Saudi Arabia’s Future City Neom Will Invest $50 Million in Metaverse Giant Animoca

Neom, a $500 billion future city project, has aligned with metaverse firm Animoca Brands to consult on blockchain use cases.

Animoca Brands, a leading blockchain gaming and metaverse investment company, announced on Monday a strategic alliance and investment deal with Neom, the large-scale Saudi Arabian urban development project, to advance adoption of crypto technology in the Gulf region.

The companies signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on digital infrastructure projects that will support Neom’s Vision 2030 goals and establish a hub to grow the local blockchain ecosystem. Neom first announced an investment in Animoca Brands last week, but did not confirm details at the time.

Neom’s investment arm will also invest $50 million into Animoca Brands, pending finalization of agreements. According to the release, Neom will spend $25 million on convertible notes direct from the firm and spend another $25 million buying up Animoca shares on the secondary market.

“We are excited to partner with Animoca Brands to support the development of Neom’s digital infrastructure,” said Majid Mufti, CEO of Neom Investment Fund, in the company statement. “Web3 technology and infrastructure development will not only be an important foundation of Neom’s tech stack and architecture, but also has potential to revolutionize global industries.”

Animoca Brands will advise Neom on building blockchain-based services that can enable new models for living and working in the planned 34,000 square mile development in northern Saudi Arabia. Their collaboration will include various Web3 and metaverse projects tailored to Neom’s futuristic vision.

“We have always referred to the growth of the Web3 ecosystem as the emergence of a new meta-nation, and now Neom could well become the first region to fully harness the power of blockchain,” said Yat Siu, co-founder and chairman of Animoca Brands, in a release.

Neom is a planned urban metropolis in the Tabuk Province of Saudi Arabia, and it’s planned to embrace emerging technologies in pursuit of a futuristic, green energy-powered city. The project is expected to cost $500 billion in total, however it has faced criticism and scrutiny over the alleged forced eviction of local tribe members.

Animoca Brands is one of the most prominent blockchain game publishers and metaverse investors. The company is behind games like The Sandbox and Formula E: High Voltage, and has backed hundreds of Web3 firms including NFT marketplace OpenSea, NBA Top Shot maker Dapper Labs, and Axie Infinity game studio Sky Mavis. Animoca was last valued at $5.9 billion as of last year.

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