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Gaming, crypto fintech and blockchain infrastructure dominate venture capital rounds

Cointelegraph By Sam Bourgi

Cryptocurrency markets remain caught in a macro-based downtrend, with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) showing further signs of weakness at the end of April. But, venture capital activity in the crypto and blockchain sectors is the strongest it has ever been, offering further evidence that major investors are looking beyond immediate price action and ignoring divisive bull/bear narratives. The latest edition of VC Roundup highlights the growing excitement surrounding Web3 gaming, decentralized finance (DeFi) and blockchain infrastructure.

The first quarter of 2022 was brutal for crypto prices, but venture capital activity was the strongest ever. 

bloXroute secures $70M from major investors

Blockchain distribution network provider bloXroute has raised $70 million in funding to continue developing scalable infrastructure services for the cryptocurrency and DeFi industries. The Series B funding round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from Dragonfly Capital, Jane Street, ParaFi Capital, Blindspot, GSR and others. The company recently launched its Blockchain Distribution Network, which is said to overcome network congestion to provide users with reliable information about buy and sell orders.

HBAR Foundation launches $50M fintech innovation fund

Hedera ecosystem promoter HBAR Foundation has launched a $50 million fund to incentivize Hedera-focused development work around central bank digital currencies (CBDC), stablecoins, remittance services, micropayments and asset tokenization. The fintech and payments fund is now seeking proposals for these and other finance-based integrations. At the time of writing, Hedera was the 35th most valuable blockchain network with a total market capitalization of $3.2 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Related: HBAR Foundation launches a $250M metaverse fund to enhance consumer brand adoption

Crypto industry heavyweights back decentralized venture studio

Web3 venture studio Decent Labs has partnered with BlockTower Capital, Digital Currency Group and others to launch a new incubator decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) ecosystem called Decent DAO. The backers allocated a combined $10 million in on-chain investments to the initiative at a valuation of $56 million. Decent DAO wants to fix a major problem plaguing many decentralized autonomous organizations — namely, a lack of proper governance and leadership — and has developed a system that ensures all project backers are fully invested in the space.

a16z leads $34M Spruce raise

Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z, led a $34 million funding round for decentralized identity startup Spruce. The Series A funding round also had participation from Ethereal Ventures, Electric Capital and Y Combinator, among others. Spruce is developing a protocol that lets users control their personal data across the Web2 and Web3 economies. Spruce has also partnered with the Ethereum Foundation to develop a new authentication method for Ethereum accounts and ENS profiles.

Gaming industry veterans raise capital for Web3 studio

Gaming industry professionals formerly of EA, Disney and Epic Games have raised $4 million for Playmint, a new venture studio developing massively multiplayer on-chain games, also known as MMOCG. The seed round was led by BITKRAFT Ventures with participation from Ethereal Ventures, Cherry Ventures, Play Ventures and 1kx. Playmint’s first title is called The Crypt, a loot-based dungeon game that’s built on the blockchain.

Related: Animoca Brands to bet big on MMORPG blockchain games

GamerGains closes $5.8M seed round backed by Winklevoss Capital

Developer GamerGains Labs has closed a $5.8 million seed round to support the development of a cryptocurrency-based play-and-earn (P2E) platform. Unlike other crypto-focused developers, GamerGains is building a platform for traditional PC and console gamers, allowing players to earn crypto and token rewards for typical gameplay. The funding round had backing from some of blockchain’s biggest venture studios, including Tiger Global, FTX, Winklevoss Capital, CMS Holdings and BlockFi.

Blockchain developer Venly raises $23M

Belgian technology provider Venly is looking to bring more industries to blockchain and has secured $23 million in Series A investments to further this initiative. The funding round was led by Courtside Ventures with participation from Transcend Fund, Coinbase Ventures, Tioga Capital and others. The company, which develops tools and APIs that allow Web2 companies to utilize Web3 technology, is primarily focused on game publishers and e-commerce businesses. Its application programming interface (API) platform has been used by the likes of Shopify and The Sandbox, among others.

Related: Crypto Biz: If you think crypto is bearish, you’re not paying attention, April 21–27, 2022

Oasis.app secures $6M Series A funding round

Decentralized finance platform Oasis.app has raised funds to continue building its consumer-focused DeFi products and tools. The platform allows DeFi users to connect their crypto wallets and earn yields on their Bitcoin, Ether and other holdings. The funding round, which was secured through a combination of crypto and fiat, was led by Libertus Capital, with additional participation from several angel investors from within the crypto industry.