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Boom in interest for NFTs, DeFi and Web3 helps blockchain funding smash record

More venture funding ($2.4bn) went to NFT startups than any other blockchain category.

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It may be the start of the Crypto Winter, but innovators in the space have plenty in their coffers.

Funding for blockchain startups hit a record of $9.2bn in the first three months of 2022, according to data from CB Insights.

Compared with the same period in 2021 when $3.6bn was raised by blockchain-focused startups, the figure represents a growth rate of more than 250 per cent in 12 months.

Venture funding for blockchain startups, which incorporates companies using blockchains across NFTs, DeFi and Web3 and other uses, has now grown every quarter for the past two years.  

NFTs were the most popular category for blockchain startups for the first time ever with $2.4bn raised in the three month period, representing more than a quarter (26 per cent) of total blockchain funding.

The two most valuable new unicorns also came from the NFT category: Yuga Labs and Immutable.

Yuga Labs, which owns the three largest brands in the NFT market: Bored Ape Yacht Club, CryptoPunks and Meebits, raised $450m in funding at a $4bn valuation in March of 2022.

Australia based Immutable meanwhile raised $200m at a $2.5bn valuation in March round led by Temasek.

The blockchain unicorn count, the number of companies with a private valuation of at least $1bn, has reached 62. Nearly thirds (63 per cent) of the funding went to US-based startups.

Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands was the most active investor in the first quarter of 2022 overall as it was in the last three months of 2021. Its focus has mainly been on gaming, NFTs, and the metaverse. Coinbase Ventures was the 2nd most active investor, followed by Pantera Capital.

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