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Web3 startup Eterlast has left stealth mode having secured $4.5m (£3.9m) in funding for its blockchain-based gaming experiences.

Eterlast develops NFTs in association with sporting and media franchise partners. The digital assets can be collected by consumers and used as part of gaming experiences.

The company has begun the development of blockchain games based on the sports of boxing and rugby. The startup has raised fresh capital against a backdrop of a plummeting NFT market in which the number of NFTs sold and the average price has collapsed.

“We understand NFTs not as a product, but as a technology that enhances the experience of current use cases around gaming, collecting, and experiencing live events. With that view, we are building holistic ecosystems that bring those three elements together,” said Eterlast founder and CEO, Joan Roure.

“This funding will enable us to launch our first officially licensed products to the market and to build robust pillars to keep scaling.”

The company has said for the next 12 months it will be focused on building its user base and securing more brand partnerships.

Eterlast was founded in the UK as part of Founders Factory, a startup accelerator and venture capital firm. The Web3 startup is partly based in Barcelona.

The seed investment for Eterlast came from Supernode Global, Play Ventures, Active Partners, Stake Capital, Immutable X, and Founders Factory.

“The team have done a fantastic job to date, securing impressive partnerships and IP to integrate with their platform,” said Supernode Global’s Oli Strong.

“In our view, there is a huge opportunity at the intersection of Sport and Web3 and Eterlast is uniquely positioned to capitalise on this.”

Sporting organisations have been exploring partnerships with NFT startups since the technology found mainstream popularity last year. The Premier League is currently in talks for a multi-million-pound deal with several NFT startups.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) recently announced an inquiry into the risks and benefits of NFTs.