Solana-based play-to-earn NFT game MonkeyBall raises $3 million

MonkeyBall, a crypto startup building a play-to-earn NFT game based on Solana, has raised $3 million in a seed funding round.

The round saw participation from several investors, including Jump Capital, CMS Holdings, Solana Capital, 6th Man Ventures, and NFX, among others.

Angel investors, including billionaire Shalom Meckenzie, one of the largest shareholders in sports-betting firm DraftKings; Yoni Assia, co-founder of eToro; Nimrod Lehavi, co-founder of Simplex; and Shahaf Bar-Geffen, CEO of crypto payments startup COTI, also backed the round. Bar-Geffen will also serve as MonkeyBall's chairman.

MonkeyBall's founders and the core team are Israeli, Bar-Geffen told The Block. The startup's current headcount is 17, and it is looking to hire more people with the fresh capital in place, said Bar-Geffen.

MonkeyBall is building an NFT soccer game that will reward players and watchers. The game can be described as "an intersection between FIFA Street and Final Fantasy," according to MonkeyBall. Players will be able to earn MonkeyBucks ($MBS) tokens for winning or attending other people's games.

Play-to-earn NFT games are a quickly growing application of blockchain technology.

Gigi Levy-Weiss, general partner at NFX, believes that the space will only continue to grow. "The winners will be those teams that combine the best of blockchain know-how with amazing game-design capabilities, that know how to utilize and unite the best of both Blockchain and 'traditional' gaming sectors," he said. "MonkeyBall is the best one we've seen yet!"

The game is being developed on an engine by Unity Technologies and be available on both desktop and mobile platforms. It is planned to launch "around Christmas," said Bar-Geffen.