Play-to-earn gold rush as Crypto Gaming Guild and Zebedee raise millions of dollars from venture capitalists

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Play-to-earn is on the rise, with businesses Crypto Gaming United and Zebedee raising $5 million and $11.5 million, respectively.

Crypto Gaming United, a firm intending to develop a global community of nonfungible token (NFT)-focused play-to-earn gamers, acquired $5 million in a seed fundraising round that was oversubscribed.

A Sept. 8 announcement notes the round was led by famed Australian venture capitalist Mark Carnegie and CEO Sergei Sergienko — with the pair having co-founded the crypto-focused asset manager MHC Digital Finance.

Australian investment managers Shaw and Partners and Blockchain Assets also participated in the round.

Crypto Gaming United was established in August of this year and has already attracted more than 1,500 members and has a waiting list of almost 40,000. The guild helps members play the popular NFT-based game Axie Infinity by offering scholarships where sponsors provide expensive in-game assets to players who can use them to generate revenue.

Despite the fact that its seed round was led by Australian investors, the guild is primarily made up of Filipino players, with users also hailing from Indonesia, South Africa, and India. With the majority of guild members coming from low-income countries, many players may be unable to obtain the costly digital assets required to play Axie Infinity in the midst of a raging crypto bull market.

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Crypto Gaming United is not the only organisation offering Axie Infinity scholarships, with sponsorship schemes often receiving a cut of player revenues.

“The prospect for wealth creation in the NFT space is no longer confined to those with money, such as sports celebrities,” Sergienko noted. At Crypto Gaming United, we are removing the cost barrier for entry into the game, allowing gamers to earn money from their gaming exploits.”

Within the following 18 months, the gaming guild intends to collect a user base of more than 100,000.

Carnegie is not alone in believing the innovative play-to-earn titles built on NFTs will see the crypto sector capture an increasing share of the $200 billion annual online gaming industry.

On Sept. 7, Zebedee, raised $11.5 million in Series A funding to expand its gaming initiatives including enabling game developers to pay out rewards to players in the form of crypto assets.

Zebedee, which debuted in 2019, provides a platform and tools that allow Bitcoin to be utilised as in-game awards and microtransactions via Lightning Network architecture. Simon Cowell, co-founder and CEO, previously worked as the head of corporate development at Bitstamp, the world’s oldest Bitcoin exchange.

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Lakestar led Zebedee’s round, which also included participation from Initial Capital, New Form Capital, and a number of gaming angels.

Crypto-native gaming has already seen explosive growth this year, with Axie Infinity’s user base growing from 30,000 in April to more than one million last month.

Yield Guild Games, a Philippine play-to-earn gaming collective offering Axie sponsorships, also raised $12.5 million via an initial DEX offering (IDO) in just minutes during July.

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