Today the Wall Street Journal reported that Softbank Vision Fund 2 invested $150 million at a $1 billion valuation in Zepeto, a 3D fashion avatar app that is mainly used by Asian young women. Fashion brands such as Dior, Gucci and Christian Louboutin have partnerships along with mainstream brands like Adidas.
Apart from mentioning the word metaverse, the news didn’t mention blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) other than SoftBank leading the $93 million round in blockchain game The Sandbox. And the two platforms are partners. However, there is another NFT angle, and this investment could be viewed as partially strategic.
South Korea’s Naver owns Zepeto. And SoftBank and Naver each own half of Japan’s biggest messaging app LINE. In 2018, LINE subsidiary LVC launched LINE Blockchain, which has its own cryptocurrency LINK.
Earlier this week LINE Blockchain launched NFTs for Zepeto, targeting LINE’s 89 million Japanese users. Hence our assertion that this is at least partly a strategic investment. The NFTs are for 12 different backgrounds, with a hundred NFTs of each minted.
According to the WSJ, Zepeto has 2 million active daily users, primarily in Asia. LINE said there are 250 million users worldwide, although it’s not clear how many are active.