Exclusive: Crypto billionaire Novogratz spearheads funding for virtual real estate firm

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Elizabeth Hawcroft

LONDON (Reuters) – Galaxy Interactive, the venture capital arm of billionaire crypto investor Mike Novogratz, Galaxy Digital, has taken on the role of lead investor in virtual real estate developer Republic Realm, its managing director said.

Janine Yorio, managing director of Republic Realm, told Reuters that Novogratz’s support was a vote of confidence in the $ 10 million investment vehicle.

Republic Realm buys virtual real estate, cryptoasset or non-fungible token (NFT), the ownership status and authenticity of which are verified by the blockchain. The popularity of NFTs skyrocketed in 2021 and their prices are skyrocketing.

The US-based company Republic Realm, established in March 2021, made over 1,500 investments and acquired a piece of virtual land in the blockchain-powered online world of Decentraland earlier this month for $ 900,000.

Then Republic Realm develops this land by adding buildings. For example, he built a virtual shopping mall and rents out virtual stores to tenants.

In virtual worlds like Decentraland, people can exhibit their NFT art collections, open shops and businesses, hang out with friends, visit buildings, and attend events.

The price of blockchain real estate in virtual worlds has skyrocketed with the boom in the NFT market this year.

Republic Realm did not disclose the size of Galaxy Interactive’s investment.

Republic Realm is part of a private investment platform called Republic. Republic had a Series A funding round in March that raised $ 36 million from investors including Galaxy Digital and investment firm Prosus. $ 10 million funding for Republic Realm is separate from that.

Galaxy Interactive is part of Galaxy Digital, a cryptocurrency-focused financial services group founded by Novogratz, who was previously a hedge fund manager at Fortress Investments and a partner at Goldman Sachs.

He left Fortress to focus on investing in cryptocurrency and founded Galaxy Digital, which now has Goldman Sachs among its clients.

Earlier this week, Galaxy Digital agreed to provide a £ 14m ($ 19.36m) loan to London-based Argo blockchain secured by bitcoin.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Hawcroft, editing by Abhinava Ramnarayan and Jane Merriman)

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