Galaxy Digital re-stocked its crypto-culture war chest earlier this year with a $325 million venture fund focused on digital entertainment.
The fund, from Galaxy Interactive, which scouts gaming and arts startups for Mike Novogratz’s crypto conglomerate, has been investing in projects such as Art Blocks for months now, General Partner Sam Englebardt told CoinDesk.
“What would you invest in if you believe that the younger generations, in particular, are moving en masse from the physical to the digital world?” Englebardt said in an interview, noting that Galaxy Interactive has showered $150 million on projects accordingly.
If non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other crypto tech are to form the backbone of this coming metaverse, then Galaxy wants its share of the spine. The same goes for gaming, blockchain or no.
Englebardt was hesitant to label Galaxy Interactive’s strategy a “metaverse” play, however. The term, which refers to virtual worlds users can interact with, is fast becoming a buzzword. He called it “confusing,” in part because it is growing increasingly ill-defined.
Full immersion virtual worlds a la “Ready Player One” – a true metaverse – aren’t yet achievable. Even so, technologies today are already blurring the boundaries between physical and digital, creating a mixed world.
“We’re investing in a lot of technologies and businesses that we think are going to be instrumental to evolving us from this weaker concept of the metaverse to the much, much deeper, more philosophically interesting idea,” Englebardt said.
Gaming is a critical part of Galaxy Interactive’s playbook. It participated in 1047 Studios, the company behind a popular free-to-play shooter title, and Elodie Games, which is building a cross-platform gaming experience. Neither are crypto-first.
High-brow digital art projects have also found Galaxy Interactive’s blessing. Masterworks, a securitized art startup with a $1 billion price tag, is a portfolio company. So is Art Blocks, the super-hot NFT platform for generative art.
The fund has more flexibility than Galaxy Interactive’s 2018 venture. That joint partnership with Block.one had $325 million to spend on projects at least tangentially related to the EOS ecosystem, and only in equity rounds. There are no such bounds on this edition: it is chain-agnostic and can invest in equity or tokens.
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