Four years post-launch, OpenSea is officially a Unicorn after raising $100 Million in a Series B Round which pushed its valuation to $1.5 Billion. The world’s largest NFT Marketplace now joins 900 other unicorns valued at a cumulative $3 Trillion.
How did this happen?
In March, the New York-based NFT Marketplace tapped Andreessen Horowitz or A16z to lead its first institutional funding round which generated $23 Million. Naval Ravikant, Mark Cuban, Alexis Ohanian, Dylan Field and Linda Xie are the top contributors for this round. Exceeding expectations on the new round, A16z quintupled the funds from the first round with the participation of investors like CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz, actor Ashton Kutcher and NBA Legend Kevin Durant.
With these fresh funds, OpenSea will continue to scale its NFT platform. The immediate focus is on hiring engineering talent and expanding internationally to new markets and audiences. Ultimately, the priority is to improve user experience in order to acquire more users and increase its volume.
CEO Devin Finzer shared why the platform is bullish over NFTs. He said, “The fundraiser is really all around bringing widespread adoption to NFTs. It’s about growing the platform that we’ve built, which has seen significant volume growth over the last first half of the year. We think NFTs are really one of those once every couple of decades paradigm shifts that is just incredibly exciting.”
What’s next for OpenSea After Reaching Unicorn Status?
The NFT platform facilitated over $160 Million NFT Sales last month and is still growing despite challenges. The major paint point of the platform is it’s restricted to Ethereum Blockchain. Gas fees in May hit a high of 300 gwei as market participants enjoyed bullish momentum on NFTs. With the market correction, the transaction fee needed now is just five gwei or $0.15. Apart from the costs, Ethreum was also criticized for its high energy consumption level. In effect, gasless and green proof-of-stake blockchains became an alternative to Ethereum as well as Bitcoin.
In response to the gas fees issues of Ethereum, OpenSea is making moves toward long-term scalability by enabling other blockchains on the platform. First on the list is Polygon, an Ethereum scaling platform that boasts more sustainable energy consumption, eliminating gas fees for artists and NFT Collectors. With this move, Finzer said that OpenSea is “now the first cross-blockchain NFT marketplace.”
Next on the roadmap is to integrate Tezos and Flow Blockchain. Tezos is also energy efficient Proof of Stake blockchain network that can execute peer-to-peer transactions and serve as a platform for deploying smart contracts. One of its notable projects is its technical partnership with Formula 1’s Red Bull Racing Honda and music platform OneOf. Meanwhile, Flow blockchain is the brainchild of OG NFT Collectible, CryptoKitties. In addition, NBA Top Shot with over 1 Million users runs on this blockchain. The network prides itself on being fast, secure and developer-friendly.
High-growth collectible avatar projects like Hashmasks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and Meebits are this year’s runaway winners on OpenSea. The platform sees massive growth potential in these segments because the use case is not just purely financial or purely speculative. Thus, it will continue to march in this direction.