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Steve Cohen-Backed Firm Invests $10M in Web3 Game Marketplace AQUA

AQUA, a Web3 community platform for gamers, has launched its flagship marketplace for trading in-game assets. The startup also announced a $10 million investment from DIGITAL, an investment firm backed by Steve Cohen. The hedge fund billionaire owns the New York Mets baseball team, oversees Point72 Asset Management and has invested in crypto since 2018.

Web3 game assets are typically non-fungible tokens (NFT) that allow players to take items like weapons and armor into the ecosystems of other games. The AQUA marketplace provides a community-driven place for players to buy and sell those assets.

Read more: What Are NFTs and How Do They Work?

The blockchain-agnostic AQUA marketplace will highlight featured games and already has partnerships with three titles, including God’s Unchained and Guild of Guardians. New titles will be added every month.

“You can definitely go to OpenSea or a general purpose marketplace and purchase gaming assets,” AQUA CEO Sean Ryan said during an interview with CoinDesk. “But we want gamers who are interested in, ‘How do I play this game? What do I do with these assets? How do I find other people to play with?’”

AQUA was founded by gaming industry veterans Ryan, who formerly headed games partnerships at Facebook, and John Cahil. The duo previously co-founded Meez, an early take on the metaverse that launched in 2008.

“Gaming is going to be the primary venue for the next 300 million people to get into Web3,” said Ryan. “Gaming is the biggest, fastest-growing media on the planet and has some pretty technically adept folks who can put up with some of the friction that we see right now if they're really excited about the game.”

CORRECTION (Sept. 28, 16:15 UTC): A previous version of this story inaccurately stated that AQUA is built on Immutable X.