Animoca Brands, a leading blockchain company and venture capital firm based in Hong Kong, announced on Wednesday that it would stop its trading services to Russian users in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Animoca further mentioned that besides blocking the accounts linked to Russian users, it would also halt selling shares to Russian investors.
Yat Siu, the co-founder and Chairman of Animoca Brands, talked about the development and said: “the legal advice we’ve been receiving is we now have to impose some restrictions. It’s a sanctioned country on par with North Korea. The moment we end up doing business in those areas, we might ourselves become financially excluded from the financial system.”
Siu also stated that the decision would apply to the company’s subsidiaries, such as Gamee and Lympo. However, the executive said that the decision would not have any material impact on the company’s performance because the firm doesn’t have many Russian users.
Gamee stated on Twitter that: “Ukraine, we stand with you,” and said that it is shutting down its services to Russians. Likewise, Lympo also mentioned in a Medium blog post that it would stop onboarding new Russian athletes, halt publishing Russian athlete NFTs, and stop negotiations for new partnerships with all Russian athletes.
In doing so, Animoca has joined other major crypto firms, which have also stopped providing services to Russian users amid the security crisis.
Building Metaverse Reality
Headquartered in Hong Kong and launched in 2014, Animoca Brands serves as a major investor in NFT games and metaverse startups.
In January, Animoca raised almost $359 million, an investment that has given a valuation of more than $5 billion. The funding round was led by Liberty City Ventures. Other companies such as Winklevoss Capital, billionaire investor George Soros’ Soros Fund Management, Sequoia China, Gemini Frontier Fund, and 10T Holdings also participated in the seed funding.
Animoca has invested in over 100 startups, including some of the major builders in the NFT landscape. Among its investments are Axie Infinity developer Sky Mavis (valued near $3 billion), NBA Top Shotmaker Dapper Labs (valued at $7.6 billion), and the leading NFT marketplace OpenSea (valued at $13.3 billion).
Apart from investments, Animoca also publishes its NFT-driven games. The company is best known for The Sandbox, an upcoming Ethereum-based metaverse game, which has formed partnerships with Atari, Adidas, Snoop Dogg, and other brands and celebrities. Animoca also publishes licensed racing game F1 Delta Time, among other crypto game projects.
Animoca mainly invests in projects that aim to develop an open, interoperable metaverse, in which NFT assets can be used across various immersive platforms.
Image source: Animoca Brands