Zebedee has raised $35M more to support in-game payments via Lightning Network. The gaming giant is now onboard. Although a lot of crypto gaming activity takes place in the Ethereum, Solana communities, Zebedee has been a constant advocate for Bitcoin for the past couple years. The gaming startup now has new funding from Square Enix, publisher of Final Fantasy.
Today Zebedee announced a $35 million Series A funding round, led by Kingsway Capital. This includes participation from Square Enix, The Raine Group and existing Zebedee investors Initial Capital as well as Lakestar.
Zebedee’s platform allows game developers to make micropayments using the Lightning Network. This network is built on Bitcoin. For example, game studios could offer small amounts of Bitcoin in rewards for playing their games. The firm also provides an API for application developers (API), which allows them to implement the tech, and an app that gamers can access their Bitcoin rewards.
Zebedee introduced the technology early in 2021 by launching special servers to support Valve’s online shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. These servers let players play online matches and wager on Bitcoin rewards. According to the company’s platform, transactions are only $0.08 in value via the Lightning Network.
Zebedee previously raised $11.5 million in September 2020 and claimed that it has raised approximately $50 million total. According to the firm, its user base has increased tenfold since the Series-A round.
Decrypt asked for more information about the company’s growth but a Zebedee representative stated that they do not give user numbers. The representative mentioned Vestly and Bitcoin Miner from Fumb Games as notable apps that have been added to its platform. He also said that many of the company’s apps are “seeking lots of sustained engagement.”
Square Enix is a major publisher of video games and is the company behind Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts and Dragon Quest. It was also responsible for Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and other popular video game IP. However, it sold these franchises and three more to help finance its blockchain industry ventures.
Square Enix, along with Ubisoft is one of the most vocal traditional game publishers supporting blockchain technology. Square Enix released NFT collectibles first in Japan in 2021 based on the Million Arthur franchise. It will also bring its Dungeon Siege IP to The Sandbox, an Ethereum metaverse gaming game it supported in 2020.
Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda also wrote positively about NFTs and the upcoming metaverse, a blockchain-backed 3D evolution for the internet. Matsuda stated in January that by incorporating viable token economies into our games we will be able to enable self-sustaining growth.
Square Enix’s actions in the blockchain space have drawn criticism from both long-time gamers and traditional gamers. Some of these gamers have vocally opposed NFTs citing concerns about the environment and scams. The Zebedee news shows that the Japanese gaming icon is only getting deeper into this space.