Investing in Proof of Play

Chris DixonJoshua Lu

Composability is one of the most powerful forces enabled by blockchains: for the first time, users can take code, assets, and items from one application and use them with another. In previous eras of the web, this was impossible because every social network, marketplace, exchange, and game engine has its own system of closed servers, but in web3 everyone shares the same open database. On-chain developers can build new smart contracts which augment an existing protocol, artists can launch derivative works, and anyone can create new frontends that render code in different ways. 

These benefits extend to on-chain games: permissionless extensions, new clients, forked code, and opportunities for artists are all possible. For decades, many of the world’s most popular games have benefitted from modding and user-created plugins: Counter-Strike initially started as a mod of the 1998 game Half-Life (which itself was developed on the 1997 Quake II game engine). Sid Meier, the creator of Civilization, has said that “the strength of the modding community is, instead, the very reason the series survived.”

On-chain games bring modding from the background to the foreground  – something the entire community can own. 

That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’re leading a Seed investment in Proof of Play, an on-chain game studio and technology company led by Amitt Mahajan. Amitt is a brilliant founder who is uniquely native to both games and crypto: he founded MyMiniLife (acquired by Zynga), co-created the Zynga game FarmVille and was the co-founder and CTO of early NFT marketplace Rare Bits. 

Proof of Play is focused on building fun, complex, and innovative games that push the limits of modern blockchains. Its first on-chain game, Pirate Nation, is a social role-playing game (RPG) that went live in December. On the surface, Pirate Nation looks similar to other RPG games, but under the hood it’s very different. Its on-chain game contracts act as building blocks for developers to create their own games, or extend out from the core Pirate Nation world. If you want to build a RTS shooter game for the Pirate Nation NFTs, or a dynamic sim for one of the pirate characters, you’re able to. 

Amitt and the entire Proof of Play team are committed to a gaming future where composability, interoperability, and permanence are at the core of gameplay: you own your assets, and anyone can create their own game on top of another. They’re expanding their studio and technology team to create immersive new games, and build decentralized infrastructure that enables players to craft and scale autonomous worlds. 

We’re thrilled to be backing Proof of Play as they build towards this vision. If you’re a gamer, give Pirate Nation a try, and if you’re interested in helping Proof of Play build the future, the team is currently hiring


The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the current or enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at

Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see for additional important information.