Last week was another test of patience for HODLers and serial crypto portfolio checkers, before the market finally ticked back up into the weekend. All the while, serious investors have continued to gush cash into the blockchain industry.

Sure, they have the money to spread their bets on educated punts, but seeing some of the big numbers being thrown around lately ought to give the retail crowd and casual investors some confidence.

So let’s cut to the chase and see what’s been occurring over the past seven days or so in crypto fundie land…


Alexis Ohanian’s VC firm 776 bets on crypto with US$500 million raise

Alexis Ohanian, aka the co-founder of social-media platform Reddit, and aka Serena William’s main squeeze, has plans to focus his venture capital firm 776 Management on crypto this year.

The one-year-old VC firm has raised a whopping US$500 million across two funds and is reportedly planning to push the majority of investments from them into crypto startups.

Ohanian has been making VC and angel-investing moves for several years now and has been increasingly diverting his attention towards crypto. It’s more validation of the crypto industry and its underlying technology from yet another big-name heavy hitter.

He joins the likes of US “internet entrepreneurs” Kevin Rose and Gary Vaynerchuk, who have both completely swallowed the red (not just orange) pill and are practically full-time crypto in one form or another.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal last week, the newly launched “Funds II” include an early stage-focused US$300 million fund, and a US$200 million stash that will invest in Series A and B funding rounds.

Crypto investments currently account for about 40 per cent of the firm’s portfolio, according to the WSJ. They include the popular play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, Bitcoin rewards startup Lolli and crypto tax company CoinTracker.

The new funding brings 776’s total assets under management to $750 million, said Ohanain in a video posted to Twitter, although he was hoping to hit the $776m figure.

“The bottom line here is, we want to produce outsized returns,” said the Reddit founder. “And we believe this is one of the ways to do that.”

Ohanian was a super-early investor in crypto exchange behemoth Coinbase, which went public last year at a valuation of more than US$85 billion. And, much more recently, in December, 776 created a US$200 million initiative with Ethereum scaler Polygon (MATIC) to invest in Web3-based social media projects.


FTX bags another $400m in funding

FTX, one of the world’s leading crypto exchanges, has closed yet another huge funding round, raising US$400 million in a Series C that values Sam Bankman-Fried’s company at an eye-popping US$32 billion.

This comes after its American affiliate, FTX US, also pulled in US$400 million as reported by Stockhead in last week’s edition of this roundup.

This fresh round involved participants including SoftBank, Paradigm, Tiger Global, and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board. These investors also reportedly joined the cap table of FTX.US as part of the deal.


Solana’s Phantom stuffs $109 million into wallet

Phantom, a Solana-based crypto wallet, has raised US$109 million in a Series B funding round that now gives it the coveted “unicorn” status with a US$1.2 billion valuation.

Phantom is to Solana what MetaMask is to Ethereum. In other words, the most widely used wallet for transactions on its blockchain.

The round was led by US crypto VC firm Paradigm with contributions from some other usual suspects, including Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Variant, Solana Ventures, and Jump Capital.

In a blog post published last week, Phantom revealed the funds will be used to improve the wallet’s technical capabilities, including user experience and security on multiple blockchains.


Pixel Vault, Gamestop, IMX, Dune Analytics, Snoop Dogg and more

Pixel Vault, a huge collection of NFT superheroes, has raised US$100 million for the development of its NFT platform.

The company is behind the PUNKS Comic and Metahero Universe projects and the funding is being led by VCs Velvet Seas Ventures and 01 Advisors. The mega-lofty aim is to kickstart an NFT-based, decentralised, Marvel-like empire and multimedia entertainment company known as Pixel Vault Inc.

• GameStop (NYSE:GME), the noted US “meme stock”, has teamed up with Sydney-based Ethereum scaling-solution company Immutable to launch an NFT marketplace, as well as a US$100 million fund focused on grants for NFT creators and game developers. Read more about it on Stockhead here.

Side note… if you noticed the Immutable X token (IMX) was on quite a rollercoaster last week  – dramatically up, then sharply back down – the reason is a little bit more than the usual “sell the news” event.

After receiving the funding in IMX from Immutable, GameStop very quickly dumped about US$15 million dollars’ worth of the tokens. Jeez, couldn’t have waited till the paint was dry?

• Dune Analytics, a blockchain analytics firm, has raised a meme-tastic US$69,420,000 in a Series B round led by Coatue – a tech-focused global investment manager. According to a blog post from the analytics company, the funding will be partly used to hire and train a new generation of “Dune Wizards” – aka blockchain data analysts.

Why’s it being called a “meme round”? It’s to do with the numbers 69… and 420 (you can look ’em up). Yep… that’s crypto.

• Tribal Credit, a San Francisco-based, crypto-focused financing and payments platform has raised US$60 million in an “oversubscribed” Series B funding round, according to reports.

The round has was led by the SoftBank Latin America Fund with participation from Coinbase Ventures, BECO Capital, QED Investors and Rising Tide, and the funding will reportedly be used to expand operations in the Latin America region.

• Unblocked, a Californian company that builds NFT applications for the music and entertainment industry, has raised $10 million in funding from VC investors including Tiger Global Management, Penske Media Corp, Electric Feel Entertainment, Primary Wave Music, Dapper Labs and more. A group of angel investors also participated, including Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes.

• RareCircles, an NFT platform startup, has raised US$7.5 million in seed funding in a round led by investment firm Tiger Global. The round also featured participation from White Star Capital, Hashed, Alpaca, Crew Capital, Global Founders Capital, Alumni Ventures, and Detroit Venture Partners, as well as a group of US angels led by Packy McCormick, Joe McCann, Austin Rief and Mike Dudas.

NFT3, a Web3-based “virtual identity” network, has raised US$7.5 million in funding from investors including Animoca Brands, LD Capital, Prometeus Labs, DFG, LVT Capital, Shima Capital, Ankr and more.

• Galaxy Fight Club, which describes itself as “the first cross-IP player-vs-player game for the NFT metaverse”, has raised US$7 million in funding from… Animoca Brands (surprise, surprise!), Sequoia Capital, The Chernin Group, SkyVision Capital, YGG SEA, Spartan Group, Sfermion, Astronaut Capital, Bondly, Avocado Guild, Huobi Capital, KuCoin Labs and a host of others.

Oh… and “Cozomo de’ Medici”… which is the Crypto Twitter persona of NFT-digging rapper Snoop Dogg.

• Nestcoin, a Web3 application incubator focused on “frontier markets” such as Africa, has raised $6.45 million in pre-seed funding. Investors include Alameda Research, Distributed Global, Alter Global, Serena Ventures, A&T Capital, MSA Capital, 4DX Ventures, Raba Capital, Future Africa and at least a dozen others.

• Kyoko, a cross-chain GameFi lending market that focuses on leasing NFTs to guilds and players, has raised $US3 million in funding. Investors include Animoca Brands, Infinity Ventures Crypto, Red Building Capital, Morningstar Ventures, Momentum 6, Axia8 Ventures and NGC Ventures, among others.

• Yield Guild Games (YGG), the biggest and most prominent crypto gaming guild, has raised US$1.45 million for Philippines typhoon relief.

The funding is supporting those affected by December 16’s typhoon Odette in the Southeast Asian country, with nearly US$1 million already passed to people in need and being spent on medicines, food and power generators, according to Cointelegraph.

The Philippines reportedly represents the largest portion of the YGG community, which has a strong focus on the wildly popular, pioneering play-to-earn game Axie infinity (AXS).