The past few months have not been entirely favorable for the NFT market – while the volume of transactions has not decreased much, the amount of dollars invested in space has been in free fall as the prices of the cryptocurrency made a historic drop. With that in mind, it might not seem like the best time to launch an NFT platform, let alone a platform aimed at kids.
And yet, the launch of the NFT Crypto is raising tens of millions of dollars to start a blockchain-based toy company that can introduce young users to digital property ideas and NFT mechanics. The platform, which will be widely launched in the next couple of months, features cute big-eyed animal characters in hats, sunglasses, and cryptographically secured uniqueness.
Platforms for trading non-fungible tokens have often proven difficult to navigate, even for adult users, so the prospect of onboarding for younger users seems rather intimidating. Cryptoys will sidestep some of these frictions by partnering with Dapper Labs and launching its platform on the startup’s Flow blockchain. Powered by Dapper’s NBA Top Shot, Flow offers a streamlined blockchain experience that allows users to bypass some of the characteristic stumbling blocks of NFT land, including high gas fees, confusing wallet settings, and the inability to transact with payment methods like credit cards.
However, making a blockchain easy enough for kids is a contentious issue at the moment as users registering on the platform must be over 18, although CEO Will Weinraub says parent-controlled wallets are on track to allow younger users to interact more directly with the platform and learn about NFT.
“You have to take a step back from all this web3 maximalism,” says Weinraub. “You have to take small steps to bring millions and millions of people into these new paradigms.”
Cryptoys is getting some help on this journey. The startup tells TechCrunch that it recently completed a $23 million Series A round led by a16z Crypto with a host of other partners including Mattel, Dapper Labs, Draper & Associates, Acrew Capital, CoinFund, Animoca Brands and Sound Ventures. In October, the startup announced a $7.5 million seed round, also led by a16z Crypto.
The funding will give parent company Cryptoys OnChain Studios some capital to realize its vision, which includes a range of NFT-related features, including games where users have the ability to earn NFTs as they play. Weinraub notes that the company also plans to create an experience that does not require users to interact with NFTs, which could prove useful as the startup seeks to attract younger users on platforms like iOS, which is not very friendly to the crypto industry. — although Weinraub thinks that could change.
“Apple is constantly changing the way it thinks about these things,” he says.
One of the biggest questions raised by the NFT platform for kids is why kids would care to have their in-app purchases tied to the blockchain. Weinraub says kids jumping from platform to platform means losing a lot of digital assets, and that he thinks his own kids will be interested in reselling the in-game items they’ve bought and grown tired of to fund new digital purchases. Weinraub believes that the phenomenon of parents spending huge sums on cartoon animal NFTs has left a lot of room for parents to connect their children to investments and what digital ownership means.
For those parents who have been involved in the NFT space over the past few months, it is fair to say that many investments have not turned out as profitable as expected, even though many of the companies involved have received large salaries. Asked if the startup missed the historic NFT razzmatazz launch window, Weinraub counters: “Now is a much better time to launch products, most of the hype has gone out of the market.”
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Credit: techcrunch.com /