Editor’s note: updated with information from Sorare’s press statement

Paris-based fantasy soccer non-fungible tokens (NFT) platform Sorare has raised $680 million in Series B funding round led by Japan-based investor SoftBank, giving it a valuation of $4.3 billion, according to a statement.

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Julia said in a post that the fundraise is the largest in the history of French tech and the largest in Europe for a Series B.

Led by SoftBank, he said this fundraise was made with the participation of Atomico, Bessemer Ventures, D1 Capital, Eurazeo, IVP, and Liontree, joining historical investors such as Benchmark, Accel and Partech, and business angels including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and soccer players Gerard Piqué, Rio Ferdinand, Antoine Griezmann and César Azpilicueta.

“This fundraising will help deliver our key objective: to create the next world champion in sports entertainment, by leveraging NFTs,” he said in a post on Tuesday.

To achieve this, the company will use the funds to continue to build a world-class team — by recruiting the best talents from all over the world, sign new partnerships — bringing the top 20 football leagues onboard and the top 50 national teams, accelerate on mobile and marketing and expand into new sports.

The company has received interest from leagues and fans across the globe to replicate Sorare model in other sports and it plans to roll out new sports in 2022.

Sorare operates at the intersection of the fast growing NFT market ($2.5 billion already sold this year), sports cards ($5 billion) and global fantasy sports ($48 billion by 2027), creating a multi-billion-dollar total addressable market opportunity.

Sorare cards are NFTs, meaning each card is unique, scarce, and its ownership is publicly verifiable via the Ethereum blockchain. It is a secure and transparent model of digital ownership.

Through collecting, owning, and trading these limited edition digital collectibles, Sorare said it is designing a unique game experience where users can truly own their game and build real world connections.

The company has experienced tremendous growth this year with over $150 million worth of cards traded on the platform since January. The number of monthly active paying Sorare users grew by 34 times between second quarter (Q2) 2020 and Q2 2021, with quarterly sales increasing by 51 times over the same period, according to its statement.

The company has over 600,000 registered users on the platform and has licensed players from over 180 football organizations, including Real Madrid, Liverpool, Juventus, the French and German Football Federation.

The company’s ambition in football is to onboard the top 20 football leagues globally and the top 50 football associations, across not just men’s football but also women’s football.

This gaming experience allows leagues and clubs to expand their international brand by reaching an untapped audience of fans. Sorare said it is effectively opening up a new traceable and sustainable revenue stream for professional sports organizations globally.

Founded in 2018, Sorare is a global fantasy soccer game where players can trade official digital cards. The officially licensed cards represent soccer players and build teams that play against each other. These cards are traded in the form of NFTs, a crypto asset that records the ownership status of digital goods on the blockchain.

In February, Sorare announced that it has received $50 million in Series A financing, led by Benchmark, with additional funding from Accel and business angels including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Vayernmedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk, and Barcelona striker Antoine Griezmann.

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