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Binance Labs Invests in 25 Web3 Projects in 2023, Despite Market Downturn

Binance Labs, the venture capital and incubation arm of Binance, has had a busy and productive year in 2023, despite the challenging market conditions. Binance Labs has invested in over 25 projects across the Web3 landscape, covering infrastructure, DeFi, Web3 Gaming, and tooling. Binance Labs has also supported the success of early-stage projects through its incubation and acceleration programs, which have produced some of the most notable companies in the Web3 industry.

Binance Labs was founded in 2018 with the goal of identifying and supporting founders with innovative ideas who are building projects that are shaping the future of the Web3 industry. Binance Labs’ investments are chain-agnostic and stage-agnostic, with a core focus on supporting the success of early-stage projects through its incubation programs.

Since its inception, Binance Labs’ portfolio covers 250 projects across 25 countries, with a 14X rate of return on investments. Binance Labs’ investments in Web3 have resulted in backing notable companies such as: Optimism, LayerZero, Celestia, Aptos, Mysten Labs, Trust Wallet, and more.

More than 50 of the portfolio companies have been Binance Labs incubations, including Dune Analytics, Injective Labs, Polygon, and SafePal. These projects have gone on to achieve significant milestones, such as launching mainnets, reaching millions of users, and raising follow-on funding.

Embracing Resilience in The Face of Transformation

Binance Labs has remained committed to investing in projects with transformational solutions amidst the market downturn in 2023, accounting to over 25 investments in the Web3 landscape. Crypto VC funding faced headwinds in 2023 with Q3 2023, reporting a 36% downtrend in capitalization and deal counts compared to the previous year, according to Messari.

However, Binance Labs was the most active VC in Q2 and Q3 of 2023, specifically in the DeFi and Web3 Gaming sector, according to Messari. Binance Labs also ranked among the top 10 most active VCs in the Web3 space in 2023, according to The Block.

The Binance Labs investment thesis continues to support projects that are laying the groundwork for a sustainable ecosystem and fosters scalability, while simultaneously exploring application layers that facilitate mass adoption across blockchain applications. Investments in 2023 have focused on infrastructure and tooling empowered by Zero-Knowledge Proof techniques, Web3 Gaming that catalyzes widespread adoption, and innovations in DeFi that are taking major strides ahead for Web3.

Investment Highlights

Binance Labs has invested in a diverse range of projects in 2023, covering various sectors and regions. Here are some of the highlights of Binance Labs’ investments in 2023:

Infrastructure

  • $10M investment in Neutron, a cross-chain smart contract platform on Cosmos that was the first chain to launch on Replicated Security, a novel consensus mechanism that enables high scalability and interoperability.
  • Investment in AltLayer through the MVB 6 Program. AltLayer is a system of highly scalable application-dedicated execution layers that derive security from an underlying L1/L2. AltLayer aims to provide a seamless user experience for Web3 applications across multiple chains.
  • Early-stage investment in Delphinus Lab, an infrastructure provider that has implemented the first known open-source zkWASM virtual machine. Delphinus Lab enables developers to write and deploy zero-knowledge proofs in any programming language, making privacy-preserving applications more accessible and efficient.

DeFi

  • Investment in Radiant Capital, a lending and borrowing protocol bridging fragmented liquidity across DeFi. Radiant Capital leverages a novel liquidity aggregator that connects multiple lending markets and enables cross-chain borrowing and lending with low fees and high capital efficiency.
  • $5M investment in Curve DAO Token (CRV), supporting Curve and its deployment to the BNB Chain. Curve is a leading decentralized exchange for stablecoins and low-slippage swaps. Curve on BNB Chain will offer users lower gas fees, faster transactions, and access to the Binance ecosystem.
  • $10M investment in Helio Protocol, a decentralized stablecoin lending and borrowing protocol on the BNB Chain offering multi-chain StaaS and LS. Helio Protocol aims to create a stable and scalable DeFi ecosystem on BNB Chain, leveraging its native stablecoin HELIO and its innovative lending and borrowing mechanism.

Web3 Gaming

  • $15M investment in Xterio, a Web3 game platform and publisher led by gaming veterans that bridge free-to-play and on-chain gaming. Xterio offers a suite of tools and services for game developers and players, such as NFT minting, marketplace, wallet, and analytics. Xterio also publishes its own games, such as Xteria Legends, a multiplayer online battle arena game with NFT-based characters and items.
  • Seed funding investment for GOMBLE, a South Korean developer of blockchain-based casual games and affiliate of game publisher, 111Percent. GOMBLE creates fun and engaging games that integrate blockchain elements, such as NFTs, play-to-earn, and governance. GOMBLE’s games include GOMBLE Heroes, a casual RPG game with NFT heroes, and GOMBLE Racing, a racing game with NFT cars and tracks.
  • Investment in Sleepless AI through the MVB 6 Program. Sleepless AI is an AI blockchain-based virtual companion game utilizing AIGC and LLMs to create rich story-based gameplay and organically evolving interactions with characters. Sleepless AI allows players to create, customize, and bond with their own virtual companions, who have unique personalities, preferences, and memories.

Tooling

  • Investment in Arkham Token (ARKM), the native token of Arkham powering its intelligence economy, Intel-to-Earn. Arkham is a decentralized platform that connects data providers and data consumers, enabling users to monetize their data and insights. Arkham also offers a suite of tools for data analysis, visualization, and collaboration.
  • Investment in zkPass, a privacy-preserving identity verification protocol that leverages zero-knowledge proofs. zkPass enables users to prove their identity and credentials without revealing any personal information, such as name, age, or address. zkPass can be used for various use cases, such as KYC, age verification, and access control.

Incubation and Acceleration Programs

In 2023, Binance Labs provided funding to nine standout projects that participated in Binance Labs Incubation Program Season 5, and MVB Accelerator Program Season 6: AltLayer, Bracket Labs, dappOS, KiloEx, Kinza Finance, KryptoSkatt, Mind Network, Sleepless AI, and zkPass. These projects have received mentorship, resources, and support from Binance Labs and its network of partners and experts.

Binance Labs Incubation Program is a 10-week program that helps early-stage blockchain startups bootstrap their ideas and launch their products. Binance Labs Incubation Program provides seed funding, mentorship, technical support, legal and regulatory guidance, marketing and PR support, and access to the Binance ecosystem.

MVB Accelerator Program is a 6-week program that helps promising blockchain projects scale their products and grow their user base. MVB Accelerator Program provides funding, mentorship, technical support, marketing and PR support, and access to the Binance ecosystem.

Binance Labs has incubated and accelerated 36 projects in 2023, covering various sectors and regions. Some of the notable projects that have graduated from Binance Labs’ programs in 2023 include:

  • Dune Analytics, a decentralized analytics platform that allows anyone to create, share, and explore data from Ethereum and other blockchains. Dune Analytics raised a $8M Series A round led by Union Square Ventures in September 2023.
  • Injective Labs, a layer-2 decentralized exchange protocol that supports unlimited markets, fast transactions, and zero gas fees. Injective Labs launched its mainnet in October 2023, and partnered with Terra, Harmony, and Polygon to enable cross-chain trading.
  • Polygon, a layer-2 scaling solution that offers a framework for building and connecting Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks. Polygon has become one of the most popular platforms for Web3 applications, with over 3,000 dapps, 200 million transactions, and 7 million users as of December 2023.
  • SafePal, a hardware wallet that securely stores and manages crypto assets. SafePal has sold over 200,000 units of its hardware wallet, and launched its own app and token (SFP) in 2023.

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