Decentraland Founder Unveils Project of Bringing NFTs to 'Big-Time' Video Games

Decentraland co-founder Ari Meilich is teaming up with gaming industry heavyweights to launch Big Time Studios. Everyone from Ashton Kutcher to Sam Bankman-Fried is involved in the $10.3 million Series A round of funding.

AccessTimeIconMay 12, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 3:19 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Big Time Studios, a company formed by gaming industry veterans whose mission is to bring blockchain-based games to a mass audience, came out of stealth today with an announcement that it has raised, or is set to raise, $21 million in new funding.

Big Time raised $10.3 million in a Series A funding round from such investors as North Island Ventures, Digital Currency Group (the owner of CoinDesk), OKEx's Blockdream Ventures, Sam Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research, USDC builder Circle and Ashton Kutcher's Sound Ventures, according to an announcement on Wednesday. An additional $11 million in funding that will be used to invest in partner gaming companies is almost complete, the company said.

  • What South Korea's Latest Election Means for Crypto Adoption in the Country
    00:38
    What South Korea's Latest Election Means for Crypto Adoption in the Country
  • Hong Kong Approving an Ether ETF Could Be a 'Surprise,' Analyst Says
    00:52
    Hong Kong Approving an Ether ETF Could Be a 'Surprise,' Analyst Says
  • What South Korea's Elections Mean for Crypto; The Potential for Spot BTC and ETH ETFs in Hong Kong
    19:02
    What South Korea's Elections Mean for Crypto; The Potential for Spot BTC and ETH ETFs in Hong Kong
  • Would You Get Paid in Crypto?
    00:57
    Would You Get Paid in Crypto?
  • Online video games have been around forever, but they tend to be "Walled Gardens," which means they are enclosed so that the user is restricted to certain websites or online services. Thanks to crypto going mainstream, especially with all the interest around non-fungible tokens (NFTs), it’s time for the gaming world to break through its silos. 

    Big Time CEO Ari Meilich, who was previously a co-founder and CEO at Decentraland, a virtual reality platform that is built on blockchain technology, says he plans to create the first "AAA," or highly rated, action title that allows players to acquire, hold and trade NFT-based virtual items with ease. 

    Big Time Studios aims to bring NFTs to mainstream gamers.
    Big Time Studios aims to bring NFTs to mainstream gamers.

    NFTs’ next step

    In 2018, Meilich organized “Nifty,” the first blockchain gaming and NFT conference, where he gained firsthand experience of the sort of complications users run into when they deal with blockchains, wallets, cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

    “We knew for a fact that this couldn’t scale in the short term to a mass market audience,” Meilich said in an interview, adding:

    “So we are building tech that gives regular players who know nothing about crypto, access to their blockchain-based virtual goods. That means providing hosted wallets and a fully managed experience where we custody their assets, and also taking a lot of the transactions off-chain to save on gas.”

    Meilich said the project is being built on Ethereum but with “proprietary tech to scale off-chain.”

    Meilich is joined by former Decentraland compatriot Thor Alexander and a founding team that includes key players from games such as "World of Warcraft," "Call of Duty" and "League of Legends."

    “The market for in-game assets is massive, and yet in today’s world, players do not possess and usually cannot trade the items they purchase,” North Island Ventures managing partner Travis Scher said in a statement. “In-game NFTs can give players true ownership and their proliferation can bring the Metaverse one step closer to fruition.”

    Disclosure

    Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

    CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.


    Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.