• Ethernity Raises $20 Million for Celebrity NFT and Gaming on Ethereum

  • Ethernity, an Ethereum NFT marketplace specializing on drops from celebrities and athletes, has acquired $20 million in venture funding and launched Ethernal Labs.

    Ethernity will grow its workforce to help celebrities and brands enter the NFT industry, as well as expand into play-to-earn games and metaverse initiatives, under the new umbrella firm.

    Riot Games Head of Creative and Franchise Development Thomas Vu, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin are among the investors in the $20 million seed round. Candy Digital, Fanatics’ sports-focused NFT branch, already produces MLB and NASCAR team NFTs and is expanding into entertainment.

    Morningstar Ventures, Ripple, Algorand, Polygon Studios, and Kenetic are among the other investors in Ethernity’s funding round. Ethernity previously secured $2.8 million in a strategic financing round in March 2021.

    Several renowned sportsmen and celebrities have already signed partnerships with the site, including former NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal, soccer sensation Lionel Messi, and the estates of Muhammad Ali, Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee, and James Dean.

    Nick Rose, the founder and CEO of Ethernity, told Decrypt that many more IP purchase announcements are on the way.

    A cultural icon and Hollywood legend, James Dean is a name that will live on forever.

    The exclusive James Dean #NFT collection lives at https://t.co/ueKLYMVNqy pic.twitter.com/JQvMiIkyDw

    — ETHERNITY (@EthernityChain) February 8, 2022

    What is the difference between Ethernal Labs and Ethernity?

    Rose and his team founded Ethernal Labs to gather talent for a firm focusing on a variety of projects, ranging from manufacturing NFT drops to devising play-to-earn game economics to researching cross-chain technology, according to Rose.

    Ethernal Labs will feature “crazy smart people building things,” he said, as the company aims for a variety of Web3 options.

    Thomas Vu, who worked as an executive producer on the popular game League of Legends and the Netflix animated adaption Arcane, is still with Riot Games, but is now assisting Ethernal Labs on the development of a play-to-earn role-playing game.

    Vu has no formal title or designation at Ethernal Labs, but the game is being developed “under the leadership” of the experienced Riot Games producer, according to an Ethernal Labs spokesman. Vu’s investment in the round was also personal and unrelated to Riot.

    Vu’s efforts include “really useful advise and overseeing what we’re doing exactly, making sure we’re on the correct road with our product offers and product building,” according to Rose.

    Axie Infinity is overhauling its ailing play-to-earn NFT economy.

    According to Rose, the play-to-earn project will debut its characters in the form of NFT profile images this spring, citing the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club as an example. Following that, Ethernal Labs will work on the game’s economy and gameplay features over the course of two to three years.

    Ethernal Labs is also working on a few of additional decentralized apps (dapps). EyeCandy, a decentralized, auction-centric NFT marketplace for limited-edition artwork, will begin in the second quarter of this year.

    Meanwhile, Fanable, a fan token platform, is expected to launch in Q3. Fanable, according to Rose, is similar to the sports fan token platform Socios, but with a focus on allowing individual athletes and creators to create their own fan communities using crypto tokens. Existing platforms, such as Rally and Roll, use this concept.

    Ethernity is now situated in the Ethereum ecosystem, and mints its NFTs on both the Ethereum mainnet and Polygon’s sidechain scaling solution, as the name suggests. Ethernity also features an ERN ERC-20 currency that can be used to stake prizes and purchase NFT collectibles.

    Rose, on the other hand, envisions Ethernity’s future as spanning many blockchain platforms. He added that other layer-2 solutions will be released alongside Polygon, and that they’re working on “platform agnostic” technology that will allow users to mint NFTs on any of several different blockchains, including Solana.

    Ethernity is also working on platform features including NFT lending and staking, as well as ambitions to expand its free-to-play game creation into the metaverse. Ethernity, in other words, is not short on ideas. “We’re working on a lot of groundbreaking thoughts and ideas,” Rose explained.

    They now have the funds to hire more people and strive to make these ideas a reality.

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