Untamed Planet raises $24.3M for nature-oriented NFT games | VentureBeat
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Untamed Planet has raised $24.3 million to make 3D immersive nature games that make use of metaverse concepts and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Animoca Brands led the investment, and it will support the development of the game Untamed Metaverse along with Animoca’s subsidiary Nway.
Animoca Brands is a big supporter of the metaverse and NFT games with more than 200 blockchain-related investments. Untamed Planet is a game company started in 2020 with a mission to protect the wild.
As part of the partnership, Untamed Planet and Animoca Brands will develop and publish Untamed Metaverse, an upcoming game to benefit nature conservation efforts.
Previously, Untamed Planet received seed funding from Afterpay cofounder Nick Molnar. The new funding will support the development of Untamed Metaverse, an immersive metaverse experience in partnership with Animoca Brands and its subsidiary Nway.
Untamed Metaverse is a 3D immersive experience in which players will be able to explore a digital twin of the world’s most amazing wild landscapes, participate in quests, collect NFT assets, and form communities passionate about protecting Nature, all of which will directly benefit nature conservation efforts in the real world.
Untamed Planet said it is digitizing the world’s wildlife ecosystems and creating fun, nature-based experiences through which engagement in the digital world directly benefits conservation in the real world. The company uses Web3 technology to build sustainable sources of donations for Nature while providing play-to-earn and play-to-protect opportunities for Untamed Planet community members.
Untamed Planet’s primary conservation partner is WildArk, a registered non-profit organization that works with dozens of other organizations worldwide to support community-led conservation efforts and secure space for wildlife and biodiversity.
“What excites me about the Untamed Planet mission is the opportunity to merge mainstream gaming with the new
prospects that Web3 enables for digital ownership by players in order to drive real-world conservation – this project is epic,” said Scott Bandy, studio head of Untamed Planet, in a statement. “We couldn’t have hoped for better partners than Animoca Brands and Nway.”
Sustainability and conservation
NFT projects have been heavily criticized for using blockchain computing in a wasteful way, particularly when the NFT projects reside on the Ethereum blockchain. But the company said that it is using a different blockchain that was designed for low-energy usage.
Untamed Planet said it is committed to environmental sustainability and to following best-practice technology and protocols in environmental and social impact. All blockchain projects undertaken by Untamed Planet, including Untamed Metaverse, will prioritize energy efficiency and sustainability, the company said.
The first NFT collection from Untamed Planet will be minted on Solana, a Proof of Stake (PoS) protocol with high energy efficiency. On average, one transaction on Solana uses less energy than three Google searches; minting an NFT on Solana uses less than a third of the energy of keeping a LED light on for one hour, and less than a quarter of the energy required to charge an iPhone 13 (see: Solana’s Energy Use Report: March 2022).
A core element of Untamed Planet’s mission is its commitment to “50% profit share for Nature,” whereby the company donates, invests, or distributes a minimum of half of each project’s profits to on the ground conservation initiatives and the local communities supporting them. Some projects within the Untamed Planet ecosystem allot over 50% and up to 100% of all proceeds to conservation.
Coined “play-to-protect,” this model was successfully tested in Untamed Planet’s first game, built on the Roblox platform, which has generated 30 million plays since launch in early 2021. Using the proceeds from in-game transactions, the game has already funded the adoption of a Black Rhino calf in Kenya and supported rangers protecting the Eastern Lowland Gorillas of Virunga National Park in Congo.
David Yarrow NFT drop
The first collaboration by Animoca Brands and Untamed Planet is an NFT collection of animal avatars based on the work of world-renowned photographer David Yarrow, who has donated six of his original wildlife photos. The NFTs will go on sale in May and all proceeds will be donated to wildlife conservation efforts. CNN recently profiled the work of David Yarrow.
Yat Siu, executive chairman of Animoca Brands, said commented: “We are extremely proud to work with Untamed Planet to support a project that is both a good cause and an extremely promising open metaverse development. We look forward to advancing the ways in which technology can drive nature conservation.”
Untamed Planet has 20 employees and is currently expanding. The team previously created an Untamed Planet game on Roblox to test the play-to-protect model.
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