High Fidelity, a social VR startup founded by Philip Rosedale (CEO), one of Second Life’s original creators, has bagged a $35 million Series D led by blockchain investment firm Galaxy Digital Ventures. The startup is building the framework for a linked universe of user-generated worlds where people can meet up in VR with a backbone that the company’s leadership believes will allow the company to scale quickly once VR hardware catches up with expectations.
Lately, the company has put plenty of resources toward building out the blockchain side of its technology to drive in-game transactions and other aspects of the service. The usage is one of the company key differentiators, even as it devotes resources to tech advances surrounding latency, 3D audio and high-detail environments. Of the company’s 60 employees, presently 7-8 of the engineers are focusing on blockchain tech.
Virtual reality may offer a worthwhile testbed for the often cagey theoretical real-world use cases for blockchain technology, with platform creators having the opportunity to structure a closed environment with blockchain at the heart of its governance. High Fidelity’s version of the future doesn’t just look different in theory, it’s a little uncanny visually, as well. For a virtual reality startup that hasn’t talked usage numbers and remains in beta, $70 million is a pretty hefty amount of total funding, especially when they have the looming specter of Facebook investing billions.