Pixel Vault provides $100 million in funding to chase an NFT media empire – TechCrunch

The world of NFTs is bizarre, confusing and exhilarating. Detractors see a space full of capital-obsessed peddlers who want to stifle all the enduring value of popular culture, while boosters see a new technological revolution that can transform how online media value is actually created and captured. .

Last year, institutional investors seemed to become obsessed with NFT opportunities – a few of them being seriously considered before 2021 – spending billions of dollars in equity investments in startups such as Dapper Labs, OpenSea and Sky Mavis. .

Investors’ latest NFT bet is on a startup called Pixel Vault – a massive collection of NFT superheroes that aims to become a decentralized Marvel-esque empire. Startup NFT told TechCrunch it closed a whopping $100 million in funding from Adam Bain and Dick Costolo’s 01 Advisors and Velvet Sea Ventures.

Pixel Vault has been at the forefront of experimentation in how NFT projects become something larger than thousands of JPGs.

“Pixel Vault projects are built with key Web3 principles at the center – community empowerment, decentralized governance, and true digital ownership,” said Pixel Vault CEO Sean Gearin (better known in crypto circles as GFunk) in a statement. “We don’t see the fan as the customer. Our fans are the owner and builder.

The company’s first launch in May — before it was actually a business — featured a drop of thousands of comics, real and digital, featuring characters from around the CryptoPunks world. Users had the option to trade the NFT comic for a short period of time for a spot in the DAO of the founder of Pixel Vault, a crypto collective that gave them ownership of a sizable collection of NFT artwork that included a number of CryptoPunks NFTs worth millions at current prices who were the main characters in the Pixel Vault comic.

The supplier for most of these punks was a pseudonymous crypto investor @beaniemaxi, who originally funded the project, provided a multimillion-dollar collection of punks, and spoke loudly about the potential of the project. It is to be under fire in recent weeks for pushing projects to his followers while being less than transparent about the scope of his personal involvement – ​​the minor crypto scandal led him to divest himself of the Pixel Vault project to avoid further backlash for the startup.

Since the initial release of Punks Comic, the Pixel Vault team has been digging into the aesthetics of comics, bringing in some of the veteran artists behind the comics to create a great collection of superhero NFTs that fans can enjoy. he team hopes to transform into a wider media universe. The team seeks to strike a balance between maintaining intellectual property rights and encouraging the community to use and promote “MetaHero” art, by maintaining intellectual property rights to 146 of the “Core” character NFTs. ” while allowing wide reuse of thousands of generative characters.

“[They] have a mandate to build a decentralized Disney, which in my mind means co-creation and co-ownership with avid fans in order to put you to the test, who don’t participate in the economy but participate in the appreciation of their characters that are in this world,” Michael Lazerow of Velvet Sea Ventures told TechCrunch.

MetaHero Universe: Core Identities Collection (screenshot)

Pixel Vault already has an agency deal with WME to develop partnerships in Hollywood and beyond.

The bottom price for one of MetaHero’s thousands of generative identities sits at just over $18,000 ETH at current prices, while the cheapest of the 146 main characters is just under $300,000.

Building a decentralized Marvel is certainly more than a matter of money; That said, Pixel Vault has an awful lot of money in its community. The project has seen nearly 100,000 ETH in lifetime trading volume, or more than a quarter of a billion dollars at current prices.