Miami — Miami-based On Chain Studios today came out of stealth mode and announced the raise of a $7.5 million Seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz. The money will be used to launch Cryptoys, a new NFT (non fungible token) platform that combines digital toys with gaming.
Will Weinraub, co-founder and CEO of On Chain, said its first product will be more than just NFTs, but instead plans to be a full-fledged entertainment company, with characters, “Pixar quality shorts,” and blockchain based gaming.
“Cryptoys will offer the first-ever fully interactive NFT digital toys that consumers can buy, sell, collect – and actually play with – inside a rich and immersive world built on the blockchain,” the company said in a statement.
The company is launching its website today, and the toys will start dropping in the coming months, while the company continues to build out its gaming features.
“The day you get your NFT there’ll be some interactivity, and every time you log in there’ll be new components for you to play with as we build out our larger game,” Weinraub said. “It’s like an NFT native Nintendo,” he added.
Traditionally, NFTs have been considered collectors’ items, with many having high price tags (in the thousands of dollars), and while Cryptoys will also have collectors’ editions, they’ll also have many at accessible prices. While the company wouldn’t disclose pricing, “we’re still sorting that out,” Weinraub said, he did say that it would be accessible enough so that, “Everyone who wants a Cryptoy will be able to get a Cryptoy.”
But it’s not just the pricing that’ll be more accessible, the process of getting a Cryptoy will be straightforward, too. To buy other NFTs people have to open a MetaMask wallet, write down their seed phrases (passwords), then go to an exchange like Coinbase, purchase Ethereum, then transfer their Ethereum to their MetaMask wallet, and then find the NFT. And registering on Coinbase isn’t necessarily instantaneous because there are approvals that are necessary.
“It’s not a seamless process at all,” Weinraub said, pointing out major pain points that prevents more and more people from getting into the NFT space.
Cryptoys is surpassing that complex process and accepting credit cards on their website, so consumers can buy Cryptoys just like they buy anything else online.
“We’re building an accessible onramp to bring NFT’s and blockchain gaming to the masses,” said Weinraub.
Weinraub is a Miami native and his four co-founders are all from Latin America. Prior to starting On Chain, Weinraub built and sold a Miami-based tech company called LiveNinja, which served as a video chat marketplace and customer service platform. He sold LiveNinja in 2017 to IDT Telecom for an undisclosed amount. He then worked for the company for a few years, and Cryptoys was originally a side project. “I used to see all my daughter’s toys just sitting there on the shelf, and I asked her ‘Would you be interested in a digital toy you can play with? And she said ‘Yes!’” Weinraub said. His daughter is 8.
“I sold LiveNinja and people were like ‘What are you going to do next?’ and I’d say ‘Let me show you my digital panda,’” Weinraub said. “This is before NFTs were a thing and people looked at me like I was crazy,” he added.
It wasn’t until earlier this year that Weinraub decided to take his side gig and turn it into a company. He brought together his two former co-founders from LiveNinja, Emilio Cueto and Alfonso Martinez, along with the help of Freddy Oropeza, to launch On Chain.
“Now, everyday, I go downstairs and she [my daughter] wants the full report on Cryptoys,” Weinraub said. “Now she actually cares about what I do for a living,” he added.
The round included participation from Draper & Associates, CoinFund, Sound Ventures, Dapper Labs, Collab + Currency, WndrCo, and others.