Hong Kong crypto game unicorn Animoca Brands pours US$30 million into crypto exchange start-up Hi amid Web3 winter

July 31, 2023

By Sharan Kaur Phillora

In an audacious move, Hong Kong-based blockchain game developer Animoca Brands is investing $30 million into crypto exchange startup Hi, amidst tightening global regulations and economic uncertainty in the cryptocurrency sector. The investment heralds a strategic partnership between the two companies, even as global funding for such ventures dwindles.

Here’s what we know:

Founded in 2021, Hi combines crypto exchange with mobile banking services. The app, which allows users to trade cryptocurrencies and offers a Mastercard debit card for cryptocurrency payments, has quickly amassed 3.5 million users worldwide.

A recent product rollout saw the introduction of a dedicated trading platform for the Hong Kong market, coinciding with stringent retail-focused crypto exchange regulations in the region.

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has mandated crypto exchanges to acquire a license for operating in the city, a measure introduced last month. 

Hi has completed pre-registration steps under SFC guidance to secure its trading license. The start-up now boasts over 3.5 million users globally, with one million having completed ‘know-your-customer’ checks.

The collaboration between Hi and Animoca will enable Hi users to transact using Animoca’s tokens like The Sandbox (SAND), Axie Infinity (AXS), and Ploygon (MATIC).

The decision by Animoca to invest in Hi is considered a daring maneuver in light of the mounting investor caution and stricter US crypto regulations. Global interest rates are at their highest in over twenty years, and crypto-related venture investment deals saw a 78% plunge in value year on year to $2.6 billion in Q1, as per Pitchbook Data.

Even as Animoca’s valuation has fluctuated over the year, this bold move showcases the company’s commitment to the crypto industry. Animoca, which oversees more than 450 startups, held $194 million in cash and stablecoins and $2.7 billion in tokens from its Web3 subsidiaries, demonstrating its financial stability amidst market volatility.

About the author

Sharan Kaur Phillora’s thirst for knowledge has led her to study many different subjects, including NFTs and Blockchain technology – two emerging technologies that will change how we interact with each other in the future. When she isn’t exploring a new idea or concept, she enjoys reading literary masterpieces.

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