Metaverse trend is clear, what is the potential of Rangers Protocol, which just received investment from a Tier 1 fund?
Written by Spike Chen
Rangers Protocol, incubated by global blockchain game distribution platform MixMarvel, recently announced an institutional funding round valued at $63 million. This follows the $1.2 million seed round raised by Rangers Protocol’s predecessor Rocket Protocol. Funding was raised by Pantera, Framework Ventures, Alameda Research, Hashkey Capital, SevenX Ventures, SNZ, Spark Digital Capital, Incuba Alpha Holdings The company’s seed funding round was raised by dozens of institutions including Pantera, Framework Ventures, Alameda Research, Hashkey Capital, SevenX Ventures, SNZ, Spark Digital Capital, Incuba Alpha Holdings, Consensus Lab, Puzzle Ventures, Kernel Ventures, Morningstar Ventures, Origin Capital, Yuanyuzhou Ventures, AU21Capital, and the former co-founders. In addition, Polkastarter, as a strategic partner, has also cooperated deeply with Rangers Protocol.
It is reported that the financing funds will be used for the development and technical upgrade of the current version of Rangers Protocol, which is scheduled to go live on the beta site at the end of this quarter.
Why do the above-mentioned funds, which have invested in famous projects such as Ether, Ripple, Filecoin, Polkadot, Cosmos, Chainlink, CoinBase, Near Protocol, Starkware, Aave, etc., prefer Rangers Protocol? What is the investment logic of these top tier institutions?
Standing at the Crossroads of NFT+Metaverse
The NFT epidemic that erupted last year and is still spreading around the world has not only caused the world to overspend on money, but also accelerated the transformation of global work and lifestyle to remote virtualization. NFT (Non-Fungible Token) and Metaverse (Metaverse) are the hottest hotspots in 2021 across blockchain, internet, digital entertainment and other industries, with NFT achieving $1.1 billion in transaction volume in the first quarter of this year alone, the same as last year’s annual transaction volume. NFT block token market capitalization reached $13.3 billion (Coingecko May 24 data); according to a recent study by ARK Investment Fund, metaverse revenues will grow at a 17% compound annual growth rate from approximately $180 billion today to $390 billion by 2025.
Investors found that Rangers Protocol is not a product of this year’s hot trend of chasing NFT and metaverse, but rather MixMarvel stood at the crossroads in advance when it entered the blockchain game industry in 2017 and committed to build a global blockchain game distribution platform, embracing the trend and promoting the early arrival of the future by incubating and building Rangers Protocol, a blockchain infrastructure facing the virtual world, through a series of development and exploration in the technical product market.
MixMarvel hopes to create the oasis in the movie “Top Gun”. Back in 2017, we envisioned what the future of virtual worlds would look like,” said Jade Zhang, founder of MixMarvel. We summed up four characteristics: first, it must be an open and monopoly-free world, so we came up with the concept of Marvel universe, and it is a Mix (fusion) universe; second, it is a world that users can create themselves; third, the digital assets in this virtual world can be interoperable; fourth, the virtual world must be built by the community, which is our vision of the meta-universe. The “metaverse
Infrastructure, standard protocols, economic systems and organizational forms are the four basic elements for the successful development and operation of the metaverse, and investors believe MixMarvel’s perception is very clear – although in the near future, users will enter the experience metaverse through increasingly advanced VR devices, with increasingly rich AI tools to create interactions, the true nature of the metaverse is a digital world embedded with free markets and digital property rights. Blockchain technology, with its technical characteristics of data traceability, tampering and trust-free verification, provides an indispensable trust foundation for the operation of the metaverse that brings together and circulates massive user data, while NFT provides users with a unified digital identity and digital ownership by supporting the characteristics of frictionless creation of transactions for digital assets. can never be discussed.
Tackling infrastructure and standard protocols to lay the foundation for the metaverse
From perception to action, Rangers Protocol, incubated by MixMarvel, chose to “gnaw” on the “hard bones” of infrastructure and standard protocols to lay the foundation of metaverse, in order to solve the problems of lack of performance, high development cost and poor user experience encountered by developers when building blockchain applications of high complexity outside of finance.
