Non-fungible token (NFT) renting platform reNFT has announced it raised a $1.5 million strategic funding round led by Animoca Brands. Eight other venture capital firms, including Scalar Capital, SkyVision Capital and MetaCartel Ventures (a DAO), also participated in the funding, alongside five angel investors.
The concept behind reNFT is to use NFT technology to support renting tangible and intangible assets ranging from intellectual property rights to claims to real estate. Despite the possibility of minting a representation of a physical asset as an NFT and using the technology to rent it out, currently one of the most common use cases is renting out in-game assets and applications of the technology in decentralized finance.
One of the developments in the NFT industry that is likely contributing to the strategic focus of reNFT is play-to-earn games. Players purchase in-game assets minted as NFTs. They use these NFTs, which may be characters, to play the game. Successful in-game action earns tokens that can be exchanged for regular money. While users can re-sell the NFTs for tokens and still make a profit, renting these out to other users supports a new stream of revenue and expands the uses of the game, especially for players looking to make a wage out of playing. That’s the plan, although it doesn’t support this quite yet.
The use of renting NFTs in play-to-earn economies is likely the reason why Animoca became a strategic investor. Animoca has been making an effort to increase its presence and influence in the industry, and besides operating its own play-to-earn games, it has also invested in new games, playing communities, and solutions such as reNFT that promote the growth of the industry.
“reNFT is a forward-looking initiative that is helping to trailblaze the rental of NFTs, a practice that will become commonplace in the near future and will serve as an important pillar of the play-to-earn model,” said Yat Siu, co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands.
Regarding decentralized finance (Defi), reNFT is somewhat like a digital version of a pawn shop. Tenants can pay a deposit and a daily rental fee for the right to use an NFT for an agreed period. Its first launch allowed people to rent CryptoPunks, which they can use exclusively as their avatar on Twitter and Discord during the rental period. However, that initiative – independent of the CryptoPunks creators – initially launched as ‘gifting’ the rights. Whereas it now supports payment for a variety of NFT rentals.
With the investment, reNFT is looking to integrate its technology with various projects and games, redesign its platform, launch token generating events, and expand its NFT portfolio of products.
Meanwhile, Animoca has also completed a strategic investment in DeFi platform Vera. And A16x participated in a $152 million investment in a play-to-earn game.