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Reddit Co-Founder and Polygon Pledge $200M for Web3 Social Media, Gaming

Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six VC firm has teamed with Polygon to back projects running on the Ethereum-driven scaling platform.

3 min read
Decentralized social media apps are on the rise. Image: Shutterstock

In brief

  • Polygon and Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six VC firm have announced a $200 million investment initiative.
  • It will focus on social media and gaming projects built on Polygon, an Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution.

Social media could ultimately be one of the big, breakthrough use cases for apps built on blockchain networks, but we may still be far away from a decentralized service that can rival Facebook and Twitter at scale. A new investment initiative from Polygon and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian could help speed up that process, however.

Today, Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six VC firm and Polygon—the layer-2 Ethereum scaling solution—together pledged $200 million towards the development of decentralized social media apps on Polygon’s network. Seven Seven Six and Polygon are co-funding the effort 50/50.

According to a post from Polygon, the initiative is designed to encourage development that hearkens back to the “early Web’s open-source ideals.” Today’s social media giants have strayed from that view, the post suggests, adding: “As one Facebook engineer famously quipped, the best minds of our generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”

Interestingly, this is Ohanian’s second Web3 social media-centric move announced since the start of November. Last month, he revealed a $100 million fund in partnership with Solana, a leading blockchain network.

Ultimately, both efforts appear to have similar aims in backing decentralized social media initiatives that push back against the dominance of current platforms. Ohanian said that blockchain-driven gaming will also be a focus for the $200 million Polygon venture.

"We are still in the early days of Web3 and the most obvious opportunities right now are in gaming and social," said Ohanian, in a release. "This initiative will do just that, with a focus on gaming properties and social media platforms built on Polygon's scalable infrastructure.”

Ohanian co-founded Reddit in 2005 and left in 2010, although he returned from 2014 to 2020 as executive chairman before resigning last year. Reddit announced this week that it intends to go public, and the popular online community is also expanding its Ethereum-based crypto rewards initiative while also building an NFT marketplace.

Meanwhile, Ohanian himself is a big crypto advocate. He was a seed investor in crypto exchange Coinbase while at his previous VC firm, Initialized Capital, while Seven Seven Six has invested in Ethereum-based NFT game Axie Infinity, among other industry projects. Axie Infinity is currently the leading crypto game with over $3.7 billion in NFT trading volume to date.

Twitter is working on a decentralized social media protocol of its own called Blue Sky, which founder and recently-departed CEO Jack Dorsey announced in 2019. Facebook, meanwhile, is making a big push towards the coming metaverse, although some crypto builders are wary of the company’s potential position towards an open, interoperable online future.

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