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Zora has raised $50 million from crypto fund Haun Ventures and others to enable anyone to create and sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Crypto investor Katie Haun announced in March she had raised $1.5 billion for her new fund after leaving venture firm Andreessen Horowitz. Haun Ventures is dedicated to web 3 investments.
The round valued Zora at $600 million, and it also includes investments from Coinbase Ventures, Kindred Ventures, and more.
Zora is a public protocol for anyone in the world to buy, sell, and create NFTs. Unlike other protocols, Zora said it focuses on intuitive tooling and a diverse, energized NFT community to make it possible for people to launch entire NFT collections, independent marketplaces, and experiences.
Zora is where many record-breaking NFT auctions have been built and sold, i.e. the Doge NFT ($4 million), the first TikTok NFT, Mad Realities, James Jean ($6 million) Poolsuite, Punks House, and the Warhol Foundation.
A lot of people use Zora without knowing it. Zora tackles technical challenges and produces easy-to-use tools for developers and artists. Over 50% of the volume on the Zora protocol happens on marketplaces that are not on the Zora website.
Jacob Horne, cofounder of Zora, said in a blog post that the company began its journey with the shared belief that creativity should never be gatekept by the suits, corps, and institutions.
“In our original manifesto, we set out to collectively shatter the idea that They Thought They Could Own Us,” Horne wrote. “Since then, each member of our community has been working to dismantle the gates that have historically held back our creative independence. Today, we are excited to introduce our latest venture contributor supporting these efforts.”
Horne said that, for the community, this means more open tooling to build independence—whether it be a new collection, a new marketplace, or a new app. It means easier tools for artists and teams to launch any NFT collection they would like: editions, generative drops, dutch auctions, and whatever’s next.
“For our ecosystem, this is an acceleration of the public infrastructure that facilitates your advancement as artists, developers, and communities. It means more permissionless code deployed on more chains, better APIs, more Zoratopias around the world, and an increase in grants and hackathons,” Horne said.
The company is launching the Zora DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) to expand ownership of Zora to its community. Zora will always be permissionless infrastructure, Horne said.
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