Arianna Simpson of a16z on Yield Guild Games, the firm’s newest bet on crypto + gaming

Arianna Simpson of a16z on Yield Guild Games, the firm’s newest bet on crypto + gaming

Arianna Simpson is one of four general partners at Andreessen Horowitz who are now investing in the venture firm’s third crypto fund, a $2.2 billion vehicle, with the goal of returning that cash and much more to the firm’s limited partners. She has been monitoring more firms that merge crypto and gaming to that purpose. Her team, for example, co-led an investment in Virtually Human Studio, the company behind Zed Run, a digital horse racing service where users can purchase, trade, and breed virtual horses whose value rises as they perform against other virtual horses. (Each token is a non-fungible token, or NFT, which means it is one-of-a-kind.)

Simpson is also fascinated with NFT-based “play-to-earn” schemes, in which players can earn cryptocurrencies that they can subsequently exchange for their local currency if they like. YGG lends money to gamers so they may buy Axis and other digital goods to begin the game and make money.

It appears that they are hoping to make more money than they have to pay YGG for the usage of its assets. However, if you want to learn more, we spoke with Simpson about the convergence of crypto and gaming yesterday. Simpson joined a16z after investing in some of the same businesses as the firm, including Dapper Labs, a blockchain infrastructure company, and Celo, a worldwide payment network. She also revealed which platforms a16z carefully monitors in order to spot up-and-coming crypto companies.

How-Roblox-avoided-the-gaming-graveyard-and-grew-into-a-2.5B-company-1
Arianna Simpson of a16z on Yield Guild Games, the firm’s newest bet on crypto + gaming

AS I believe it was crypto Twitter, which is where a lot of our gaming bets were made. The community there is great and it is frequently one of the first locations where fresh and intriguing ideas are announced.

Zed heralds the start of a new era in crypto gaming, one that is more participatory. CryptoKitties, a collectibles game, was one of the first NFT-based games really catch the attention of individuals outside of the cryptosphere. Zed is a derivative expansion in the sense that you are playing with a digital animal, but the gameplay is far more sophisticated, and the community’s enthusiasm has been fantastic to witness.

People are creating all kinds of complex instructions on how to play the game, read [racing] courses, and do all kinds of various things in the game, and tens of thousands of people [are playing] all over the world.

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