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If you’re wondering where VR investors have gone, Amitt Mahajan is a good example. He is the co-founder of Presence Capital, which has made millions of dollars in investments in 40 VR startups. Now it has gone crypto.
Mahajan suspended the VR fund for a bit while joining Rare Bits as a full-time co-founder and CTO. Rare Bits has opened a store where you can buy and sell cryptocurrency virtual goods, from CryptoBots to CryptoKitties. This is a secondary market for blockchain game assets, which are based on public ledger technology where ownership of items is easily identified.
“I decided my heart was to be operational,” Mahajan said. “I really enjoyed working with my former co-founder and wanted to work with him again, so we started this thing together and decided to go full time.”
The Presence Capital fund is still active and there may be other small investments. But Mahajan said the raising of a second version of the fund is on hold until Rare Bits runs its course.
When asked if that meant crypto would be bigger than VR, he replied, “I don’t think so at all. We are still very optimistic about VR. Enterprise virtual reality is doing well. The consumer side is slower. This was expected based on the cost and form factor of the first generation of technology. Things like Santa Cruz from Oculus (prototype, which will be wireless and not connected to a PC) will help.
Mahajan has a knack for jumping on things quickly. He helped launchonorlife, which was acquired by Zynga, and within weeks produced the hit Facebook game FarmVille. He also co-founded Red Hot Labs, which was acquired by Google in 2015.
Rare Bits co-founders also include CEO Dave Pekar, Danny Lee, and Payom Dousti. Originally, they came together to create a blockchain game, like a Hearthstone for blockchain. They began to realize that they had the ability to create a market for blockchain characters and items, as they moved from game to game.
“There has to be a way for this to happen and that’s why we launched Rare Bits,” Mahajan said. “My background was Zynga and FarmVille. As gamers, we saw virtual goods as living in a silo. The items you accumulate live on the servers of the company that owns them. They say it’s yours. But the reality is, it’s the company’s item and they’ll let you use it for a while.
As for VR, Mahajan doesn’t think crypto trumps VR. He said it would work well in the long run, and now he sees particularly promising promises in enterprise virtual reality. The first one Capital of presence fund will have invested over $ 10 million by the time all is said and done.
Rare Bits is like an aggregator.
“We’re more like eBay, where people buy and sell on our site,” he said.
Some CryptoKitties characters have sold for over $ 200,000, using Ethereum cryptocurrency.
“People put real money into this stuff,” Mahajan said. “They see him as an asset. The closest analogy to this is that people buy rare Magic: The Gathering cards. We think we’re on the verge of something really big here. “
Rare Bits opened a store for a while, and within a month, it had $ 100,000 in transactions. It contains items from over 500,000 assets from 12 games available to date. It’s a bit like eBay, where users can post items for sale, and others can buy them. Currently, Mahajan has stated that Rare Bits does not take any fees.
“If you are selling in other markets, you are playing for 1.3 to 4% of your selling price,” he said. “We think there are other ways we can make money through advertising or developer services.”
Rare Bits has eight people. A big company like eBay could enter the market.
“It’s a risk with any startup,” Mahajan said. “But they should take it as a priority and see how it fits into their overall strategy. They need a team to build it. All we think about all the time is how to build the best asset site possible. “
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