Blockchain firm Venom Foundation and Abu Dhabi-based investment manager Iceberg Capital Ltd on Wednesday launched a $1 billion crypto venture fund and said it was leading a $20 million funding round in virtual world platform Nümi Metaverse.

The fund, called Venom Ventures Fund (VVF), aims to invest in early-stage startups focused on payments, asset management, banking services and gaming on Web3, a much-hyped vision of a future internet built on blockchain.

The launch comes at a time when funding for crypto startups has slowed following the global risk off mood and a series of crypto blowups that culminated in the high-profile downfall of FTX and shook investor sentiment.

Cryptocurrencies have crept into the new year, licking their wounds with bitcoin steady at $17,421, after tumbling 64 per cent in 2022.

Venom Ventures fund is chaired by former BlackRock chief investment officer Peter Knez, and will be operated by investment firm Iceberg Capital that is regulated by Abu Dhabi Global Market – the emirate’s international financial center.