Zebedee has raised an additional $35 million to enable in-game payments over the Lightning Network, and gaming giant Square Enix is on board.
While much of the crypto gaming activity takes place within the Ethereum and Solana ecosystems, Zebedee has consistently encouraged the use of bitcoin over the past two years. Today, the startup has raised new funds along with an amazing gaming giant: Square Enix, the publisher of Final Fantasy.
Zebedee today announced a $35 million Series B funding round led by Kingsway Capital with input from Square Enix and The Raine Group, as well as existing investors Zebedee Initial Capital and Lakestar.
The Zebedee platform allows game developers to integrate micropayments through the Bitcoin-based Lightning network. For example, game studios may offer a small amount of bitcoin as rewards for games, and the company provides developers with an application programming interface (API) to implement the technology and an application through which players can access their bitcoin rewards.
In early 2021, Zebedee showcased its technology by launching dedicated servers for Valve’s popular online shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), allowing players to wager and earn bitcoin rewards for participating in online matches. According to the company, the average transaction size on its platform is only $0.08 in bitcoin via the Lightning Network.
September 2021 and the company said it has raised about $50 million in total so far. The firm said in a press release that its user base has grown tenfold over its Series A round.
Regarding new applications on its platform, the representative mentioned Bitcoin Miner and Fumb Games’ Vestly and said that many of its applications “had a constant commitment“.
Square Enix is a major video game publisher behind not only Final Fantasy but also Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Quest, and other popular titles. Until recently, the company was also behind Tomb Raider and Deus Ex, but sold these and other franchises – along with three of its game studios – for $300 million to fund its projects in the blockchain industry.
Along with Ubisoft, Square Enix is one of the major video game publishers most open about the impact of blockchain technology on gaming. Square Enix first released NFT collectibles in 2021 in Japan based on its Million Arthur franchise and will also be bringing its IP Dungeon Siege to The Sandbox, the Ethereum metaverse it previously supported in 2020.
Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda also spoke positively about the potential of NFTs and the coming Metaverse, the blockchain-based 3D evolution of the Internet. “By incorporating a viable token economy into our games, we will ensure the autonomous growth of games.“, Matsuda wrote in January.
Square Enix’s blockchain initiatives have drawn the ire of longtime fans and casual gamers alike, some of whom are strongly opposed to NFTs, citing the environmental impact of certain platforms, fraud and… other issues. However, the Japanese gaming icon only seems to be sinking further into this space, as news from Zebedee proves.