Play now, pay later: Halliday bags $6M seed round led by a16z

Play now pay later

Play now pay later

Blockchain-based games have seen a surge in popularity, but playing them is getting expensive. Play-to-earn games like StepN require players to purchase an NFT before they can participate, while other crypto video games offer users pricey upgrades such as virtual avatars and distinctive skins or costumes.

Halliday, a startup founded last November by Akshay Malhotra and Griffin Dunaif, is building a “buy now, pay later”-style financing product targeting gamers who want to pay off in-game purchases over time.

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“It’s quite remarkable that video games, these virtual worlds, now have fully fledged market economies. In these worlds, you have digital property, digital ownership and items with real-world value. One thing we were struck by was that because these things have real-world value, it can actually be quite difficult to acquire them and have ownership, and one of the fundamental tenets of blockchain is that ownership,” CTO Dunaif told TechCrunch in an interview.

As is the case with many traditional BNPL providers such as Klarna and AfterPay, Halliday’s product will be interest-free for users, CEO Malhotra, who previously worked in the hedge fund space, said.

Unlike with traditional BNPL providers, though, Halliday won’t charge penalty fees to users who default on their payments, Malhotra explained.

Instead, he described Halliday as a “repo” product. Gamers can purchase an in-game asset with a Halliday extension at checkout and start using it immediately, but the asset will be stored with Halliday until it is fully paid off, Malhotra said. Once the payments are complete, Halliday will transfer custody of the asset to the gamer, he added.

If a gamer doesn’t pay what they owe on time, rather than reporting the delinquency to a credit agency, Halliday will just take back control of the digital asset, according to Malhotra. Halliday has developed its own smart contracts that “wrap” NFTs, meaning that gamers possessing those wrapped NFTs can use the underlying object but cannot sell, transfer or hold the rights to the NFT itself. Game developers, too, often have their own internal access mechanisms that would prevent a user from taking possession of a virtual asset and holding onto it if they aren’t authorized to do so, he added.


Play now pay later

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