OpenSea has become the latest crypto unicorn after it announced a $100 million Series B funding round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz at a valuation of $1.5 billion.
The unicorn status is attributed to firms that are valued at over $1 billion, and OpenSea now joins a long list of crypto unicorns such as Coinbase, Animoca Brands and Chainalysis to name a few.
We’re expanding! Announcing our $100M raise and $1.5B valuation, led by @a16z
OpenSea is also now cross-blockchain. NFTs that you create can now be gas-free, allowing creators to fully earn their way into crypto for the first time
Details ↯ https://t.co/EeQfyZTxUA 1/2
— OpenSea (@opensea) July 20, 2021
The fundraise included participation from hedge fund and private equity firm Coatue, along with backing from figures such as former Walt Disney president Michael Ovitz, actor Ashton Kutcher and NBA star Kevin Durant.
In a July 20 blog post, alongside the $100M funding round OpenSea also officially announced expanded-blockchain support, starting with a “gas-free” marketplace on Polygon, a layer 2 Ethereum scaling solution.
“Buyers no longer have to pay blockchain fees when making trades on OpenSea, and creators can fully earn their way into crypto for the first time,” the firm revealed.
According to TechCrunch, OpenSea also is planning to expand support to Dapper Lab’s Flow blockchain along with Tezos in the future.
The latest funding round shows significant growth for one of the top NFT marketplaces in the industry and follows on from its $23 million Series A funding round in March, which was also led by Andreessen Horowitz.
OpenSea specifically didn’t confirm what the funds would go toward, but a Forbes report stated the funds will be used to grow the team, building further cross-chain support, and improving user experience. Kathryn Haun, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz will also be joining OpenSea’s board of directors.
OpenSea also teased that it has ambitions to launch other projects to accompany its NFT marketplace in the future:
“Our broader mission is to help create the systems and standards that enable the conversion of all types of digital wealth into forms that are truly ownable and freely exchangeable.”
Despite a general cool down of hype towards the NFT over the past few months, Cointelegraph reported on July 7 that NFT sales in the first half of 2021 topped $2.5 billion.
According to data from DappRader, the OpenSea marketplace has seen $181.92 million worth of volume from 553,000 transactions over the past 30 days.