Improbable launched M2, a Web3 infrastructure initiative that provides the technology for interconnected metaverse universes. M2 has received $150 million from Softbank, Andreessen Horowitz and other investors at a valuation of $1 billion.
Metaverse has been the talk of the town since Facebook’s Meta redesign. But, it could take years for the vision of an immersive and experiential future internet to become a reality at large scale. This will require substantial infrastructure. Improbable, a gaming tech startup, hopes to be the first to take this initiative with significant funding.
Improbable from London, today revealed M2 (MSquared), a new entity that will concentrate on the development of Web3 technology to bring large-scale metaverse universes to life. It also allows interoperability to allow users to transfer NFT items and assets between worlds. The NFTs are crypto tokens that can be used to prove ownership of digital items.
M2 is separate from the main Improbable business and has raised its own funds. The new entity raised $150 million for a $1 billion valuation. It is the latest in a long list of crypto unicorns or companies in this space worth $1 billion or more.
Softbank and Andreessen Horowitz, a16z, co-led the round of funding, which also included participation from Mirana and SIG, Digital Currency Group (DGC), Ethereal Ventures and Mirana.
The metaverse is a vision of the future web in which users interact with 3D avatars within immersive environments. This will allow them to socialize, shop, work and play as well as for work, play and shopping. Ethereum-based Decentraland games and Sandbox show the potential for a larger metaverse.
Crypto builders envision a metaverse that allows users to carry their NFT assets between worlds. However, this may not be true for all companies trying to create the metaverse. It’s not clear how interoperable and open Facebook’s metaverse will actually be.
M2 was apparently designed with interoperability as its goal. This initiative combines Improbable’s Morpheus gaming tech–which is said to allow richly detailed online worlds that can host more than 10,000 users–with new Web3 tools.
According to a release, it’s intended to bring metaverse realms to life but can also be used with existing worlds and new projects. Below is an embedded trailer that shows the technology in action. It features over 1,000 players interacting in a shared world.
It remains to be determined how M2 will bridge between metaverse worlds. Improbable CEO and cofounder Herman Narula described the current blockchain bridges with Microsoft as “a rather crude solution” and promised a whitepaper on its cybersecurity plans.
In recent months, cross-chain bridges have become a more common target for hackers. The bridge connecting play-to-earn game AxieInfinity to the Ethereum mainnet was exploited last month for $622 million in cryptocurrency. The Wormhole bridge linking Ethereum and Solana had been hacked in February for $320 million.
According to Bloomberg M2 investors will eventually get crypto tokens in return for funding. However, it won’t be a majority of the supply. Narula stated to the publication that the company intends to let users manage the platform in a nod toward progressive delegation.
Softbank and Andreessen each led an earlier round of financing for Improbable, the main entity, not the new M2 initiative. It was valued at approximately $2 billion in 2017, after a $502,000,000 Series B round.
Improbable was unable to execute on SpatialOS’ gaming infrastructure and multiple games were shut down shortly after it was funded. Bloomberg admitted that the technology it used in its early days was more difficult to use than it should have been.