Internet Game, a project that has described itself as 'HQ Trivia meets NFTs,' has raised $7 million in a seed funding round.
Investors in the seed round include HQ Trivia co-founder Rus Yusupov, ParaFi Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Dephi Digital, Uniswap Ventures, Collab+Currency, Gmoney, Milk Road, Ready Player DAO and Zedd, co-founder of Magic Eden.
The project reinvents HQ Trivia as Internet Game, a crypto-based twist on the original model, the company told The Block.
The first season launched in March with 8,000 players minting $2.2 million worth of NFTs to gain access to the game. With those proceeds, the business purchased more than $1 million in NFT prizes voted on by the players, including items from top flight collections such as Bored Apes, Mutant Apes, Doodles, Azukis and CloneXs.
Each staked "Game Token" NFT allowed participation in five games spread over five days in what the business called a "Squid Game-like" competition. Those remaining after five games won a "Metaverse Access Card NFT," which gave owners free access to all future project events and exclusive mini games. The top 100 players by points each won a blue-chip NFT from the prize pool.
Via the NFT, a player's rank and score can be sold to another player.
“Unlike most projects, our 'utility' and main KPI is fun," Jordan Lejuwaan, co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. "The experiences we create are an emotional rollercoaster for everyone that plays. The unanimous response from Season 1 was that it was the most fun people had ever had in web3.”
As for how it's different to HQ Trivia? "Trivia questions can only be exciting for so long," Lejuwaan told The Block. "Our model includes a buy-in. HQ Trivia didn't really have a revenue model — it had to keep increasing the prize pool as usership went up."
Bear market battles
Internet Game: Season 2 “Bear Market Battle” launches on Sept. 12 and will be hosted by NFT influencer Gmoney and Clubhouse comedy show host Leah Lamarr. Season 2 features six new games to take place between Sept. 12 and Sept. 23.
Lejuwaan told The Block in an exclusive interview that future seasons of the game will aim to make it more accessible to people who do not own or understand cryptocurrencies, with a lower bar for entry, noncustodial wallets for prizes and payments in dollars.
"We are building with the express purpose of onboarding people to web3," he added. "For season 3, people may not even be aware they're using something built with crypto."
Lejuwaan and his co-founder Krish Jagirdar are also set to allow other NFT projects to use the games they have built on the platform for their own communities.
"It's a new-generation engagement tool,” said Jagirdar. "The aim is to provide a deeper form of engagement for communities."
HQ Trivia rose to prominence in 2018 and met a sticky end less than two years later, declaring bankruptcy as presenters drank and swore during the last live broadcast. The product failed because it was glitchy and lost money. An acquisition offer to keep it alive also fell through. Both co-founder Colin Kroll and Yusupov had previously worked at Twitter and Vine.
The game was free to download and play. A live presenter would ask 12 multiple choice questions and anyone who answered them all correctly would win part of the game's prize fund. During its lifespan it gave away $6 million in cash prizes.
This article was updated post-publication to better reflect the mission of the project.
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