Since the start of 2021, the crypto market has seen an unprecedented amount of institutional and venture capital flowing in. All of the major institutions are now allocating a percentage of their client’s portfolios to cryptocurrencies. This comes on the heels of the SEC permitting the first exchange traded fund in the US for Bitcoin, with the Bitcoin ET based on futures.

To give you an understanding of just how large the industry is, you need only look at the size of funding rounds in various crypto and blockchain startups. Perhaps, the most notable of which[ , came in May 2021, when Peter Thiel, Alan Howard and Louis Bacon pumped $10 billion worth of funding into Bullish Global, a crypto exchange. This was then followed with a second funding round of $300 million for the exchange.

So far this year, $17 billion has been injected into this exciting and disruptive area of  technology and the numbers show no signs of slowing. Ledger enjoyed the second most successful funding round so far this year, managing to raise $380 million from backers.

Until recently, investment in crypto firms was led by specialized crypto VC firms. However, now that is changing with greater involvement from large mainstream VCs that are more correlated with consumer and tech.

Let’s look at some of the most successful fundraising rounds across the industry:

Chingari

Just as TikTok was banned in India, leaving a gaping hole in the market, local app Chingari swooped in and claimed the market share, with currently over 50 million active users per month. Chingari was certainly in the right time and place. Creators had built up strong fan bases and were making income, and users were enjoying access to the network.

Chingari, like TikTok, allows creators to make short videos, and gain followers. The difference is that in this case, the platform sits on the blockchain and rewards fans for their engagement. The more the users engage, the more $GARI  tokens they receive. The platform is the fastest growin g social token app globally and it is being rewarded for its ingenuity, with a successful funding round of $19M backed by the likes of Republic Crypto, Alameda Research, Kraken Ventures and Galaxy Digital. Chingari plans to use the capital to further develop its popular platform and to launch its token on the Solana blockchain.

Minima

As its name suggests, Minima is compact, so compact in fact that a blockchain architecture is hosted across a distributed network of smartphones, turning every cell into a node. The protocol is based on a model of Proof of Work and yet requires minimal computing power and energy, which is how it can work across purely mobile phones. This is true decentralization at its finest, and what’s more it promises immutability and extreme scalability. Minima support token transfers and the deployment of smart contracts

“We are excited to announce this oversubscribed Series A fundraise,” said Hugo Feiler, CEO of Minima. “Our Mission is to create a blockchain that no one controls and everybody owns, making it completely decentralized. This  fundraising round will enable us to bring onboard the resources we need to launch Minima’s Mainnet in the middle of 2022.”

The protocol raised $6.5 million for its funding round, which was led by GSR, DEX Ventures, AGE Crypto, SMO Capital and Vinny Lingham. This funding will of course go to development and raising exposure.

Yup

Yup is a social network based on the blockchain that allows users to Curate and share content across the web, in a similar fashion to pinterest. However, with the main difference being that users can earn money for every reaction they get in exchange for  curating content across web2 and web3 platforms like Twitter, Youtube, Opensea, Mirror, and more. The network monetizes the engagement generated by influencers and social media users. The focus here, rather than on the content creator, is on the curator who surfaces and shares good content to his or her user base. Every like or reaction a curator gets is turned into a taste profile and wins YUP tokens and points.

The protocol managed to raise $3.5 million in a round led by Distributed Global, one of the early investors Dapper Labs, Audius and Solana. Yup intends to use the funding to further develop its web3-native social media experience,  as well as to expand the Yup community.

Creaton

Creaton is a decentralized, Polygon-based content sharing network, which works on a subscription basis and allows its users to build income. Creators retain ownership of their content via NFTs, as the content is secured as an NFT contract, which is backed by decentralized storage and encrypted. The team cannot make changes or even see the content without the creator's permission, and it promises permanent storage of all your works, so your content is always available forever. Subscription and minting fees are very low.

The artist platform had a successful funding round, where they managed to raise $1.1 million from investors like BTSE Labs, Tykhe Block Ventures, and other angel investors.

Derived Finance

Derived Finance is a decentralized platform that gives traders access to trade synthetic assets , as well as Stocks, Commodities, Forex or Crypto all from one platform. It promises unlimited liquidity for all of its assets and no slippage time. It deploys Smart Contracts for derivatives trading, therefore bridging TradFi to digital markets. On top of this, users can mint the native currency xUSD, which is pegged against the USD for stability, using leverage, and the protocol enables users to buy baskets of assets in one hybrid token, eg. ETH, BTC, Tesla and Gold. The platform will support a range of chains including Polkadot, Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Cardano, and Avalanche to start, and other chains later.

