Animoca Brands: Investing millions to orchestrate an open metaverse

The co-founder of $5.9 billion gaming giant Animoca Brands has made the development of a single, connected virtual world where users can interact across platforms the cornerstone of his investment strategy. That’s why Yat Siu is one of CoinDesk’s Most Influential 2022.

Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of blockchain gaming and venture capital giant Animoca Brands, believes that Web3 – a decentralized, creator-driven evolution of the internet currently in development– will be a force for good. In his own words: “We don’t play to beat each other, we play to become better for ourselves and to help one another in the collaborative spirit of Web3, as we share in the network effect that we are building together.”

His ethos around collaboration and empowerment is evident through his company’s large-scale investments in crypto, play-to-earn gaming, non-fungible tokens (NFT) and the metaverse, with a portfolio of over 380 Web3 projects like Axie Infinity, The Sandbox, OpenSea and Dapper Labs. As the behemoth firm has continued to grow over the last year, raising its valuation to $5.9 billion, Siu has served as the front-facing visionary behind strategic movements like acquiring Australian game developer Grease Monkey for an undisclosed amount and buying Australian digital marketing agency BeMedia to grow its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Notably, the Austrian-born, Hong Kong-based investor has made the development of an open metaverse – a single, connected virtual world where users can interact across platforms – the cornerstone of his egalitarian mission. His investment strategy is motivated by the belief that users deserve “true digital ownership” of their virtual assets and data, and that assets should be interoperable and part of an open metaverse framework “that can lead to greater equitability for all participants.”

“Digital property rights represent a society-defining generational shift that impacts everyone online and will set the stage for the emergence of the open metaverse,” he said in July.

The open metaverse is a shared mission, Siu understands, that can’t be realized unless he succeeds in uniting communities of developers, engineers, gamers, artists, entertainers and entrepreneurs. But this is a skill he excels in as the son of an orchestral conductor and an instrumentalist – gathering discordant notes and bringing them together in perfect harmony. Beyond acquisitions and brand deals, the company continues to fund new accelerator programs to build play-to-earn gaming guilds and grow open metaverse initiatives across established and emerging brands.

“We firmly believe that Web3 represents the natural evolution of the Internet, of a future where digital property rights and the resulting economic freedom will empower billions of online users in an interconnected series of open worlds and platforms,” Siu wrote in November.

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