While many of today’s metaverse projects—including Decentraland and The Sandbox—are building on Ethereum, we’re starting to see more movement on rival chains. The Solana-based Portals has quickly gained traction and prominent users since launching last fall, and now the project has raised $5 million to further its metaverse vision.
Today, Portals announced $5 million in seed funding led by Greylock. A number of additional investors participated, including Multicoin Capital, Solana Ventures, Alameda Research, Sino Global Capital, and The Chainsmokers’ Mantis VC firm. Justin Kan, co-founder of streaming video site Twitch and new gaming NFT marketplace Fractal, also invested.
The project plans to use the funds to expand its team as it develops more of its metaverse initiative, including the upcoming launch of its Portals Downtown city center as well as enhanced tools for creators.
Portals first sold its interactive Spaces as NFT assets in November 2021 and launched functionality the following month, letting users interact with the locales. Each Space can be customized with drag-and-drop tools, making it easy to import owned NFTs and design a locale that looks a bit like those of Nintendo’s popular Animal Crossing game series.
Here's a sneak peek at what we've been building in the #metaverse with @_portals_. Who is excited!? pic.twitter.com/9Nnw9dCHtz
— Binance.US 🇺🇸 (@BinanceUS) February 2, 2022
Cryptocurrency exchanges FTX US and Binance.US have both established "metaverse headquarters" in the Portals world, as have crypto projects like blockchain music service Audius, DeFi protocol Raydium, and NFT marketplace Magic Eden. The cheapest available Portals NFT on Magic Eden is listed for 85 SOL, or just over $9,000. Larger spaces within Portals, the "Onyx" and "Vision" levels which are geared towards brands and businesses, currently have price floors of 469 SOL ($50,000) and 2,100 SOL ($220,000), respectively.
The metaverse refers to a more immersive future vision of the internet, in which users interact in shared 3D spaces for work and play alike, and own and use NFT assets. Facebook’s rebranding as Meta has spurred recent hype around the metaverse, but blockchain-based projects have been building in the space for years.
Metaverse game projects like the aforementioned Decentraland and The Sandbox have both seen a big boost following Facebook’s reveal last October, with surging token valuations and increased demand for virtual land plots in their respective worlds. More than $500 million worth of virtual land was sold in 2021, per data from MetaMetric Solutions.
Portals is leading the way on Solana, plus fellow metaverse project Somnium Space added support for Solana late last year. Solana’s own NFT ecosystem has grown significantly over the last six months, with projects like Solana Monkey Business and Degenerate Ape Academy in hot demand and upcoming NFT-driven games like Star Atlas and Aurory generating hype.
According to the creators of Metaplex, Solana’s NFT protocol, the market has yielded more than $1.2 billion in trading volume as of mid-January, with more than 5.7 million Solana NFTs minted up to that point. Metaplex itself raised $46 million last month in a round co-led by Multicoin and Jump Capital, plus participation by retired NBA star Michael Jordan.