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At Samsung NEXT, we believe the technology world is in the midst of a paradigm shift, one in which the world is rapidly moving from a world of centralized applications and services to those which are decentralized.

Given the stage we’re at in that transformation, we believe the most value created today will be from advancements that come in the protocol and infrastructure layer of the blockchain world.

This is why we are excited to be investors in Dapper Labs, which is building an open, end-to-end ecosystem to onboard the first billion consumers to the decentralized web.

You might know Dapper Labs as the creators of CryptoKitties, which is one of the first decentralized apps (“dapps”) to gain mainstream adoption, and KittyVerse, which enables third-party developers to become a part of its “kitty” ecosystem.

What you might not know is that their ambitions go beyond just blockchain-enabled pets, as Dapper Labs seeks to build the go-to destination for creative brands to launch their own decentralized digital assets, whether they be kitty-themed or independent.

We first met Dapper Labs at the Blockstack Conference in Berlin, and we immediately looked for ways that Samsung could collaborate with the team, with investment being one option. Given the team’s earlier success building multiple games and the trajectory of CryptoKitties, we were excited to partner with them.

Dapper Labs pioneered the ERC-721 protocol for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and released the first game to gain mass adoption on the Ethereum blockchain. And by leveraging the initial traction of CryptoKitties and learnings from their go-to-market, Dapper Labs is looking to produce repeatable network effects, economy of scale, and vibrant communities in the blockchain world.

We saw multiple themes in Dapper Labs' approach that set them apart from other companies in the market:

  • A focus on collectibles & identity. We see blockchain as enabling a society where digital ownership is real and can be the bedrock for identity and self-expression the same way physical objects are
  • A fixation on building for mainstream users. The team behind Dapper Labs understands the needs of mainstream consumers like no others we've seen in the blockchain industry, and their innovation on app-layer and infrastructure at the same time meant they were making decisions in core technology that were driven completely by user needs
  • Interoperability across different ecosystems. The capabilities of NFTs enable extensibility, permissionless innovation, and interoperable smart contracts that allow worlds like KittyVerse to emerge -- and for third parties to build real businesses on top of CryptoKitties without taking platform risk.

Gaming and digital pets are just the tip of the iceberg: Dapper Labs is creating a protocol-agnostic platform that other developers can use to share their own NFTs. Altogether, the company is developing an open, end-to-end ecosystem of apps, middleware, developer tools, and more to remove friction of crypto for content creators and consumers.

We look forward to seeing what comes next, not just from the Dapper Labs team, but from developers and partners they are enabling to build their own next-gen, decentralized digital assets and applications.