This problem was encountered by Dapper Labs in 2017 – when they developed the breakout NFT chain game CryptoKitties, which caused the first network clog and Gas spike in ethereum – and today it is also plaguing the bull market with the mushrooming of NFT platforms and projects are proliferating in the bull market. According to the DappRadar ranking, 17 of the top 20 NFT projects in terms of sales are on top of Ether, and NFT application developers and users have to endure Ether’s increasingly congested network and increasingly high miner fees, thus hindering the further growth of NFT, according to the NonFungible.com database According to the NonFungible.com database, the number of NFT sales, the amount of sales and active wallet addresses have been on a downward trend in the past three months.
Currently, there are three main types of solutions for NFT and metaverse infrastructure in the market: first, public chains outside of ethereum, such as Flow developed by Dapper Labs and Near, which focuses on high-performance sharding technology; second, sidechains, such as Polygon (formerly known as Matic Network), MakerDAO (formerly known as Matic Network), xDai by MakerDAO, and Ronin by Axie Infinity, a blockchain metaverse game; third, Layer 2 solutions for Ethernet scaling, such as Gods Unchained, a blockchain e-sports game, and Immutable X by StarkWare.
Rangers Protocol, which has been developed for 3 years and iterated and upgraded to the current version in practical application, did not choose the second and third routes, because Rocket Protocol version 1.0 launched in 2018 was the Layer 2 scaling solution based on Ether, to solve the pain points found in the development of the then operating battleable chain game “Cloud Dragon”. In 2019, Rocket Protocol, upgraded to version 1.5, added the efficient VRF+BLS consensus mechanism, the proposal and verification node’s block-out verification governance mechanism, multi-chain identity and DID (decentralized identity) architecture and bridging and cross-chain technologies and functions, so it no longer depends on the Ethernet platform and embarked on the It has embarked on an independent development path.
Rangers Protocol, scheduled to go live on the mainline in the third quarter of this year, is a high-performance chain cluster fully compatible with the Ethernet Virtual Machine (EVM) for interoperable multi-chain contracts, a blockchain infrastructure that combines and extends cross-chain protocols, NFT protocols and EVM protocols, and specializes in supporting NFT and complex decentralized applications. It serves all entrepreneurs who want to explore the blockchain world and gives pioneering developers the freedom to experiment with more diverse content and applications in the Rangers Protocol ecosystem without licensing. It gives developers the freedom to create complex decentralized applications for a variety of scenarios.
Rangers Protocol is compatible with all Dapps and assets under the Ethernet EVM system, enabling cross-chain interoperability at the contract level. For example, users can directly open applications on Ether through the NFT multi-chain wallet developed by Rangers Protocol and seamlessly transfer them to any public chain. Currently, Rangers Protocol already supports cross-chain operations on many major public chains, including Ether, BSC, and Wavefield,” said Jade Zhang. Jade Zhang said, “Moreover, Rangers Protocol has also been enhanced for NFT protocol, which can provide developers with very useful functions such as one-click cross-chain, one-click shuttle, one-click merge, one-click batch casting of NFT. All these features are based on our experience in chain tour development for so many years. As developers, we deeply appreciate how difficult it is to develop applications based on blockchain, and the only way to attract traditional developers is to encapsulate these bare threads.
Compared to Polygon, which currently has a market cap of $9.2 billion, Near, which has a market cap of $1.1 billion, and Flow, which has a market cap of $500 million, Framework Ventures sees Rangers Protocol, which has a valuation of nearly $100 million, as a promising and technically strong project target for track selection.
Roy Learner, head of investments at Framework Ventures, believes that NFT and metaverse applications are complex high-level applications close to users and require an underlying protocol outside of ethereum that can support complex applications. It is convenient for games to make blockchain transformation and expand the market of chain tour. In addition, since games are already the most complex applications, Rangers Protocol is also compatible with other types of application developers.
Hashkey, an investment firm, said that in the NFT world, Ethernet, BSC and Flow carry most of the assets and traffic, but cross-chain asset support for multiple chains and underlying support for complex applications have been big problems that need to be solved. It solves the pain points of NFT cross-chain and contract-level interoperability, and optimizes consensus and real-time for gaming applications to achieve Internet-level interaction experience, which helps blockchain technology reach the public.
