By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The venture firm of U.S. investor Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of social media site Reddit, has teamed up with the venture arm of the Solana Labs blockchain for a $100 million investment initiative in decentralized social projects, both firms said on Tuesday at a conference in Lisbon.
Seven Seven Six, Ohanian's venture firm, will invest $50 million and Solana Ventures will put up the remaining $50 million, the companies said.
"With a high-performance blockchain like Solana, there is an unprecedented opportunity to fuse social and crypto in a way that feels like a Web2 social product but with the added incentive of empowering users with real ownership," Ohanian said in a statement.
"We are at a pivotal inflection point in these early days of Web3," he added.
Solana products and funds have attracted $154 million in investor money so far this year, the third-largest individual asset-focused investments behind bitcoin and Ethereum, according to data from digital asset manager CoinShares.
"Web3 turns users and creators into owners and stakeholders, a change that can't come soon enough to social media," said Raj Gokal, chief operating officer at Solana Labs. "Social media in the metaverse will be a collection of millions of self-sufficient communities."
In Web 3.0, users will be able to interact with data through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Austin Federa, Solana's head of communications, said the partnership with Ohanian's firm will have a heavy focus on Solana, "but the future is cross-chain so the initiative will consider all projects, irrespective of chain."
According to Statista, social media advertising generated $153.7 billion in worldwide revenue in 2021. Meta Inc., formerly known as Facebook, earned 85% of its revenue from advertising and is now seeking to enter the metaverse to monetize what Mark Zuckerberg calls the successor of the mobile internet.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Dan Grebler)