Monthly Comprehensive Report that Summarises all Major Trends, Developments and Funding across the Metaverse, NFT and Web3 Gaming Space

1. NFT Overview

NFT markets had a mellow month in September. The month had much to offer, from the initial excitement and success of the ETH merge to the celebration of International NFT day. Nansen’s NFT bluechip index, which tracks the price action of notable NFT collections, grew by 8.2%, while the NFT volumes across popular chains dropped to $493 million, the lowest seen since July 2021.

Despite typical bear market things, we had several winners in the NFT market in September. The biggest winner of all was Solana, where the NFT volumes close to doubled, even as all other chains were losing trading volumes. What’s also amusing is that Solana is slowly gaining momentum and dominance on Ethereum in NFT volumes. The blockchain has been able to nudge itself to facilitate 25% of NFT volumes in September, while Ethereum has dropped its dominance to 65% from 80% the previous month. Solana’s NFT marketplace of everyone’s choice, Magic Eden, has also been thriving. The marketplace had experienced the second-largest NFT volumes since its inception — a remarkable feat considering our current market conditions.

September was also a monumental month for Ethereum as the chain moved to Proof-of-Stake. Multiple mints surrounding the merge popped up left, right, and center — some of which gained significant traction in the month. We also saw bluechips like Azuki and Doodles rallying due to funding announcements — something we are seeing as a common denominator among top bluechip collections.

On the funding end, September had a brutal month with very few venture investments in the sector. The month saw $122 million in funding inflow, down 63% from the previous month. The largest funding amounts went to Doodles and B+J Studios, drawing in $54 million and $10 million, respectively.

NFT Recent Developments

  • FIFA to launch FIFA+ collect, an NFT marketplace on the Algorand blockchain (Announcement). The platform will allow football enthusiasts to affordably own unique digital collectibles, from game moments to the World Cup art and imagery.
  • PGA partners with Autograph to create its own NFT platform. The tie-up will give an opportunity for fans to collect NFTs of the PGA tour golfers and favorite moments from the archives.
  • Starbucks partnered with Polygon to offer an NFT-based loyalty program for customers (Announcement). The company will allow customers to purchase and earn digital collectible stamps that offer benefits and immersive experiences.
  • Apple will allow developers to sell NFTs in games and apps (Article). The 30% cut as part of transactions has created a debate among the NFT community.
  • Major NFT bluechip projects raise funding in September. Doodles raised $54 million in its first funding round at a valuation of $704 million, while Azuki creators plan to raise $30 million.
  • Meta opens NFT sharing on Instagram and Facebook to all users (Announcement). Facebook and Instagram users in the US are able to connect their wallets and share their digital collectibles.
  • The Japanese government has issued NFTs to reward local workers (Article). Mayors received NFT awards for various initiatives they undertook to ease the lives of the public in their respective regions.
  • The New York Museum of Modern Art considers buying NFTs with proceeds of $70 million auction (Article). The museum has a team of people keeping tabs on the digital art market and it is considering purchasing digital art connected to NFTs
  • LG Electronics has released, LG Art Lab, an NFT platform that allows users to buy, sell and trade NFTs on their smart TVs

Monthly NFT Stats

Volumes across major blockchains (Source: CryptoSlam)
Bluechip Price Comparison (Source: Coingecko)
Volumes across chains stacked 100% (Source: CryptoSlam)
Magic Eden Volumes (Source: Dune Analytics — forked from @sealauch)

NFT Project Fundraises

2. Web3 Gaming Overview

Web3 gaming had a reasonable month in September. The average number of daily gamers in September stood at 892,000, far exceeding all the other sectors like DeFi and marketplaces, and again proving resilience even in the bear market.

We had a decent number of incremental advancements in the gaming space last month. Zilliqa unveiled its plans for a Web3 gaming console and the first web3 NFT-powered game, ‘Blankos Block Party,’ listed on the famous Epic games store. Popular games like Splinterlands and Alien worlds also extended their prominence in the space by attracting more players, with both top games increasing player counts by more than 8% MoM. Apart from the games that have been under our radar for months, Gameta and Benji Bananas were some of the games that newly entered the top gaming lists in September.

We are also keeping a close eye on the Immutable X ecosystem and the games launching on the layer 2 solution. The scaling solution has seen increased volumes in September, largely due to the prominence of its flagship game, Gods Unchained. The game has more than quadrupled its trading volumes in a span of a month and constantly topped volume rankings, with the announcement of partnerships and future plans.

As far as funding goes, the sector attracted $294 million last month, the second-largest funding inflow in the year. The largest funding amounts were marked by Animoca Brands and Iskara, drawing in $110 million and $50 million, respectively.

