in Dapper Labs, Opensea, Bitski, Axie Infinity and other firms.

“Animoca has made over 50 investments in the NFT space over the last three years, as well as building many of its own operating businesses in the area.” Siu said. “This is about essentially creating a digital asset revolution, a digital property rights movement across all of our lives for everyone online.”

With the recent launch of the GAMEE, TOWER, and LMT tokens, Animoca is trailblazing the use of blockchain-based in-game rewards, creating new ways to monetize video games — a market estimated to be worth US$179.7 billion last year.

To commemorate the achievement of its unicorn status, Animoca is issuing an NFT to investors, key partners and supporters.

“It’s a great honor to achieve unicorn status.” Siu said. “I think in particular it’s special because we are Hong Kong-based and there’s not too many of us.”