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By Manya Saini
Dec 9 (Reuters) - Crypto startup Palm NFT Studio said on Thursday it had raised $27 million in an early-stage funding round led by Microsoft Corp's venture fund M12 with participation from venture firm Griffin Gaming Partners.
Palm NFT, co-founded by Joseph Lubin, offers services for artists to establish NFT marketplaces. Lubin was also one of the co-founders of ethereum, the world's most popular cryptocurrency after bitcoin.
An NFT is a digital asset that exists on a blockchain, which serves as a public ledger, allowing anyone to verify the asset's authenticity and ownership. NFTs have a unique digital signature and cannot be reproduced.
Other investors in latest Series B round included investment firms RRE, Third Kind Venture Capital, NFT investor Sfermion, and The LAO.
Palm NFT Studio's Chief Executive Officer Dan Heyman told Reuters in an interview that the company intends to use the capital to scale its platform by investing in research and development and hiring new talent.
Venture capital firms have invested $21.4 billion in crypto and blockchain companies as of Oct. 1 this year, according to data from PitchBook. Last month, Sandbox, a Hong Kong-based gaming platform that allows users to build a virtual world using NFTs, had raised $93 million from investors led by SoftBank's Vision Fund 2.
Even as crypto companies continue to raise money at high valuations, regulators around the world have been skeptical of the alternative asset class due to its potential for money laundering.
Palm NFT Studio has invested heavily to be compliant with rules it anticipates in the future for the crypto industry. "One of the challenges for the whole industry is not even that regulation is coming. It's the ambiguity around the regulation," Heyman said. (Reporting by Manya Saini in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)