Blockchain-focused gaming startup Immutable has secured $82 million in funding as investors embrace tech for trading NFTs.
Founded back in 2018 by brothers James and Robbie Ferguson, Immutable — previously called Fuel Games — is a gaming and digital asset technology business, focused on gaming on the blockchain and in-game trading of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Along with its in-house games, trading card game Gods Unchained and mobile role-playing game Guild of Guardians, the startup has created the Immutable X platform, which allows other businesses to facilitate NFT trading.
The Series B round was led by specialist gaming and e-sports investor BITKRAFT Ventures, along with King River Capital.
AirTree Ventures and Reinventure also contributed, as well as Prosus Ventures, Galaxy Interactive, Fabric Ventures, FTX, Apex Capital and VaynerFund.
The round follows a $2.4 million cash injection back in 2018, and another $22 million raise just over a year later.
The new funding will be used to grow the startup’s global sales and engineering teams, and to expand the reach of Immutable’s own games, while also boosting the NFT trading capabilities within them.
It will also be used to bolster partnerships with gaming companies.
Taking NFTs mainstream
The Immutable X platform allows businesses to facilitate NFT trades, whether that forms an element of a computer game or mobile app, or involves the trading and sale of collectibles like trading cards and art works.
The platform is designed to provide the underlying infrastructure, without compromising the security of the Ethereum blockchain — the most popular blockchain used for NFT trading.
It also allows businesses to scale up the number of NFT trades they can facilitate, to more than 9,000 trades per second, while offering instant trade confirmation.
The Immutable team is touting the product as a carbon-neutral solution for scaling up NFT capabilities.
It reduces the fees and computing power required per trade, thereby reducing environmental impact. The founders will cover the ongoing cost of the remaining associated carbon credits, until at least 2025.
“NFT trading is a terrible mainstream user experience right now,” said Immutable co-founder and president Robbie Ferguson in a statement.
“It’s expensive, illiquid, and the only existing scaling solutions compromise on the most important thing — the security and user-base of Ethereum,” he added.
“We want businesses to create their game, marketplace, or NFT application within hours via APIs, with a mainstream user experience. No blockchain programming required.”
Zeb Rice, founding partner at King River Capital, called Immutable’s technology “transformative”, adding it will “significantly accelerate the wider adoption of NFTs across gaming, the music industry, financial services and sectors yet to appreciate the benefits of NFTs”.
“The metaverse and beyond”
Immutable’s raise follows a flurry of activity in this obscure sector. Back in March 2021, NFTs spring into the mainstream with the sale of Beeple’s The First 5000 Days, which sold at auction in NFT form for $88.6 million.
Since then, a single pixel-dot NFT has sold for $1.3 million, virtual sneakers have sold for US$3.1 million, and even Pringles have tried to get in on the action.
In the US, NFT business Recur, which facilitates fiat-to-cryptocurrency microtransactions, just raised US$50 million ($62.2 million) in capital, giving it a valuation of US$333 million ($454 million).
John Henderson, partner at AirTree Ventures, said he and the AirTree investment team are “inspired by technology mavens who can visualise the future before it materialises for the rest of us”.
Immutable’s co-founders have been working on NFT tech in games for years, he noted.
“They have built the strongest team and the world’s best scalability infrastructure to power the emerging wave of consumer usage of NFTs in the metaverse and beyond.”