Crypto exchange operator Huobi launches $100 million venture unit for bolt-on deals and NFTs

By Reuters

<p><body> <p><span class="caps">HONG</span> <span class="caps">KONG</span> (Reuters) -Cryptocurrency exchange operator Huobi Group has launched an investment arm with $100 million to spend, setting aside some cash specifically for non-fungible tokens, the latest hot trend, the company said on Thursday.</p> <p>The recent surge in prices for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has fuelled a global rush of fundraising by companies in the sector, with both traditional venture capital firms and cryptocurrency incumbents competing to snap up the best companies. </p> <p>The new unit is the latest move by Huobi, parent company of one of the world’s largest exchanges for trading cryptocurrencies, to diversify its operations away from trading, after a separate unit, Huobi Tech, launched crypto-related funds for institutional investors last month. </p> <p>The fund plans to acquire blockchain companies that can be integrated into Huobi’s existing businesses, making early stage venture capital investments. It includes $10 million specifically for investing in <span class="caps">NFT</span>s and marketplaces that trade them. </p> <p><span class="caps">NFT</span>s, virtual assets that exist on a blockchain ledger, have exploded in popularity this year. This week, Ebay said it would allow the sale of <span class="caps">NFT</span>s on its platform. </p> <p>“What we see in the market today is only a fraction of what’s actually possible with <span class="caps">NFT</span>s,” said Huobi Group <span class="caps">CFO</span> Lily Zhang, who will head up the new Huobi Ventures unit. </p> <p>The fundraising boom is already starting to extend to <span class="caps">NFT</span> companies. In a separate announcement on Thursday, Hong Kong based Animoca Brands, a gaming company which provides <span class="caps">NFT</span>s associated to items within its titles, said it had raised $88.89 million at a valuation of $1 billion. </p> <p> (Reporting by Alun John; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Bernadette Baum)</p> </body></p>