Is Jack Ma’s Blue Pool Capital betting on NFTs again? A quick look at the 25 projects that received top-tier crypto VC investments in May.

Observing the latest investments in encrypted VC can help you see market trends and discover new trends early. Which projects do VCs like recently? This article will sort out 25 projects that received top cryptocurrency VC investments in May to help readers understand quickly.

I. DeFi

1. Cetus

  • May 2, 2023

  • Seed round: undisclosed amount

  • Lead investor: OKX Ventures, KuCoin Ventures

  • Investors: Comma3 Ventures, NGC Ventures, Animoca Ventures, IDG Capital, Leland Ventures, AC Capital, Adaverse, Coin98 Ventures, etc.

Cetus is a DEX based on Sui and Aptos (Move series L1) that can provide liquidity within a specific range and achieve higher capital efficiency.

2. Fedi

  • May 3, 2023

  • Series A: $17 million

  • Lead investor: Ego Death Capital

  • Investors: TBD (Block’s subsidiary focused on Bitcoin Lightning Network), Kingsway, Trammell Venture Blockingrtners, Timechain

Fedi is a platform that uses Bitcoin and Lightning Network (to reduce single-point-of-failure risk) to help the community collaborate to manage assets and data. Fedi has developed a wallet and plans to add chat, web browsing, and dApps in the future.

3. Opentrade

  • May 4, 2023

  • $1.5 million

  • Investors: Circle Ventures, Kronos Research, Kyber Ventures, Polygon Ventures, Outlier Ventures

Opentrade is an RWA protocol that allows Web3 institutions to make extensive investments on the protocol by depositing stablecoins, including US Treasury bonds and commercial bills.

4. Dolomite

  • May 13, 2023

  • $2.5 million

  • Lead investors: Draper Goren Holm, NGC

  • Investors: Coinbase Ventures, WWVentures, 6th Man Ventures, etc.

Dolomite is an Arbitrum-based DEX that provides functions such as lending, margin trading, spot trading, etc.

5. Hourglass

  • May 17, 2023

  • Seed round: $4.2 million

  • Lead investor: Electric Capital

  • Investors: Circle Ventures, Tribe Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Hack VC

Hourglass is a DeFi protocol that introduces a new concept called “Time-Bound Tokens” to help other DeFi protocols (DEX, lending, LSDFi) guide liquidity.

In the DeFi world, liquidity is very important. However, there are many unpredictable factors, including the fact that users can withdraw liquidity at any time. If users keep withdrawing, and the protocol cannot dispose of assets in a timely manner, the protocol will have liquidity problems, and may even go bankrupt.

To solve this problem, Hourglass provides users with additional rewards: If Alice has 10 Frax Ethereum (10 frxETH) and promises to pledge it to the Frax protocol for about a month, Hourglass will issue TBT in exchange for 10 frxETH and expected return value for a month. In this way, the Frax protocol ensures at least one month of 10 frxETH liquidity, and Alice will receive additional rewards because she has clearly defined the “time range”.

At the same time, Hourglass has also developed a trading market for TBT. For example, if Alice wants to sell her TBT worth 10 ETH before the expiration date, she needs to match a buyer. Of course, the buyer may not want to pay 10 ETH because they cannot transfer assets within a month, so they can submit the discounted amount they want based on opportunity cost. Alice can choose from the orders submitted in the background.

6. Azteco

  • May 18, 2023

  • Seed: $6 million

  • Lead investor: Jack Dorsey (CEO of Square)

  • Investors: Lightning Ventures, Hivemind Ventures, Ride Wave Ventures, Aleka Capital, Visary Capital, Gaingels, etc.

Azteco is a platform that allows people without bank accounts to easily buy Bitcoin (skipping centralized exchanges and the steps they require). Users can purchase Azteco vouchers on the platform and redeem them for BTC.

II. CeFi

7. River Financial

  • May 16, 2023

  • Series B: $35 million

  • Lead investor: Kingsway Capital

  • Investors: Peter Thiel (co-founder of PayPal), Cygni, Goldcrest, Valor Equity Partners

River Financial is a centralized exchange focused on Bitcoin, offering services such as Bitcoin mining machine trading, custody, and mining. Additionally, it provides an API that enterprises can use to easily access the Lightning Network.

III. NFT/Gaming

8. Vibe

  • May 4, 2023

  • Seed round: $4 million

  • Investors: Alchemy, AglaĆ© Ventures, P Nation (a record company run by Korean celebrity PSY), etc.

