Animoca Brands Expands Web3 Strategy with $30M Investment in Hong Kong-Based Super App

Hi claims to have more than 3.5 million global users with over one million having already passed the know-your-customer checks.
Image source: Animoca Brands

Quick take:

  • Animoca Brands has invested $30 million in Hi, a local mobile banking and crypto exchange services provider.
  • The crypto startup recently launched a trading platform exclusively for Hong Kong residents.
  • Hong Kong recently introduced a policy that bars crypto companies from promoting or offering their products without a licence from the Securities and Futures Commission.

Animoca Brands has invested $30 million in Hi, a Hong Kong-based mobile banking services and crypto exchange company. The investment comes at a time when the industry is experiencing a slump in capital injection from VCs.

So what convinced the Hong Kong-based web3 investment company to make such a big bet at this time? 

First, Hi is a Super App, renowned for partnering with Mastercard to customise credit cards with NFTs. The web3 startup offers mobile banking services and recently received a licence to offer trading services in Hong Kong.

Animoca Brands has established itself as one of the leading investors in the web3 space with leading metaverse platforms like The Sandbox, and several blockchain games.

The company has created a portfolio of more than 170 companies including those it holds major stakes.

According to Yat Siu, the Animoca Brands co-founder and executive chairman, Hi fits perfectly into its vision of developing the open metaverse.

“Hi is a mass consumer audience product that will familiarize its users with Web3 and will be able to appeal both to users that are already part of Animoca Brands’ core gaming, education and cultural audience, as well as those outside of those areas.”

“When mass adoption increases it will bring further awareness and strengthening of digital property rights, which will accelerate the emergence of the open metaverse. Our view is that can play an important role in that future,” Siu said in a comment to NFTgators.

Having tapped Mastercard to personalise credit cards with NFTs, Hi thinks it can leverage Animoca Brands’ huge portfolio of companies to create similar experiences. 

“There are many areas for collaboration. This will undoubtedly enhance awareness and offer valuable opportunities for user onboarding within their ecosystem.”

“One of the key advantages will be enabling our users to make direct transactions with tokens from the Animoca Brands ecosystem such as SAND, EDU, APE, REVV, GMEE, and others through Hi Debit Cards,” hi’s co-founder Sean Rach told Decrypt.

And Siu also sees his company’s stake in Hi as being more of a strategic partnership than just an investment. According to Siu, this partnership will help Animoca Brands to position well for the next influx of users and capital into Web3.

“Hi is developing a true mass market consumer product that develops use cases for spending tokens. For example, with hi’s debit card product you can actually buy your coffee using your crypto, and hi’s users enjoy personalized IBANs directly on their hi accounts,” he said.

The crypto startup has already made significant progress in securing crypto promotion and exchange operations in Hong Kong.

The company recently launched a separate trading platform exclusively available to Hong Kong residents. Hi says it has already secured pre-registration activities under the supervision of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), thus securing a licence as a virtual trading platform, SCMP reported

According to Hi, its global platform has already onboarded more than 3.5 million users, with more than 1 million passing the know-your-customer checks, required under the new SFC rules.


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