Los Angeles-based startup Carv said today it raised $4M in seed funding to build decentralized identity solutions for gaming applications that allow users to move freely between applications and games. 

The funding round was led by Singaporean-based venture capital firm Veterex and attracted participation from EVOS (ATTN Group), Snackclub, Infinity Ventures Crypto, YGG SEA, UpHonest Capital, Lyrik Ventures, Lintentry Foundation, PAKADAO, 7UpDAO, and others. Many of the investors bring infrastructure and gaming network partnerships for Carv, especially in the U.S., European and Latin American and Southeast Asian markets. 

Carv uses blockchain-based technology to allow users to host their own usernames and information themselves and carry it between applications. This information can include data such achievements users have earned games, reputation they have garnered, connections to friends that they have met along the way and more. Decentralized identity acts as a sort of single sign-in where the user generates a unique identity that users’ control. 

The company focused on Web3 gaming because it is the most consumer-facing market and that’s where the largest draw for decentralized identity opportunities currently exist. Web3 is the moniker given to the next-generation of the web, known as the decentralized web, where apps operate peer-to-peer without centralized authority and run using crypto token economies. 

“Gamer activities span across devices, platforms, and into real life. However, their time, effort, and money spent remain data points scattered across isolated ecosystems, with limited value to gamers,” said Victor Yu, co-founder and chief operating officer of Carv. “By creating the infrastructure to piece these breadcrumbs together, we are unlocking tremendous opportunities in how gamers interact in the gaming universe.” 

This paradigm has worked out well for Carv, Yu told TechCrunch, explaining that attempting to onboard traditional gaming users into Web3 is difficult because getting them used to cryptocurrency wallets and understanding private keys and memorizing long strings of numbers is difficult. Using decentralized identity gives them a unique ID that follows them from application to application that’s easier to maintain. 

Other companies creating self-sovereign identity products that allow users to own their own usernames and data using blockchain-based technology include Unstoppable Domains, which raised $65 million on a $1 billion valuation in July, and Spruce. Both of these companies provide a broader single sign-on credentialing products. 

Six months after the beta launch of the application, Carv has already partnered with over 90 games and brought 300,000 users into the fold with 160,000 of them are active monthly. 

The funding for Carv comes during a deepening downturn in crypto markets, and as a Web3 company it connects to crypto companies and economies. However, investors are still looking to bank on the future of Web3 and gaming. 

“With the belief that gaming will be the most important segment track for linking traditional users and enthusiasts in the Web3 world, we are very optimistic about the future market of Web3 gaming.” said Li Wei, partner at Vertex. 

With the new funding, Carv intends to expand its current talent pool and continue to build its credential infrastructure products with the help of ecosystem partners.

The company also said that it intends to expand out of gaming in the future to cover more industries and applications as the technology matures. The use cases for decentralized identity include productivity, social media, finance and more.

Carv is also building data driven infrastructure and analytics that will help gaming companies understand their users better by capturing gamer behavior by capturing insights and providing a better understanding into what users are doing and allowing companies to reach their audience more easily.

“There is a paradigm shift in how games think about user acquisition, business model, and in-game economy design,” said Yu. “With the shift comes challenges to games’ sustainability. Carv is uniquely positioned to work with game partners to address these challenges.”

Recently, the company formed a collaboration with over 30 games and partnered with BNBChain to kick off a campaign of gaming tournaments, game nights supported by talks, in-game quests and rewards to bring attention to its product. 

Image: Blue Planet Studio

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