- OpenSea, an auction site for NFTs, has hit a valuation of $1.5 billion, according to reports Tuesday.
- The valuation comes after venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz led a $100 million funding round.
- The pace in the creation of tech unicorns has accelerated this year.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
OpenSea, a marketplace for digital collectibles, hit a valuation of $1.5 billion in its latest round of fundraising, according to reports, highlighting bullishness in the tech world toward NFTs and crypto collectibles.
The valuation comes after OpenSea raised $100 million in Series B funding led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z, according to a TechCrunch report published Tuesday. The firm in March led a Series A funding round of $23 million.
OpenSea has now reached tech “unicorn” status, or a private company that is valued at more than $1 billion, joining what’s already been a record-setting year in venture funding. In the second quarter alone, 136 unicorns emerged, outstripping the 128 that were created in 2020, according to CB Insights.
OpenSea was started in 2017 and specializes in NFTs — or non-fungible tokens — which are digital representations of artworks and collectibles that exist on a blockchain ledger. This year’s listings included digital assets from Preakness Stakes, which in May commemorated its leg of the Triple Crown elite horse race by auctioning the first real-time minting of a professional sports event.
Video: What are NFTs? (CNBC)
The NFT market has soared this year, with sales volume hitting $2.5 billion in the first half of 2021, according to analytics company DappRadar, although there have been signs of some slowing in the market, including a pullback in prices.
OpenSea logged $160 million in sales in June and was on course to surpass that figure this month, OpenSea’s CEO Devin Finzer told TechCrunch.
Meanwhile, OpenSea said buyers, sellers and artists will no longer have to pay Ethereum transaction fees on its marketplace, according to a Tuesday report from DeCrypt, a cryptocurrency news and information site. That development stems from OpenSea’s integration of Polygon, a framework for building Ethereum-compatible blockchains.
NFTs have proven popular with celebrities and high-profile business people including rapper Jay-Z and billionaire investor Mark Cuban as a new avenue to feature or promote their work.