A London-based games company is aiming to become the ‘Pixar of Web3’.

Cauldron is building three virtual worlds – two with a fantasy focus and one science fiction – after raising a $6.6 million seed funding round.

Mark Warrick, the company’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that the first of these – Project Nightshade (pictured) – will launch this autumn.

“A big bit missing from Web3 gaming is storytelling … people aren’t really coming back because there isn’t a reason to come back,” he said. “If you close your eyes and are listening to a Pixar film, you can’t see the art or technology but the story is still gripping you. Storytelling is what matters.

“Characters in normal entertainment are developed and observed by viewers, but imagine an empty world where we land those characters in there and you get to define those origin stories, villains, heroes and create your own version of Star Wars, Game of Thrones and watch it evolve.

“This is a new form of entertainment.”

He continued: “We focus on Pixar not because of aesthetics, but because they created a recipe with Toy Story, and 23 years later, they never had a mishit… we want to create a recipe with Project Nightshade and want to repeat that and make many worlds.

“In five years’ time, I’d love to have three worlds out there loved by millions, and in 10 years’ time, multiply that by four.”

Designing these worlds to allow people to own parts of them is fundamental to the vision.

“You have to look at what Web3 is: It’s about ownership of assets,” Warrick explained. “If you’re not designing around owning a part of a universe, then existing entertainment can’t translate to that.

“People really feel the sense of wanting to own things on the internet and owning a bit of a world, like owning a bit of Lord of the Rings or owning a bit of Star Wars

“We wish we had that chance, and now’s a chance for people to do that – but with new IP.”

The round was led by Cherry Ventures with participation from Cassius, Seedcamp and Playfair.

The next big cyber threat is Russia – & blockchain

Cryptocurrency shorts

Content aggregation, ranking and discussion website Reddit is to introduce a blockchain-backed avatar system in the coming weeks. It will see a set of limited-edition artwork created by independent artists – who are also Redditors – become available to be purchased with local currencies, with the artwork stored on the Polygon (MATIC) blockchain.

Spanish crypto exchange Bit2Me plans to add 250 employees during the next 12 months, doubling its headcount, co-founder and CEO Leif Ferreira told CoinDesk.

Retail trading app Robinhood has now enabled bitcoin transfers in and out of its app for all users.

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has temporarily eliminated trading fees on a wide range of bitcoin spot trading pairs – including BTC/USDT, BTC/BUSD, BTC/USDC, BTC/EUR and BTC/TRY – to celebrate its 5th anniversary.

Binance US has named former PayPal executive Jasmine Lee – who most recently served as the CFO and chief operating officer of investing application Acorns – as its chief financial officer.

Payments technology provider Banking Circle has added the USDC stablecoin to its rails for payment acceptance, processing and settlement. Its clients include, Payoneer, Paysafe and Stripe.

Blockchain company Kongregate has acquired Chilean mobile games development studio Gamaga for between €5-7m. Gamaga has produced titles for the likes of Sony, Div3rsion and iEntertainment Network. One of its latest games is Cobra Kai, a mobile card game based on the hit Netflix TV series.

Thalex, a trading platform offering stablecoin-settled crypto options and futures, has raised a Series A funding round of €7.5m. Among the participants are Bitfinex, Bitstamp, Flow Traders, IMC, QCP and Wintermute.

Crypto must decentralise to survive

Crypto prices

The overall market cap of the more than 20,100 coins is at $962.35 billion at the time of writing (7am UK), a 5.2% increase in the last 24 hours.

Market leader Bitcoin – the original cryptocurrency created by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto – gained 7% to $21,825. BTC is 12% up in a week.

Ethereum, the second most valuable crypto coin – created as a decentralised network for smart contracts on the blockchain – rose 7% to $1,245. ETH is 18% up over the course of a week.

Binance Coin is a cryptocurrency created by popular crypto exchange Binance to assist its aim in becoming the infrastructure services provider for the entire blockchain ecosystem. Its BNB token gained 2% to $241, leaving it 10% up over seven days.

The XRP token of Ripple, a payment settlement asset exchange and remittance system, acts as a bridge for transfers between other currencies. XRP gained 7% to 35 cents, with its price 11% up on seven days ago.

Cardano is an open source network facilitating dApps which considers itself to be an updated version of Ethereum. Its ADA token, designed to allow owners to participate in the operation of the network, grew 3% to almost 48c and is 6% up in a week.

Solana is a blockchain built to make decentralised finance accessible on a larger scale – and capable of processing 50,000 transactions per second. Its SOL token added 4% to $37.88 and is 16% higher than its price a week ago.

Meme coin DOGE was created as a satire on the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies but is now a major player in the space. DOGE gained 4% to 7.1c, leaving it 9% up in a week.

Polkadot was founded by the Swiss-based Web3 Foundation as an open-source project to develop a decentralised web. Its DOT token, which aims to securely connect blockchains, added 5% to $7.22 and is 9% up on its price a week ago.

Avalanche is a lightning-quick verifiable platform for institutions, enterprises and governments. Its AVAX token gained 7% to $20.18 and is 25% up in a week.

To see how the valuations of the main coins have changed in recent times – and for round-ups of recent cryptocurrency news developments – click here.

For valuations of the top 100 coins by market cap in US dollars, plus 24-hour price change, see below.