Immutable, the firm behind the Immutable X layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum, announced the launch of a $500 million fund to boost developer adoption of the platform. The Immutable Ventures fund will invest in and provide grants to projects that build on Immutable X using a mix of IMX tokens and cash in partnership with an array of VC funds and ecosystem allies.
Immutable revealed the $500 million endeavor today, which includes assets from firms including Animoca Brands, BITKRAFT Ventures, GameStop, Arrington Capital, King River Capital, AirTree, and Double Peak.
"Immutable Ventures will target NFT projects that are committed to our growing digital ecosystem with the understanding that we have just begun to scratch the surface of the massive potential for this category," said co-founder and President Robbie Ferguson in a release.
Immutable X is a scaling solution that enables faster, cheaper, and more energy-efficient transactions than Ethereum’s own mainnet can handle. The platform conducts transactions on a separate chain, and then uses StarkWare’s StarkEx rollup technology to bundle the transactions and commit them to the Ethereum blockchain.
That makes Immutable X well suited to applications that require a large number of transactions, including potential low-value purchases—such as crypto-powered games and NFT projects.
An NFT is a blockchain token that works like a proof of ownership, and is often used for digital goods like artwork, collectibles, and video game items. Potential video game use cases for NFTs include player avatars, virtual land plots, rare weapons, and apparel.
GameStop is one of the most prominent firms building on Immutable X, as its upcoming NFT gaming marketplace will use the platform. In February, Immutable and GameStop announced a $100 million token grant fund for crypto game developers.
An Immutable representative confirmed to Decrypt that the previous $100 million fund with GameStop is separate from the newly-announced Immutable Ventures fund.
Immutable X is also being used by partners like social video platform TikTok, NFT collectibles platform VeVe, entrepreneur and NFT creator Gary Vaynerchuk, and esports giant ESL. Leading NFT marketplace OpenSea also announced plans in March 2021 to integrate Immutable X, although it has yet to do so.
NFT-powered games like Gods Unchained, Guild of Guardians , Illuvium, and Ember Sword are also built on the scaling solution. Immutable and its partners plan to provide development and tokenomics advice, plus community and marketing support, alongside funding.
“We’re taking the lessons learned from building two of the blockchain’s biggest games—Gods Unchained and Guild of Guardians—and hiring the smartest people from Web2 studios like Riot Games, to make entering the NFT gaming world simple and rewarding for gaming studios,” Ferguson said.
Just recently, role-playing game (RPG) Illuvium sold $72 million worth of virtual land plot NFTs on Immutable X. Last summer, players pledged $203 million worth of cryptocurrency to purchase land plots in upcoming RPG Ember Sword, which is also building on Immutable X.
According to the Immutable Ventures website, the fund is expected to deploy investments and grants over a four-year period, with an average expected investment of $100,000 to $500,000 in tokens and cash. The fund has already made some investments, including into StarkWare, game development platform Stardust, and NFT game PlanetQuest.
Immutable Ventures plans to use “around 500 million” IMX tokens over the course of the campaign. Currently, IMX is valued at about $0.76, and has lost significant value amid the wider crypto market crash. It’s down 19% over the last 30 days, and now 92% off the peak price of $9.52 set last November.
In March, Immutable raised a $200 million Series C round that valued the Australian firm at $2.5 billion, adding it to a long list of crypto “unicorns” with a valuation of at least $1 billion. Animoca Brands and Chinese gaming giant Tencent were among the investors.