Vibe is an NFT issuing platform that enables even non-coders to productize NFTs with various features, including NFT loyalty programs, creating offline events, and redeeming physical goods. Through Vibe, creators can interact with their fans in various ways.

9. Artifact Labs

  • May 8th, 2023

  • $3.25 million

  • Lead investor: Blue Pool Capital

  • Investors: Animoca Ventures

The South China Morning Post of Hong Kong spun off its NFT business last year and formed Artifact Labs, which aims to preserve real-world historic events on the blockchain by NFT-ing stories or artifacts. For instance, the company has NFT-ed artifacts from the Titanic.

Notably, Blue Pool Capital, which manages some of the wealth of Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai, has completed eight investments in the crypto industry, with five NFT projects: The Sandbox, Metaplex, Animoca Brands, Fast Break Lab, and Artifact Labs. Blue Pool Capital also invested in CeFi project FTX, L1 project Polygon, and Solana-based decentralized exchange Aver.

10. Aether Games

  • May 9th, 2023

  • $4.5 million

  • Investors: Mysten Labs, Polygon, Magic Eden, Polkastarter, Cogitent Ventures, Ultra, GSR Ventures, Emurgo, Master Ventures, Eclipse

Aether Games is a game studio that creates various NFT games, including the collectible card game “Eternal Card” and the 3D action game “Eternal Gate.”

11. Artizen

  • May 11th, 2023

  • $2.2 million

  • Investors: Consensys Mesh, Animoca Brands, Protocol Labs, etc.

Artizen is a decentralized crowdfunding platform that allows investors to fund projects related to art, science, technology design, and more.

12. Pudgy Penguins

  • May 10, 2023

  • Seed round: $9 million

  • Investors: 1kx, Big Brain Holdings, Kornos, Ethersole, CRIT Ventures, KuCoin, CoinGecko, Puzzle Ventures, Shima Capital, Old Fashion Research, Origin

Pudgy Penguins, featuring penguin animation characters, launched in April 2022 and is now one of the popular PFP NFT projects on Ethereum. Pudgy Penguins not only issues NFTs, but also sells physical toys based on NFTs.

13. Izumo

  • May 16, 2023

  • Angel: $2.2 million

  • Investors: Hiroaki Kitano (CTO of Sony Group), Jaynti Kanani (founder of Polygon), Kevin Lin (co-founder of Twitch, CEO of Metatheory), Richard Ma (CEO of Quantstamp), Suji Yan (CEO of Mask Network), etc.

Izumo is a platform that helps streamers, artists, musicians, and video bloggers monetize their content.

14. Tabi

  • May 29, 2023

  • Angel: $10 million

  • Investors: Animoca Brands, Draper Dragon, Hashkey Capital, Infinity Crypto Ventures, Youbi Capital, etc.

Tabi (formerly Treasureland) is a BNB-based NFT marketplace, with main features including NFT trading, LaunchBlockingd, and creating task activities.

IV. L1/L2

15. Nolus

  • May 2, 2023

  • Seed round: $2.5 million

  • Investors: Dorahacks, Everstake, Cogitent Ventures, Token Metrics Ventures, Autonomy Capital, etc.

Nolus is an L1 based on Cosmos SDK, focusing on lending services. Unlike other lending protocols, it is not overcollateralized, allowing users to borrow more funds relative to collateral, with lower liquidation risk. As a member of the Cosmos multi-chain ecosystem, Nolus also supports Cosmos’ cross-chain protocols IBC and ICA, allowing interoperability with other chains.

16. Anoma Foundation

  • May 31, 2023

  • $25 million

  • Lead investor: EMCC

  • Investors: Electric Capital, Delphi Digital, Dialectic, KR1, SBlockingrtan, NGC, MH Ventures, Bixin Ventures, No Limit, Plassa, Perridon Ventures, Anagram, Factor, etc.

Anoma Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Switzerland responsible for developing Anoma, a full-stack architecture that helps developers build dApps, and Namada, an L1 that is “intent”-centered and allows private transactions, with each party in a transaction being able to individually choose the assets they want to send or receive.

5. Web3 Services

17. Story Protocol

  • May 17, 2023

  • $29.3 million in seed funding

  • Lead investor: a16z

  • Investors: Hashed, Mirana Corp, DAO5, Samsung Next Fund, Two Small Fish Ventures, Berggruen, SLVC

Story Protocol is a platform that allows for the creation and management of IP on-chain. There is not much more public information, but with investment from top VCs, it is worth keeping an eye on.