Gaming Recent Developments

  • Layer 1 blockchain Zilliqa has revealed its plans for creating a web3-based console (Announcement). The console is expected to have mining utilities and run first-party gaming titles from Zilliqa.
  • Fortnite developers Epic Games Store has listed its first NFT-powered game. Called Blankos Block Party, the title is a multiplayer party game where users collect, brawl, and explore.
  • Japanese gaming giant Sega has inked a deal with Double Jump Tokyo to provide IP rights for an upcoming blockchain-based game series named Sangokushi Taisen (Article). The game will be a real-time strategy card game based on the Layer-2 Oasis network.
  • PUBG creator is considering using blockchain for his new project called Artemis (Article). The game will be an open-world metaverse that could use blockchain or some other evolution of the technology, as a utility.
  • Sorare teamed up with NBA and NBA Players Association to launch the first officially licensed, free-to-play collectible-based fantasy basketball game (Announcement). The game will be launched in the fall of this year, just in time for the 2022–23 NBA season.
  • Animoca Brands raised $110 million in a strategic funding round (Announcement). Animoca Brands will use this new capital to fund strategic acquisitions, investments and advance the open Metaverse.
  • Axie Infinity kickstarted Season 1 of Axie Origins, marking the official start of the reboot that started in early 2022 (Article). The leaderboard prize pool for season 1 stands at over 112,000 AXS tokens.

Monthly Web3 Gaming Stats

Blockchain users count across sectors (Source: Dappradar)
Gaming Transaction Count (Source: Footprint Analytics)
Top Played Web3 Games (Source: Dappradar)
Gods Unchained Volume (Source: CryptoSlam)

3. Metaverse Overview

September turned out to be a mixed month for the Metaverse in general. On one end, the trading volumes of popular Metaverses diminished; on the other, the month has drawn in the most funding since the beginning of the year.

Trading volumes in September for Metaverses stood at $15.3 million, down 7.85% from the previous month, whilst the Metaverse Index was down 13%. The price of land assets and sales numbers of parcels had slowly traded down over the month. The Otherside Metaverse started the month strong by unveiling its new trailer, which saw sales surging before eventually dropping off over the month. The total sales of the Otherside metaverse dropped 30% from the previous month.

Despite the slow activity among Metaverses, Sandbox has managed to outshine the pack and has been the only virtual world to increase trading volumes and land sales over the month. The team launched an exclusive land-holder staking program that saw trading volumes jump 13% MoM. As for what investors were interested in, 5 in 10 land sales were associated with the Otherside Metaverse while 2.6 in 10 sales were linked to the Sandbox Metaverse in September.

Enough of the negatives and onto the overwhelming positives for last month. While the trading volumes have diminished in September, mainstream adoption of the virtual worlds has grown significantly. Last month saw 2 large multinational banks, DBS and HSBC, dipping their toes in the metaverse and creating experiences in Sandbox. Walmart and Puma were other large, well-known consumer-facing companies to enter the Metaverse in September. In other positive analytics for the sector, September also saw the largest funding amounts entering the space since the beginning of the year. The month ended with $258 million in funding, up a drastic 68% from the previous month. The largest funding amounts went to Sports Metaverse Lootmogul and Metaverse infrastructure developer Hadean raising $200 million and $30 million, respectively.

Metaverse Recent Developments

  • Franklin Templeton has launched its Metaverse ETF in Europe (Announcement). The ETF targets companies worldwide that are shaping the development of the Metaverse.
  • UAE Ministry opens up its headquarters in the Metaverse (Article). Visitors will be able to sign legally binding documents in the virtual headquarters, eliminating the need for visiting physical locations.
  • Spanish Telecom giant Telefonica partners with Qualcomm to develop Metaverse Initiatives (Article). Telefonica will use Snapdragon Spaces, a new technology from Qualcomm, to bring Metaverse experiences to customers.
  • Metaverse-focused trademark filings climb. Ford, Jack Daniels, and Moet Hennessy are among the large number of companies that filed for trademarks this month.
  • Metaverse platform Sandbox hosted the first metaverse wedding this month (Article). The wedding was held in real life as well as in a collective virtual shared space on Sandbox.
  • South Korea expands its efforts to regulate Metaverse (Article). After investing almost $200 million in the creation of its own metaverse ecosystem, the country’s government is now preparing the Metaverse Industry Promotion Act.

Monthly Metaverse Stats

Metaverse floor price
Metaverse Parcel Sales (Source: Metacat)

About Rising Capital

Rising Capital is a Singapore head-quartered ‘Digital Assets Management’ firm focussed on early stage blockchain investments (Rising Funds) and venture building studio (Rising Studios) in South & South East Asia. Since 2013, the team has built, operated and sold several crypto ventures before setting up ‘Rising’ to capture significant return asymmetries by picking and investing in brilliant founders, while keeping a majority of investments in liquid assets.

Our experience & global network allows us to be at the forefront of changing narratives in crypto such as NFT, Gaming, Metaverse, L1s and L2s, along with advancements in blockchain protocol technologies by conducting thorough research on the “next big things” while managing risk with proper licenses, audits, compliance and security management. Have an interesting idea for partnership or working on a startup?

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