Yat Siu, co-founder and president of Animoca Brands, believes that the transition to Web3, the next generation of the Internet, will come sooner than many think. “Within the next 18 months or so, we expect there to be hundreds of millions of new entrants to the open metaverse, as new and higher-quality blockchain games launch that bring a new wave of people into the space,” he said. Wednesday in an interview at the Urban Land Institute’s Asia-Pacific Summit.

Web3, a decentralized version of the Internet, will move digital property rights from tech companies into the hands of users so they can move freely between platforms in the open metaverse. Siu says that people will appreciate the value this freedom gives them as they find more ways to use their NFTs in those spaces.

He also believes that the transition will not be hampered by physical limitations. He says much of the underlying infrastructure in terms of the actual hardware and networks needed to support the transition to Web3 is already in place.

Siu says that the adoption of Web3 will be stimulated by younger people. “One of the reasons young people are drawn to Web3 is not because it represents better technology, but because it represents a better future,” he said.

The younger generation feels that the “existing financial systems and opportunities don’t work for them,” adds Siu, but Web3 allows them to build things for themselves and have digital ownership across platforms, which creates more opportunities. .

Animoca has become one of the leading proponents of an open metaverse built on blockchain technology, while also amassing one of the largest Web3 investment portfolios in the world.

By April this year, the company’s portfolio had grown to include 340 investments in Web3 companies and projects spanning finance, gaming, art and social media. The total value of the portfolio was $1.5 billion at the time.

Animoca was created in 2014 to develop games for smartphones and tablets. Siu said they ventured into blockchain gaming and NFTs in late 2017, when they discovered Dapper Labs (then called Axiom Zen), the Vancouver-based company behind CryptoKitties. He saw the potential for what NFTs could become in terms of digital property rights, so Animoca jumped on the bandwagon.

In 2018 and 2019, when the crypto winter was in full swing and others were cutting their losses and running away, Animoca was a buyer. Siu said they got in with investments in Sky Mavis (the developer of Axie Infinity), OpenSea (the NFT marketplace), and Decentraland (metaverse gaming platform). They also acquired Pixowl, the developer of Sandbox.

In July, Animoca reached a valuation of $5.9 billion when it raised another $75 million. It was the second round of fundraising announced in January, which had raised $359 million. The company’s patrons include the likes of George Soros, the Winklevoss twins, Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai, among many others.

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