Valhalla Deep Dive Analysis
What is Valhalla?
Valhalla is the core IP brand behind the team at Stacked Studios, who plan to build a Web3 gaming streaming platform. This involves leveraging the technology of NFTs and Web3 to bring more value to both consumers and content creators
Alex: CEO https://twitter.com/notalexlin
Featured in Forbes under 30 list in 2019. Admitted 2x into Y-Combinator, with the first time being at the age of 19. His second start-up Hush scaled revenue to $30m+ and raised $50m in capital from firms such as Goldman Sachs, Index Ventures, etc. Worked with helping Offline TV scale and grow in the early stages with a number of successful streamers (@pokimanelol, scarra, @DisguisedToast and @LilyPichu).
Accomplishments thus far:
The team minted out on the 23rd November, and revealed art exactly two weeks after on the 7th December. Following this, they have taken a snapshot of holders, who will be getting 5 airdrops over a two week period for their new token utility. Further, they have announced their first utility: “The Armory,” a place where NFT holders can reroll certain traits by burning their armory token. This is expected to be released on 14 December, 2022. Within the span of three weeks the team has minted out, PFP reveal, token drop and released their first utility, demonstrating their strong ability to execute.
Most projects focus on selling out their project and building their community, before defining their vision and finding an operational business model. Contrary to this, Valhalla has already sourced VC funding, built a team with previous experience and then built the community - demonstrating that Valhalla is designed to solve a real-world problem with the current streaming platform services. Additionally, they have already set their long term vision, at a stage where many NFT projects are still trying to find their operation model. Currently, no other NFT projects plan to offer live-streaming (e.g. similar to twitch) within the Web3 space, this gives Valhalla a first mover advantage and a monopoly if executed well.
Partnerships & Series A Funding
Valhalla has formed partnerships with many large esports organisations: T1 (@T1), Sentinels (@Sentinels), JDG (@JDGaming), PSG Talon (@Talon_esports), and GenG (@GenG). Their series A funding raised 15 million dollars from VCs, including Seed Round investors such as: Pantera Capital (Crypto’s Premier VC Fund), Line Global Ventures, GFRFund, @eddylu (CEO, @goatapp), @alexandr_wang (CEO, @scale_AI), @getpeid (CEO, @nothing), and @bolingj (CEO, @lithic).
General Issues with NFTs
Based on our observations, most NFT projects do not have the ability to survive the upcoming 2–3 years. This all comes down to how they are able to sustain themselves. NFT founders and CEOs must treat their projects like a business, creating methods of generating revenue to continue operations and grow. This is the fundamental issue which projects within this space are trying to solve. Thus, having a successful entrepreneur like Alex with experience in scaling multiple businesses significantly increases the likelihood of success for Valhalla. In the event that Valhalla is able to execute their plans well, there will be more than enough sustainable revenue inflow.
What makes Stacked different to other livestreaming platforms:
Currently Twitch takes a cut of between 30–50% of a given streamer’s subscription revenue. This makes it harder for smaller content streamers to survive solely on earnings, forcing them to rely on secondary forms of income. Moreover, as Twitch, Youtube, Chinese and Korean streaming platforms like Douyu and AfreecaTv are centralized, they can remove content at any moment in time. An issue worth considering is that if projects such as BAYC are successful in creating their MMORPG, there is a chance that the platforms won’t be crypto friendly. Such regulations would lead to the removal of related content, leaving no platform for Web3 games to stream.
Stack Studios offers streamers a better stream of revenue by being part of the Web 3 system, while also giving streamers more opportunity to monetize their community and reward back their community at the same time (expanded on below). They also provide streamers with more control over their channels and content. The way that Valhalla and Stacked studios is designed, it is for stakeholders (shareholders, valhalla, streamers and consumers) to work together, rather than each having a conflict of interest and trying to benefit from the other. In our view, this gives them an advantage over Twitch and other platforms.
As of 12/12/2022, we estimate that Valhalla has generated Capital and Revenue of — $15,000,000 (seed round investors) + 0.5 eth x 8000 (mints) + 0.35eth x 1000 (estimated discounted mints) + 7900 eth x 0.05 (royalties) = $20,947,000 USD Although Valhalla and Stacked Studios revenue model isn’t confirmed, we can speculate it will consist and not limited to the following: subscription, advertisement, brand sponsorships, creator content promotion, Valhalla royalties and royalties from content creator NFT skins sales.
If Valhalla take even a fraction of Twitch, for instance, 5% of the market, they would be earning $130,000,000 USD (based off of Twitch’s 2021 annual revenue). Twitch has also experienced a 41% gain on revenue from 2020 when considering 2021 figures, showing the growth of not only Twitch but the live-streaming gaming market as a whole.
