The much-talked-about NFT startup from the founder of Decentraland was supposed to be the future of cryptocurrency gaming.His $20M bet on Genesis could cost the company’s future

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The much-talked-about NFT startup from the founder of Decentraland was supposed to be the future of cryptocurrency gaming.His M bet on Genesis could cost the company’s future


For a short time in 2021, it seemed that cryptocurrency had finally found its killer application: video games. “Play and earn” game Axie Infinity has gained millions of users, and platforms like Sandbox have racked up venture capital. Perhaps the most promising is a much-hyped Metaverse project in Argentina called Decentraland, whose token known as Mana exploded by a whopping 6,000%.

As the hype cycle of cryptocurrency gaming grows, Decentraland co-founder Ali Meyrich set about developing his own title, called an NFT-powered multiplayer role-playing game. big time. The project has raised $10.3 million from a prominent cryptocurrency investor, successfully launched a test, and reportedly made millions in profit. Meilich then decided to invest in the cryptocurrency market.

As a notification from the bankrupt genesis evident, big time It put most of its capital into high-risk cryptocurrency lenders with the expectation of more than 5% instead of growth. It’s becoming. Experts say big timeHis bet was not only a highly unusual move for a game still in its early stages of development, but a reckless bet that could put the company’s future in jeopardy.

Rise of crypto games

Ari Meilich started developing Decentraland in 2015 with Esteban Ordano as part of a crypto-focused hacker house in Buenos Aires. Voltaire Houseenvisions the Metaverse platform as a kind of utopian alternative to real-world economies.

In the years that followed, the game A potential conduit for crypto to enter the mainstream— Players can participate in role-playing or first-person shooter titles and be rewarded with tokens and NFTs that the developers said give gamers more control and autonomy.

Decentraland positions itself as a virtual currency-powered version of the pioneering virtual world Second Life, allowing players to purchase virtual land and other items using Mana, the Metaverse token.while attracting Relatively small handful Decentraland was the first metaverse project to incorporate blockchain technology and quickly became a darling of the cryptocurrency industry. In 2021 and early 2022, Decentraland’s Mana token will skyrocket, with major brands Dolce & Gabbana When JP Morganhas launched a virtual lounge within its platform in February 2022.

With Decentraland’s reputation, Meilich’s next project is —big time— arrived with a flurry of hype at a time when crypto investors were salivating at the prospect of Web3 gaming gaining mainstream adoption. Axie Infinity got an impressive number of players, but the majority of them showed up expecting to make money. Most notably were young workers from the Philippines and Vietnam. Treated token farming as a full-time job. big time, however, promised NFT-powered games connected to real gamers.

luck got a pitch deck big time It was distributed in December 2021, ahead of a planned Series B funding round. big time Players who are in the early “alpha” stage of development and have access to the game Bought an NFT passWhile the entire NFT market is soaring, big time boasts impressive stats for a game that has yet to be released to the public, with NFT’s major revenue of $38.5 million and over 89,000 users.

the deck reveals big time has raised $10 million in Series A funding in March 2021. Investors include Sam Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research and Genesis’ parent company, Digital Currency Group. on the deck, big time It also said it would raise a $110 million Series B in January 2022.

That funding round didn’t materialize and didn’t materialize big timecontinues to grow.

According to Crunchbase data, big time did not raise additional funding after its $10.3 million Series A. And today, the game is still in closed alpha, accessible only to players holding an NFT Pass.

Ali Meirich did not respond to multiple requests for comment. luck.

luck I also reached out to some big timeInvestors, including Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, North Island Ventures and FBG Capital, did not receive a response.

“Very strange, very suspicious

With the arrival of “Crypto Winter” in 2022, the NFT market will evaporate and overall trading volume will drop to fell 97%.

because big time Still in closed alpha, analytics platforms like DappRadar have not yet tracked the activity of many sold NFTs. big timeof private marketplacePedro Herrera, head of research at DappRadar, said that once the game goes public, players will start earning on-chain rewards through NFTs or tokens that the platform can track.Currently the only way to track big timeThe popularity of OpenSea and binanceWhere big time sells NFT passes that offer early access.

sum of two big time The collection for sale on OpenSea is worth 2,000 ETH, or about $3 million at today’s prices, but trading volume has been poor over the last 90 days. One collection sold just 64, reaching about $5,000, and the other is even more sluggish. With the two collections combined, he has less than 2,000 owners.

Revenues are clearly declining big time Thanks to the profits realized during the cryptocurrency boom cycle and the company’s Series A funding round, it may still have had a sizable runway. However, Genesis filings reveal that Big Time kept $20 million of its own funds in a now-bankrupt lending platform.The investment has now been frozen.

We spoke to a top cryptogaming venture capitalist luck On condition of anonymity, he described the move as “extremely bizarre and highly suspicious.”

The VC had not invested in fraudulent cryptocurrency projects TerraUSD and Three Arrows Capital before they collapsed last May. big time Or Decentraland — said it was common for companies to deposit some of their funds with Genesis because the platform offered yields of 5% or more.

big time It likely held a high percentage of its finances in Genesis when it stopped withdrawing, and Gaming VC said it was a bad decision for any company. big time, However, the move was made even more risky because they were making a game that hadn’t been published yet. The VC said the money should have been used for recruitment and other development instead.nevertheless discussion Frozen funds may be released between Genesis and creditors in the coming weeks, but are not currently accessible to investors.

Meirich, big timeFounder of , he wasn’t the only one in his Decentraland brethren who trusted Genesis with money. Co-founder Esteban Ordano held more than $25 million in Genesis through Panama’s Wina Securities, according to the bankruptcy filing. Decentraland’s current CFO, Santiago Esponda, said he brought his more than $55 million to Genesis through another company, Heliva International Corp., which is headquartered in the same building as his Winah in Panama City. had the funds.

The Decentraland Foundation, the non-profit organization overseeing the Metaverse platform, clearly Last week, the company also revealed that it had about $8 million in credit for Genesis.Like big time, Genesis’ parent company, Digital Currency Group, also happens to be Investor, Also one of the largest owners of Virtual Land.

With the circulating flow of funds, it is not surprising that the name of Decentraland’s central plaza was chosen for the name Genesis Plaza.

This story was originally Fortune.com

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