18. LabDAO

  • May 24, 2023

  • $3.6 million

  • Lead investors: Gumi Cryptos Capital, Maven 11

  • Investors: North Island Ventures, Seed Club Ventures, ID Theory, Road Capital, Curve Labs, gmjp.lol, Molecule, Gnosis DAO, The LAO, Orange DAO, Beaker DAO, SBlockingceship DAO, Balaji Srinivasan

LabDAO is a DAO organization centered around life science research, where researchers can propose research ideas to seek investment or find partners.

19. Tools For Humanity

  • May 25, 2023

  • Series C: $115 million

  • Lead investor: Blockchain Capital

  • Investors: a16z, Bain Capital Crypto, Distributed Global

Tools For Humanity is the company behind Worldcoin, which has attracted a lot of investment despite the bear market in cryptocurrency. Worldcoin rewards people around the world with a token airdrop for verifying their human identity using an iris recognition device called Orb and creating a digital identity, World ID.

Sam Altman, co-founder of Worldcoin and CEO of OpenAI, believes that most people will lose their jobs in the future due to artificial intelligence, so UBI (universal basic income) will be crucial.

Therefore, Worldcoin aims to verify and create people’s identities in the digital world, as well as provide them with basic income.

20. Transak

  • May 31, 2023

  • Series A: $20 million

  • Lead investor: CE Innovation Capital

  • Investors: SBI Ven Capital, Sygnum, Azimut, Third Kind Venture Capital, UOB Venture Management, Signum Capital, Animoca Brands, Genting Ventures, Istari Ventures, No Limit Holdings, Woodstock Fund, IOSG Ventures, KX, Axelar, Tokentus, The Lao, and more

Transak is one of the largest Web3 payment services that allows users to exchange fiat and cryptocurrencies on any platform or dApp that integrates the service.

21. Magic

  • May 31, 2023

  • Strategic: $52 million

  • Lead investor: BlockingyBlockingl Ventures

  • Investors: Cherubic, Synchrony, KX, Northzone, Volt Capital, and more

Magic is a “wallet as a service” company that aims to abstract away the complexity of Web3 and provide businesses and users with a customizable crypto wallet that is as simple as Web2. So far, Magic has created over 20 million wallets and has been used by over 130,000 developers.

Section 6: Infrastructure

22. zkLink

  • May 4, 2023

  • Strategy: $10 million

  • Investors: Coinbase Ventures, Ascensive Assets, SIG DTI, BigBrain Holdings, Efficient Frontier, etc.

zkLink is a zk-SNARKs-based L2 protocol that focuses on cross-chain transactions. It currently supports networks such as Ethereum, Binance Chain, Polygon, Avalanche, zkSync, Scroll, etc. In addition, developers can use its API to create cross-chain products with a wider range, including cross-chain DEX and cross-chain NFT markets.

23. Webb

  • May 8, 2023

  • Seed round: $7 million

  • Lead investors: Polychain Capital, Lemniscap

  • Investors: Zee Prime, CMS Holdings, etc.

Webb is a privacy cross-chain protocol based on ZK technology. Its flagship product Hubble Bridge allows users to transfer assets, verify identity, and message across multiple networks.

24. Airstack

  • May 17, 2023

  • Pre-seed: $7 million

  • Lead investor: Superscrypt

  • Investors: Polygon, Hashed Emergent, NGC, Primal Capital, UOB Ventures, Signum Capital, etc.

Airstack is a blockchain data platform that allows developers to easily query data from multiple networks. It also developed an AI assistant for users to make queries by asking questions. For example, asking “Help me find the wallet address of the holder with more than 10,000 MATIC,” the AI assistant will automatically provide search results.

25. PYOR

  • May 19, 2023

  • Seed Round: $4 million

  • Lead Investor: Castle Island Ventures

  • Investors: Hash3, Antler, Future Perfect Venture, Force Ventures, CoinSwitch Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Balaji Srinivasan

PYOR is an institutional blockchain data analytics platform where users can access data from various networks and create custom dashboards. The platform is currently in private testing phase.

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According to the Notice on Further Preventing and Handling the Risks of Virtual Currency Trading Speculation issued by departments including the central bank, the content of this article is for information sharing only and does not promote or endorse any business or investment activities. Readers are strictly required to comply with local laws and regulations and not to participate in any illegal financial activities.

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