Paradigm and Coatue led a $300 million investment that cements NFT marketplace OpenSea as one of the most valuable private firms in crypto.
Tuesday’s big numbers show how rapidly OpenSea has ensconced itself as the leading venue for trading non-fungible tokens. The firm said in a blog post it plans to use the funding for product development, hiring and startup investments and to “significantly improve customer support and customer safety.”
Despite some high-profile user blunders, business has been brisk for OpenSea. In the last 30 days alone, the marketplace for prized profile pics and other digital collectibles logged 1.6 million transactions on the Ethereum blockchain and a trading volume of $2.4 billion, according to data compiled by DappRadar.
The company was founded by Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah in 2017, well before NFTs had captured mainstream interest. CoinDesk’s first piece on OpenSea – for a $2 million funding round led by crypto venture capital firm 1confirmation – called it “an eBay for CryptoKitties.”
“Devin and Alex have shown true grit over the last four years, weathering uncertainty and sticking to their vision of NFTs as an internet- and world-changing primitive,” Paradigm Managing Partner Fred Ehrsam told CoinDesk via email.
OpenSea’s latest round is another sign of the boom times in crypto venture capital, with over $30 billion in investments flowing into crypto startups in 2021.
Bigger valuations have been had in recent months. For comparison, FTX’s funding round in October valued the crypto exchange at a whopping $25 billion.
However, OpenSea may be the king of the NFTs. Dapper Labs, the firm behind NBA Top Shot and the Flow blockchain, nabbed a $7.6 billion valuation in September in another round led by Coatue.
A request for comment sent to OpenSea wasn’t returned by press time.
Katie Haun, until recently a partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), participated in the OpenSea round through her new firm, KRH, a spokesperson said via email. That confirms an earlier report Tuesday from tech reporter Eric Newcomer that the funding round with Haun’s involvement was in the works.
Haun led both OpenSea’s Series A and Series B funding rounds in 2021 while she was with a16z and sits on the NFT company’s board of directors.
UPDATE (Jan. 5, 2:26 UTC): Adds Katie Haun’s involvement.
UPDATE (Jan. 5, 3:08 UTC): Adds OpenSea’s confirmation and a statement from Paradigm’s Fred Ehrsam.
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