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Venture Round Led by a16z Makes OpenSea Latest NFT Unicorn

The NFT marketplace OpenSea has reached a $1.5B valuation after a $100M Series B funding round led by a16z.

This makes OpenSea the newest NFT-based unicorn, or a privately held startup company valued over $1B. A16z also led OpenSea’s $23M Series A round in March. This year, the venture giant also invested in Dapper Labs, an NFT platform that’s reportedly worth a whopping $7.5B, according to The Information.

During the NFT boom in 2021, OpenSea solidified itself as the industry’s default secondary market — essentially the Ebay of NFTs. While most of the best-selling NFT projects, like Bored Apes and Meebits, are initially minted and sold on different platforms, OpenSea ends up taking a 2.5% commission on most of the resales of these artworks. 

A Quadruple Digit Increase

In December 2020, OpenSea saw $8M in NFT sales. In June, even as the overall crypto market stumbled, OpenSea saw over $160M in NFT sales — a 1900% percent increase over six months.

“​​It’s a sign of things to come!” said Elliot Safra, the founder of AndArt Agency, a creative art agency, and also formerly worked at Christie’s. “The valuation is a clear reflection of the future potential of NFTs as they start to be adopted by the mainstream, in particular as VR/AR starts being used in day-to-day society. This is where NFTs will make their mark and rocket to heights that justify the $1.5B valuation.”

Ready to Scale

With this new round of funding, OpenSea has officially announced that they will now offer cross-blockchain support, starting with a gas-free marketplace on Polygon. 

For many NFT platforms like Foundation or SuperRare, which rely on exclusive drops or limited releases from big-name creatives, scaling with major VC firms risks damaging their niche, tight-knit communities. But OpenSea doesn’t have the same small community and is instead, just a massive, open NFT marketplace. In this way, it’s positioned to scale greatly with the help of major VCs like a16z, Kevin Durant and Ashton Kutcher.

Corrects that OpenSea was the latest, and not the first, NFT unicorn.