Meet 10 NFT investors expanding the horizons of digital art and gaming

Non-fungible tokens or NFTs are one of the fastest growing types of digital assets, with potential applications in areas such as art, games, music, and social media. Given their blockchain integration, they offer the possibility of bespoke, one-of-a-kind ownership with the potential to be used on an ever-expanding network of integrated applications and services.

NFT Investing as a Potential Crypto Revival

NFTs have caused a re-emergence of cryptocurrency and digital assets, with people both inside and outside the financial sphere taking a keen interest in how to invest in NFTs and how to future of technology. This movement however is not only on the side of traders; the newly expanded framework of what can be transformed into a digital asset is prompting creators and entrepreneurs to re-explore the potential of tokenization and push previously established definitions and conventions.

Much of the coverage given to NFTs has focused on one-off projects, purchases, and collaborations, expanding the narrative of NFTs as a collectible, but there are plenty in the space with a vision longer term. These startups develop infrastructure and applications that integrate NFTs, adding value and utility to the wide range of assets currently on the market.

What is digital art and games?

Although NFTs can take the form of any non-replicable digital asset, some of their most compelling and widely discussed use cases are those related to art and games. For many, the term NFT is synonymous with its application as a framework for unique digital artworks, which in many ways mimic the collectible art market. When an investor buys a digital art NFT, they are buying ownership rights to a one-of-a-kind piece of digital art, similar to how prime art buyers might pay to own a painting while also rare. Just as paper documents are kept to authenticate and track ownership of traditional, high-value works of art, NFTs use blockchain to trace their history and prove their original status.

NFT technology is also being experimented with in the gaming world, where it is used to provide players with various in-game assets. In many cases, these take the form of cosmetics, playable characters, and games. improvements, which have always been successfully monetized by game developers. Where gaming NFTs differ from these traditional gaming assets is in their uniqueness; while some of these non-NFT counterparts may have been rare or exclusive, they could still belong to a significant portion of a game’s playerbase, but the NFT versions of these assets promise to be the only ones of their kind. Given their integration with the blockchain, gaming NFTs also provide the ability to be used across multiple games, a feature that traditional gaming assets either couldn’t or wouldn’t explore.

Major Players in NFT Investment

A third important element of the NFT ecosystem, beyond the NFT creators and those who build projects around them, are the parties who invest capital in the space. Our definition of an NFT investor is not an entity that purchases individual NFTs, although they may also do so, but rather an entity that invests in NFT startups or initiatives. Below are some of the most prolific investors, by number of deals, who include NFT startups as a significant part of their portfolio.

Animoca brands

  • Year of creation: 2011
  • Management: Robbert Yung, CEO
  • Total NFT investments: 101

Animoca Brands is a Hong Kong-based mobile game developer and publisher specializing in blockchain and gamification. They have worked on licensed projects for brands such as Disney, WWE and Formula 1. In addition to creating proprietary digital assets such as REVV Token and SAND Token, they have also invested in over 150 NFT-related projects and decentralization.

AU21 Capital

  • Year of creation: 2017
  • Management: Alexi Nedeltchev, Kevin Leu, Valeria Kholostenko, directors
  • Total NFT investments: 65

Based in San Francisco, California, AU21 Capital is a venture capital firm that targets blockchain and artificial intelligence projects. They supplement their venture capital efforts by partnering with exchanges and industry launchpads to provide additional support. A common theme in their investments is NFT games and Metaverse integration.

Shima Capital

  • Year of creation: 2021
  • Management: Yida Gao, general partner
  • Total NFT investments: 57

Shima Capital is a San Francisco, California-based venture capital firm specializing in seed investments in blockchain and cryptocurrency companies. They hold positions in several areas of the blockchain ecosystem, including decentralized finance, gaming, infrastructure, and the metaverse.

NGC Enterprises

  • Year of creation: 2017
  • Management: Roger Lim, co-founding partner
  • Total NFT investments: 49

NGC Ventures is a Singapore-based company that uses traditional financial practices for cryptocurrency investments. Started by NEO blockchain co-founder Erik Zhang, they were originally dedicated to supporting NEO-related projects, but have since expanded their interests into the broader blockchain space. Some of their main target areas include decentralized computing, gaming, and decentralized finance.

Off-Grid Capital

  • Year of creation: 2018
  • Management: Eric Su, CEO and Founder
  • Total NFT investments: 46

Exnetwork Capital is a venture capital firm and incubator dedicated to supporting blockchain and crypto startups. They have a strong emphasis on decentralization and democratized access to blockchain, as evidenced by their support for anonymous and distributed teams. Exnetwork Capital’s NFT investments are largely related to game integration and the creation of games based on tokenized assets.

Sfermion

  • Year of creation: 2019
  • Management: Andrew Steinwold, Founder and Managing Partner
  • Total NFT investments: 42

Sfermion is a Chicago-based investment firm that specializes in early-stage blockchain NFT and venture capital. They place great importance on Metaverse technology and have a dedicated fund for projects related to its infrastructure.

Genesis Block Ventures

  • Year of creation: 2020
  • Management: Christian Ng, director
  • Total NFT investments: 42

Genesis Block Ventures is a venture capital firm that operates in the Cayman Islands, UK. They favor early-stage projects related to blockchain and cryptocurrency. Throughout their history in the space, they have been involved in projects such as cryptocurrency mining support, over-the-counter trading, and currently host an NFT gallery with coins they have invested in.

Capital Magnus

  • Year of creation: 2021
  • Management: Matthijs Driel, Founder
  • Total NFT investments: 42

Based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Magnus Capital draws on its professional background in traditional finance and digital currency creation to inform its investments. They also serve as an incubator for cryptocurrency and blockchain startups, offering consulting and content generation services.

LD Capital

  • Year of creation: 2017
  • Management: Blake Gao, Partner
  • Total NFT investments: 39

LD Capital is a crypto investment company located in Hong Kong. They invest in several facets of the blockchain and crypto ecosystem, including decentralized finance, blockchain infrastructure, Metaverse technology, and NFT.

HG Ventures

  • Year of creation: 2020
  • Leadership: Simon Jeung, co-founder and general partner
  • Total NFT investments: 37

HG Ventures is a Seoul, South Korea-based venture capital firm with a focus on blockchain investments. They mainly focus on seed-stage and early-stage venture capital deals.

Learn more about blockchain and cryptocurrency

Learn about the best blockchain and cryptocurrency investors

Read our blog post to see which venture capital firms are setting the tone for the broader blockchain and cryptocurrency market

Find out how NFT fits into the larger blockchain ecosystem

Learn more about NFT’s market share compared to other blockchain use cases, the top seven NFT sub-segments, and the reception of NFT in games in our blog post.

Explore future avenues for NFTs

Read our market analysis article on external factors affecting NFTs and how these may lead to future adaptations

Find out how NFT startups are reacting to changes in trading volumes

Read our news article on new NFT projects and their place in the market after the boom of 2021

Dive into our long list of emerging spaces

NFT is one of hundreds of emerging spaces tracked by PitchBook. Explore our full list to discover more tech on the rise

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