Alex has also spoken about the possibility of expanding into the Chinese live streaming market (forecasted to be worth $8,900,000,000 USD in 2023). Having already partnered with brands like JDG (a top tier Esports organisation in China), we believe there is strong potential for Stacked and Valhalla to expand into the Chinese market. Further, partnerships with SKT and GenG, some of the top Korean gaming esports organisations, also give Stacked and Valhalla scope to explore the Korean market, which is extremely crypto friendly with the Government having invested over $177 million USD into metaverse and crypto-related projects. Lastly, Alex has also referenced BiliBili, one of the largest streaming platforms in China, which generates 40% of their revenue from gaming. From this, we can infer that there is a possibility that Alex may consider building and licensing games in the future, creating another revenue stream for Valhalla and Stacked.
Possible NFT Utilities: Governance Token
As the governance token is airdropped to holders, over time the community and influencers will own more than the core team, therefore giving them control over the direction of valhalla. This is important because traditionally platforms have full control over the content posted onto their platforms while creators and fans have little control. Constrastingly, Valhalla’s decentralized model of ownership gives the community/holders/creators influence over the platform. We’ve seen people like Yassuo and Dr Disrespect get banned without any reason or knowledge on platforms like twitch and youtube, but with the model that Alex has proposed this would not happen as the community itself would have voting rights. Stacked Studios team can bring further utility to the token through implementing a requirement to subscribe with the token, that purchases on Valhalla can only be made with the token, or advertisers can only buy ads with the token. This gives the token inherent value and utility whilst also rewarding holders and bringing value to the community. Another issue solved by the proposed model, as pointed out by Alex, is how challenging it currently is for small streamers to grow and earn (for 1 million hours watched, the amount earnt is only $7600 on Youtube). Alex has raised the idea for Valhalla, that if you help these small streamers grow both the platform, the content creator can reward you for your efforts. We have dubbed this as p2e “promote to earn,” which can be implemented alongside a “watch to earn” model. These are similar to the “play to earn” (Axie Infinity, Defi Kingdoms) and “move to earn” (Stepn) metas in the past. However, this would be without the “ponzinomics” and only act as an extra utility of the ecosystem rather than being a core pillar.
We have identified several challenges that Valhalla and Stacked Studios may face: While it appears that Alex has established some utility for NFT holders who are also content creators, but has yet to bring tangible value to non-creator NFT holders; Trying to take on Twitch, Youtube, Douyu, AfreecaTV is no easy task and there is risk of retaliation; and There still exists negative stigma around Web3, crypto and NFTs, especially from web 2 PC gamers. While Valhalla may be able to onboard creators, the team might struggle with onboarding viewership onto the platform.
Areas for Development
Aftering minting out Valhalla received some FUD as they did not make any post on their main channel, and some thought they may have been rugged. In hindsight, the Valhalla team should have continuously communicated for those few days. Although Valhalla has a strong community, this consists of only 39% unique holders, which is relatively low compared to BAYC at 64%, Doodles at 54%, and Azuki at 50%. The mobile gaming market is currently worth an estimated $220 billion, and is still growing in developing economies like South-East Asia, South America and China. An example of a project which has good coverage within this sphere is Axie Infinity, where 40% of the player base is estimated to be from the Philippines. We would recommend Valhalla to consider allocating resources to capture part of the mobile segment of the gaming market as there is huge growth potential in this market.
To finish, we would like to applaud Valhalla’s community building skills. They have hosted 3 AMA’s, one of which was with the T1 CEO (@JoeMar). The CEO (Alex) and Chief of Staff (Ryan) have taken the time out of their day to allow any holders to book a twenty minute one-on-one session with them. The Valhalla team is always on discord (voice or channels) and twitter for you to be able to speak to them. The Valhalla team (shoutouts to @NFTea_Sammi) and community constantly have daily discord events from LOL ,Overwatch, Valorant, TFT, and even just holder hangouts. This is the only NFT discord that we can observe ongoing activity, where people are in the voice hangouts gaming or chilling. Alex himself has promised to follow back all Val holders and spent his own time to create wallpaper backgrounds for holders.
Unbound’s Final Thoughts
Ultimately, when deciding on what project to invest in, it is essentially a bet on the team. We personally would rather place a bet on a team that has proven skills and track record, rather than a team that is completely new without any experience like many other NFT projects. This is merely our take on Valhalla and Stacked Studios. Open to any discussion, criticism or areas of improvement I could have done. We would also like to disclose that our team owns three Valhalla NFTs, however, our views are not influenced by this. Finally, we just wanted to shout out to the team and community for doing such an amazing job. Thank you for reading all the way till the end.