FinLab EOS VC Fund and several angel investors have invested a combined $2 million in Uplandme, maker of a digital property-trading game running on top of the EOS blockchain.
The funds will be used to support the development and launch of Upland, which is currently available in beta, and will become widely available later this year.
The game, known as Upland, is billed as “‘Monopoly’ meets blockchain,” and as in the classic Parker Brothers board game, players buy, sell, and trade imaginary properties based on real-world addresses. The twist is that instead of paper cards, it uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or digital collectibles similar to CryptoKitties, to confer ownership of an asset.
Unlike most digital games, however, properties that are recorded on the blockchain throughout the gameplay will be truly owned by the players, not the gaming company, Uplandme says. And just like in real life, land in this virtual realm has a fixed supply.
“We expect that the game momentum will be driven by the simple fact that there is a natural scarcity of available properties because they are based on real-world addresses,” said Uplandme co-founder Dirk Lueth.
Lueth and his partners, Mani Honigstein and Idan Zuckerman, aim to disrupt the $50 billion market for casual (mass market) games.
“One game night, while playing Monopoly and watching the Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’ we got thinking about a property game in a parallel universe and realized how properties that are based on real-world addresses can be the perfect collectible NFT,” Lueth told CoinDesk.
Angel investors in the seed round include Kai Bolik, co-founder and CEO of Gameduell, a gaming community with more than 70 games and 130 million players worldwide; Jan Sprengnetter, CEO of Sprengnetter Group, a property valuation provider; and Markus Ogurek, a former vice president of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
The lead investor, FinLab EOS VC Fund, is backed by Block.one, the company that built the EOS blockchain, and FinLab AG, which focuses on investing in German financial technology companies.
“We invested into Uplandme, Inc. because we like the genuine idea of a virtual property market powered by the EOS Blockchain and the very experienced and passionate team behind it,” said Stefan Schuetze, managing director of FinLab EOS VC Fund.
To be sure, Upland is one among many blockchain-based games in various stages of development.
Upland players will be able to trade their properties on a marketplace for an in-game currency called UPX. Beta testers are currently able to trade properties in a virtual San Francisco.
Monopoly board image via Shutterstock