Japan’s largest bank MUFG has invested $22.5m into Animoca Brands’ Japanese subsidiary for NFTs and the metaverse. Together with Animoca, the two companies have collectively invested $45m at a claimed $500 million pre-money valuation into Animoca Brands KK.
This announcement comes off the back of a strategic NFT partnership launched between the two companies in March 2022. The investment signals that MUFG and Animoca are tangibly moving towards capitalizing on the all-time peak of NFT popularity in Japan.
Doubtless, MUFG was attracted to working with Animoca, given the startup’s presence in the space and Animoca’s prolific investing experience in 340 metaverse companies.
Animoca has numerous joint ventures, including with OneFootball and Planet Hollywood. Its subsidiary, The Sandbox, is the second largest metaverse on the Ethereum blockchain and hosts virtual worlds featuring celebrities such as Gordon Ramsay and Paris Hilton. Even banks like Standard Chartered and HSBC have bought virtual real estate in The Sandbox. Animoca’s diverse metaverse involvement means they have a wealth of experience to draw on to further the aims of this joint venture.
Yet, MUFG has not been slow in adopting blockchain technology either. Through its blockchain platform, Progmat, MUFG has been positioning its platform to enable itself and others to issue stablecoins and security tokens. The first utility token on Progmat was launched earlier this month, providing users with significant discounts at the shopping complex Tokyo Dome City. Evidently, NFTs are the next blockchain-based product for the bank to venture into. How MUFG will incorporate NFTs into its wider metaverse strategy remains to be seen.