After finishing up Y Combinator’s Winter batch, we’re excited to announce that we’ve raised a $2 million seed round. We’re bringing on an incredible group of investors, including Founders Fund, 1confirmation, Foundation Capital, Blockchain Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Chernin Group, Stable Fund, Blockstack, and a number of angels from the founding teams of StubHub, Eventbrite, YouTube, Gametime, Quantstamp, and Figma.
The Story So Far
Back in November, the world witnessed the birth of CryptoKitties. For the first time, a mainstream audience was using a decentralized application (dApp), breeding and trading adorable collectible cats that lived on the Ethereum blockchain.
While CryptoKitties felt like a toy to many, it represented a dramatic shift in how we interact with items in the digital world. While previous digital items lived on company servers, blockchain-native items lived on shared, public blockchains owned by no single party. They could be viewed anywhere, exchanged openly, and truly owned in a way that was never before possible in the digital world.
Fascinated by the movement that we saw forming, we joined early adopter communities in Discord and started talking to users. Immediately, we noticed the classic problem of exchanging a digital collectible between two untrusted parties. So we built a marketplace. When we first launched the OpenSea beta back in December, we were excited to bring to the world the first open marketplace for any non-fungible asset on the Ethereum blockchain. Over just the first two months, we had over half a million dollars in Ether pass through our smart contract.
Today, we’re proud to remain the largest general marketplace for user-owned digital items, with the broadest set of categories (20 and growing), the most items (over 700,000), and the best prices for new emerging asset classes. We’re doing this through a community of passionate users and developers. Excitingly, our most enthusiastic users aren’t Silicon Valley elites or crypto-millionaires. They’re real people who believe in real digital ownership and love what the Ethereum blockchain enables. (Join our Discord channel to meet some of them.)
In a world of true digital ownership, digital items have some incredible new properties:
- Scarcity: supply and rarity are enforced by an immutable, decentralized ledger, not by a central party that can create new items at will.
- Immutability: these items live far beyond individual user experiences. While the website for CryptoCelebrities (an early collectible) may be down, the celebrities live forever, and can still be traded on OpenSea.
- Interoperability: users can send their items to whoever, exchange them wherever, play with them wherever, and view them wherever. Our own OpenSea studio project Ethmoji (currently in beta) lets users build unique compositions viewable the Ethmoji website. But Ethmoji can be used as avatars on any dapp, wallet, or incorporated into new games.
- Liquidity: globally transferrable by nature, they can be exchanged outside of closed ecosystems. An instant open API for exchange implies dramatically increased liquidity.
OpenSea is a native marketplace for this exciting new world of items. On OpenSea, users from opposite corners of the world can buy or sell any asset on the blockchain without needing to trust each other, or any third party. We started with games and collectibles, but we’re quickly expanding to other asset classes. We already support software licenses, digital art, and we’re even working with custodians of physical assets.
A world of true digital ownership will be one full of freedom, creativity, and vibrant new experiences. Entire economies will emerge that look very different than even our wildest imaginations — and we want to help enable them. Things are just starting to get exciting…
If you’re interested in staying involved, sign up for our newsletter and join us on Discord. We’re also hiring strong engineers, so if you share our excitement please send us a note at [email protected]
Special thanks to Cyrus Lohrasbpour and Brad Flora, two of our early investors. Also a special thank you to YC and our YC partners, Aaron Harris and Holly Liu.