Crypto tech and gaming startup Futureverse has raised $54 million in Series A funding to further its metaverse aims, in a round led by venture capital firm 10T Holdings with XRP Ledger creator Ripple Labs also participating.
Futureverse said in a statement that it will use the funds for research and development, as well as to further its gaming-focused blockchain called The Root Network, which is Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible and offers an XRP Ledger integration. Root Network supports the use of XRP and its NFTs. The company also has plans to develop more blockchain games in the future.
A representative for Futureverse confirmed to Decrypt that other investors participated in the round, but would not disclose their names.
In December, the company announced that it had acquired eight different crypto companies and merged them under the Futureverse brand, with the goal of creating what it calls an “open metaverse.” Those companies included AI technology firm Altered State Machine and Fluf World NFT project creator Non Fungible Labs.
The company told Decrypt via email that it has now rolled 11 companies into Futureverse.
Futureverse has also launched two sports-related games thus far. In April, it released World Cup AI League, a FIFA-licensed mobile soccer game for Android and iOS that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to power the gameplay. While the game doesn’t have any of the soccer world’s famous human faces, it offers colorful, cartoonish characters whose movements are controlled by AI.
A Futureverse spokesperson told Decrypt that the World Cup game has seen over 50,000 downloads on Android thus far. The game went live on iOS last week.
Futureverse also created an AI game with NFTs called Muhammad Ali: The Next Legends, with support from the iconic late boxer’s estate. In the fantasy boxing game, players act as a coach and must make strategic choices for their boxer. According to developers, each boxer NFT needs to be paired with an “AI Brain” NFT that will power their behavior.
“Futureverse has developed an immersive and vertically-integrated metaverse platform that acts as an AI technology provider, metaverse infrastructure builder, layer-1 architect, creative studio, and digital community all in one,” said 10T CEO and Chief Investment Officer Dan Tapiero, in a statement.
Futureverse’s sizable raise comes amid broader skepticism and weakening hype over the concept of the metaverse, or a more immersive future internet. Since social media giant Meta shifted some focus away from its metaverse plans, some analysts and executives alike have argued that the much-hyped metaverse concept is now “dead.”
But Ripple Labs President Monica Long believes in Futureverse’s vision.
“While we’re at the earliest stages of what a project like this—and really the larger concept of the metaverse—can achieve, we at Ripple are thrilled to contribute to the foundational infrastructure layer and provide real utility to the end users of the open metaverse,” Long said in a statement.