Leading Solana-based NFT marketplace Magic Eden has becomes a unicorn in less than a year since its launch last September. The latest fundraising round has pushed its valuation to $1.6 billion. The founders vowed to speed up its hiring spree despite the downsizing trend hitting crypto firms amid market slumps.
A Multi-Chain Ambition
Magic Eden – an NFT marketplace that has accounted for over 90% of the NFT volume on Solana – announced that it had raised an additional $130 million, with its valuation reaching $1.6 billion. This is roughly a tenfold increase from its valuation three months ago, according to a source acquired by Bloomberg.
The news came in the context of a growing wave of pessimism clouding the crypto industry, with exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini massively trimming their workforce sizes to survive through the months-long bear market. The company decided to go against the headwind, ready to nearly triple its headcounts to 140 from the current 50 employees.
Jack Lu – co-founder of Magic Eden – said NFT transaction volume on his platform has continued to surge in the recent months though the price of SOL has been down more than 80% from ATH. The company had $7.5 million in revenue in May and has been profitable since launch, he added. The platform’s goal is to reach $100 million yearly revenue.
Reportedly, the predominant platform on Solana is set to use the newly raised capital to expand its primary and secondary marketplaces and support NFT creators.
Zhuoxun Yin, COO of Magic Eden and a former Coinbase product manager, revealed that the marketplace plans to serve noteworthy NFT projects beyond the Solana network and support multiple blockchains in the future. However, Yin did not specify which blockchain besides Solana will be deployed to the marketplace first.
Its main rival, OpenSea, currently supporting Solana, Ethereum, Klaytn, and Polygon, was valued at $13.3 billion by January this year. Founded less than a year ago, Magic Eden has risen to be one of the top three NFT marketplaces, according to Dappradar. Its primary platform – Launchpad – has over 250 projects, and its secondary marketplace has over 7,000 Collections.
Solana or Ethereum
Sequoia Capital – the famed VC behind Magic Eden, previously expressed concern over OpenSea’s dominance in the NFT market, stating that the platform could take advantage of the Solana ecosystem before OpenSea expanded its services to the blockchain.
Solana has attracted primarily retail investors driven by the noticeable advantage of Solana’s low gas fee for processing NFT transactions. However, the network is also known for its frequent turnoffs due to technical difficulties, causing temporary suspensions on block production and processing transactions. As such, security is a primary concern regarding the Solana network.