Derived just completed its first round of funding of $3.3M from over 30 venture funds, led by. GSR, and AU21, Poolz, Nabais Capital, Dweb3, Occamfi, Genblock Capital, and more.

MonkeyBall

MonkeyBall is a high quality, rich arcade football game based on the blockchain, that allows users to earn as they play and watchers are rewarded too. Players take part in games and tournaments, represented by monkeys and they get the native $MBS tokens as rewards for each game they win. The platform also uses elements of metaverse gaming, as users can be rewarded for owning NFT items like football stadiums, and by hosting matches there. MonkeyBall can be played on both desktop and mobile.

The action-packed Solana based game recently completed a very successful funding round of $3, from names including Jump Capital, CMS Holdings, Solana Capital, 6th Man Ventures, and NFX, and many more including a list of angel investors. It is due to launch in December.

Gaia World

Gaia EverWorld, takes blockchain gaming to a whole new level with their fantasy adventure world, which allows players to build their own kingdoms, in an immersive and satisfying experience. Players retain full ownership of their characters and items as authenticated through NFTs, and as they play, explore, conquer and build they are rewarded with tokens, in what is known as a "play to earn" model of gaming. This blockchain model of earning while playing is becoming very popular and engaging players from across the globe.

The platform has raised $3.7 million in capital from some leading crypto investors via a private sale. Investors include Polygon, Au21, Mexc Capital, chainGuards, BSCStation, Defiboost, Aussie Capital, OIG, Brotherhood, Avstar, Shima Capital, Basics Capital, Momentum6, CryptoThugs, Fairum, Panda Capital, Onebit Ventures, GD10 ventures, Exnetwork, and Chronos ventures.

The CEO of Gaia said,

“Gaia Everworld is part of the next-gen of gaming being built on the blockchain. It gives players full ownership of their in-game characters, and rewards them for engaging in ‘play-to-earn’ models of gaming which have become quite popular in the crypto space this year. Gaia Everworld is truly an immersive, multi-region fantasy world in which players can create their own kingdoms, explore different lands, while collecting, breeding and battling other players, referred to as the Gaia Legionnaires.”

Someone from Polygon explained the success behind the play to earn business model:

“Blockchain-powered gaming has really taken the crypto world by storm in 2021. These games are truly unique because they allow players to take on a more significant role in the gaming process. Not only is the gameplay quite interactive and engaging, but players are able to effectively participate in a tokenized, digital economy that allows them to earn sizable returns. We’re firm believers in the play-to-earn business model, which is one of the main reasons why we decided to invest in Gala Everworld. Our team is looking forward to becoming a key contributor to this fast-evolving sector.”

Transient Network

Transient Network is like the Amazon of the blockchain. It is a Smart Contract Global Marketplace that hosts dApps with a focus on non coders as they can be used by people that don’t know how to code. Their goal is that no matter what a user's knowledge of coding, they should not be restricted from using decentralised apps to build and deploy smart contracts. The dApps Transient hosts include an Esports app, an NDA app for clients and partners and a smart contract creation app.

It successfully raised $1.2 million via an Initial DEX Offering (IDO) from two different launchpads – Genesis Pool and Lemonade, $1 million from Genesis Pool and $200,000 via Lemonade. An IDO works by selling native tokens publicly, in this case $TSCT. Before this Transient had a successful funding round of $275,000 from a private VC firm.

Speaking on the fundraising milestone, Transient Network CEO Beau Olson said, “After a long road to get here, we are absolutely thrilled and excited to have completed our private and public raises – with a number of keen investors and launchpads snapping up the opportunity to get in at the very beginning of our journey ahead – we particularly thank our seed investors Exit Forward and launchpad partners GPool and Lemonade. We at Transient can now focus on bringing the world our Smart Contract Global Marketplace, allowing coders and non-coders alike to leverage our smart contracts for anyone, anywhere, anytime.”

The Bottom Line:

With funding for projects and protocols from each quarter more successful than the quarter before, it is clear there is much further to go in this space. Now that non crypto investors have followed their crypto focused venture capital firms, we can expect a lot more money flooding into this industry over the coming years.