Published on: 01/07/2022
Open metaverse platform Mona raises $14.6 million in latest funding round
Mona, a metaverse world creation platform, recently announced the completion of a $14.6 million Series A funding round led by Protocol Labs. It was joined by Placeholder, OpenSea Ventures, Polygon Studios, ConsenSys, Venture Reality Fund, and other crypto-native funds and angel investors, including NFT influencer gmoney, Rahilla Zafar, Conlan Rios, Miles Anthony, and Dennison Bertram, among others.
Mona, according to CEO Justin Melillo, was designed by artists for artists. It serves as a channel and network for creators to create, mint and sell engaging metaverse worlds as NFTs. Everyone can use their browser to generate and connect to the world-building platform for free, and designers can mint their own Metaverse worlds on the Ethereum or Polygon blockchains.
The Mona platform aims to create an economic system where artists and collectors can influence implementation in a shared digital universe. The company does not sell virtual assets or tokens. It does not charge creators any upfront fees and is developing tools, systems, and protocols for the open metaverse. On the Monaverse platform, there are no land restrictions or entry fees.
Despite the fact that virtual space is theoretically infinite, Mona’s co-founder and CEO wondered why property in the metaverse is so costly and difficult to obtain. “Artificial scarcity is just silly,” said Justin Melillo referring to platforms fueled by “land” speculation.
Mona began accepting creators in October and now has over 3,000 users in its metaverse, creating virtual worlds. It is already being used to build and display realistically detailed architecture, art, dynamic 3D greenery, interactive POAP treasure hunts, digital events and concerts, and escape rooms.
Mona versus competitors
Melillo intends Mona as a springboard to develop the metaverse as a universal technology accessible to all. “The metaverse doesn’t have to belong to big tech companies,” he said. “It can, and will, be a place for everyone.”
Since October last year, creators have earned more than $500,000 by minting and selling tokenized virtual worlds. Creators receive money as well as permanent royalty payments on each resale of their tokenized worlds by selling them.
Mona also collaborated with Filecoin, a decentralized cloud storage network, to launch Filecoin Forum, the world’s largest metaverse build bounty, with over $200,000 on the line.
There are virtual worlds that compete with Mona, such as Minecraft and Roblox, but the art in those worlds isn’t as diverse. In contrast, other worlds continue to emphasize the land purchase model and artificial scarcity. Mona’s surroundings are completely multiplayer, and communication is backed by voice chat, text chat and hyperlinking.
Mona’s distinctiveness stands out due to its configurable avatars, thanks to a partnership with Ready Player Me. It also supports voice and text chat and features token-gated access for people who want to sell tickets or token-gate virtual worlds based on NFT or ERC 20 ownership. Creators can also connect to external platforms and web pages while remaining true to the concept of an open metaverse.
Furthermore, while many metaverse platforms profit from the vast market by selling land, property investment, and other virtual assets, Mona wants creators to be able to openly cultivate their craftsmanship and earn money by building in the metaverse without financial constraints.