A free port connecting blockchain islands and application continents, built by game industry veterans
Regarding empowering developers, promoting the popularity of blockchain technology, and helping users create better collaboration and revenue in the digital world, Rangers Protocol would like to describe itself as the closest planet to the mass users that can interconnect with various blockchain planets –
In the blockchain universe, Ether is the big planet, Polka is the cluster, and Rangers Protocol is a planet with Connector and Engine. Rangers Protocol is directly connected to planets like Ether and Polka through each connector to the entry points in the universe, where all data, assets and other information can flow freely; the planet is also built with an infrastructure suitable for large applications –Engine, developers can develop applications directly within the Rangers Protocol ecosystem according to their needs. In addition, Rangers Protocol also provides parallel Engines for developers from other ecosystems, so that developers from other planets can access Rangers Protocol to build their own applications without permission, and realize the circulation of assets in different ecosystems through connectors, which not only improves the mobility of assets, but also brings inter-planet (inter-ecology) communication. MixMarvel has a special role on the Rangers Protocol planet, as the first entertainment center closest to the masses in the ecosystem, which will attract a large number of general users to the blockchain universe.
This positioning and development path of Rangers Protocol is favored by investors. One of the seed round leaders, SevenX Ventures, had this to say: “Just as the Suez Canal transported crude oil from the Middle East and commodities from Europe around the world and supported the modern industrial base of humanity, Rangers Protocol will be the Suez Canal that connects the blockchain continents of the future. Blockchain is moving toward mass adoption. Starting with gaming and NFT, Rangers Protocol will be epic on the blockchain as it continues to build on the underlying asset protocols, cross-chain interoperability, and virtual machines, ultimately establishing the standard for interconnectivity in the blockchain world.
The team that developed the popular game “Crypto Cat”, which brought NFT into the mainstream for the first time in 2017, set up Dapper Labs after experiencing the limitations of the slow throughput and expensive Gas fees of the Ethernet platform. After raising funds from top institutions such as a16z and USV, they developed the Flow public chain focusing on NFT and games, and finally released it together with the Flow chain-based NFT app NBA Top Shot last August. To date, NBA Top Shot has consistently ranked first among all NFT projects in terms of transaction volume and number of users; in the second quarter of this year, NBA Top Shot accounted for 62% of the overall secondary market sales of NFT, and Flow NFT, which is solely led by NBA Top Shot, had total sales of $473 million, which is far from Dapper Labs has raised $18 million in funding and its latest valuation reached $7.5 billion; in addition to NBA Top Shot, Flow public chain-based eco-projects include UFC collectible card project, NFT trading platform VIV3, browser In addition to NBA Top Shot, Flow public chain-based ecosystem projects include UFC collectible card project, NFT trading platform VIV3, browser Flowscan, collection game Dr. Senuss, etc.
Similar to Dapper Labs, which developed the Flow public chain based on the pain point of “crypto cat” development, MixMarvel also found the problems and needs in developing a more competitive chain game and started to incubate Rangers Protocol, which has been iterated and upgraded. The founding members of MixMarvel, led by Jade Zhang, are all game veterans from Ubisoft, Tencent and other domestic and international game majors, who have participated in the development of many national games and have more experience in game application development and operation. In 2018, the total number of users and daily activity of the ethereum version of “Cloud Dragon” once surpassed “Crypto Cat” to become the top 1 chain game, and the image of dragon in the game was also listed by CoinDesk together with V God and Crypto Cat. The image of dragon in the game was also listed by CoinDesk as one of the top 10 blockchain characters in 2018. Compared to Dapper Labs, which specializes in developing collection-based chain games, MixMarvel and its incubated Rangers Protocol are better at creating more complex battle-competition-based chain games, so Rangers Protocol is building a blockchain infrastructure that better supports the NFT ecosystem.
Through this seed round and institutional funding, Rangers Protocol expects to obtain resources from these top-tier investment institutions in addition to technical development, to increase its visibility in the global market, expand its user base, and bring in more quality resources covering developers, top IPs and major communities, so as to lay a solid foundation for the subsequent economic system launch and ecological development.
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