Animoca Brands Takes Rare Industry Step to Ban Russian Involvement

Animoca Brands, a blockchain gaming powerhouse is responding to the war in Ukraine but prohibiting Russian involvement with its business and properties, according to a Bloomberg article published today.

A member of the Financial Times High Growth Companies Asia-Pacific 2021 list, Animoca Brands develops digital entertainment, blockchain, and gamification products and services. Its original games include The Sandbox, Crazy Kings, and Crazy Defense Heroes; and it also produces in partnership with companies such as Formula 1, Disney, WWE, and the Power Rangers. Its many subsidiaries, include The Sandbox, Blowfish Studios, Quidd, GAMEE, nWay, Pixowl, Bondly, and Lympo.

In addition to its product line Animoca Brands has invested in more than 150 investments in NFT-related companies and decentralized projects related to the open metaverse, including Axie Infinity, OpenSea, Dapper Labs (NBA Top Shot), Bitski, Harmony, Alien Worlds and Star Atlas.

Animoca’s move is a rare one for its industry, given that many other companies are still working with Russia. While the gesture will impact a few of its brands, Animoca’s Russian user base is small, co-founder Yat Siu said in the Bloomberg interview.

The Hong Kong-based company will block the addresses of known Russian users and stop selling shares to Russian investors. Gamee tweeted its support for Ukraine while announcing the closing of services to Russians. Lympo announced a halt in the publishing of NFTs of Russian athletes. They will also cease any potential new involvement with Russian athletes.

Among Animoca’s investments are stakes in Dapper Labs, a game producer, and OpenSea, an NFT marketplace.

In September of 2021, Animoca Brands announced its participation in a $1.5 million seed funding round for Amasa, a decentralized finance company which helps users generate micro-income streams. That came weeks after they invested in Sweet, an enterprise-focused NFT solution. During the same period Animoca Brands also completed a securities offering on a Hong Kong crowdfunding site, when it said its valuation exceeded $1 billion.

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