Animoca Brands and the Open Metaverse with Yat Siu

Animoca Brands and the Open Metaverse with Yat Siu
Yat Siu, co-founder, Animoca Brands discuss the open metaverse, true digital ownership, NFTs & blockchain gaming.

Fresh out of the studio, Yat Siu, co-founder of Animoca Brands joined us in a conversation about the story of the company and offered his perspectives on true digital ownership, blockchain gaming, NFTs and the open metaverse. Yat Siu started the conversation with his backstory and how he eventually spun off the company Animoca Brands from the parent company to focus on blockchain gaming. Last but not least, he share his thoughts on the open metaverse and what it means for true digital ownership and play to earn in the crypto gaming space.

"The open Metaverse, from our perspective, is the real Metaverse, because you can then have ownership. Once you have ownership, you care to keep it because it's precious and meaningful to you, but if you don't own anything, then you actually don't care to protect it because you're just simply a guest. And I think this is part of why we are so excited about non fungible tokens as digital property rights." - Yat Siu

Here are the links and show notes for this episode:


  • Yat Siu, Co-founder, Executive Chairman and managing director of Animoca Brands (LinkedIn, @ysiu, personal blog)
  • Before we discuss the key topics of the day, I am aware that you have an illustrious career with Outblaze and Atari before Animoca Brands. Hence I want to start with my first question: How did you start your career?
  • What are the key lessons you have learned through your own career journey and can share it with my audience out there?

Animoca Brands and the Open Metaverse

  • A quick introduction: Animoca Brands, ranked in the Financial Times list of High Growth Companies Asia-Pacific 2021, is a leader in digital entertainment, blockchain, and gamification. Animoca Brands develops and publishes a broad portfolio of products including the REVV token and SAND token; original games including The Sandbox, Crazy Kings, and Crazy Defense Heroes; and products utilizing popular intellectual properties including Formula 1®, Marvel, WWE, Power Rangers, MotoGP™, and Doraemon. Animoca Brands’ portfolio of blockchain investments and partnerships includes Sky Mavis (Axie Infinity), Dapper Labs (CryptoKitties and NBA
  • Shot), OpenSea, Harmony, Bitski, and Alien Worlds. Of course, it has recently raised what is considered for the Chinese as the lucky Chinese number of $88,888,888 for a billion valuation which include Kingsway Capital, RIT Capital Partners (formerly Rothschild Investment Trust), HashKey Fintech Investment Fund, AppWorks Fund, LCV Fund, Huobi, Octava,  Ellerston Capital, Perennial, Axia Infinity Ventures, SNZ, Liberty City Ventures, Metapurse, and other investors. Two days back, Animoca Brands raised another $65m at 2.2B valuation from well-known players: Ubisoft (game maker) and Sequoia China. How did that happen?
  • What is the mission and vision of Animoca Brands?
  • Animoca Brands is spun off from Animoca which started in 2010, and what was the inspiration behind the company?
  • How did it eventually evolve into the current state?
  • In your medium post “Toward the Future Economy”, you highlighted Animoca Brands as “one of the very first mainstream game companies that identified and acted upon two important opportunities in gaming presented by blockchain technology: true digital ownership and play-to-earn.” To start, can you define what true digital ownership and play to earn mean in the gaming industry?
  • What are the drivers that led you to identify these two key trends earlier than most gaming companies out there?
  • Can you talk about the context in how Animoca Brands have contributed to these two major trends: true digital ownership and play to earn?
  • As Animoca Brands have been early in their investments with Opensea, Axie Infinity (AXS) and Dapper Labs, who are behind CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot, how do you decide to invest them in an early stage and what have you learned from these successful investments which have come of age this year with the NFT boom?
  • In your view, how do you define the concept of the metaverse? What are the key ingredients that constitute what a successful metaverse looks like?
  • Can you talk about different games from Animoca Brands that extends the narrative of the metaverse, for example, the F1 Delta Time where it is a racing game for players to compete for SAND, GAMEE, REVV tokens and the Sandbox, where user generated content builds a metaverse?
  • Will NFTs or gaming tokens from play-to-earn economies be interoperable in the future?
  • Do you think the “Ready Player One” world where the current play to earn economies will mesh together with augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) in the future?
  • What does great look like for Animoca Brands in a decade’s time?


  • Any recommendations (a book, podcast, movie or TV series) that have inspired you recently?
  • Yat Siu's recommendation: Twitter feed checking out #NFTs and daily interactions with the NFT community.  
  • How do my audience find you?

Additional note: Yat Siu's profile photo is credited to Kevin Abosch.

Podcast Information: The show is hosted and produced by Bernard Leong (@bernardleong, Linkedin) and Carol Yin (@CarolYujiaYin, LinkedIn). Sound credits for the intro and end music: "Run it" by DJ Snake, Rick Ross and Rich Brian and the episode is edited by Geoffrey Thomas Craig.