- Maple Finance “is the rails on which the lending business of the future will be running,” the CEO said
- Traditional asset managers are showing increased interest in lending to crypto miners
Crypto lender Maple Finance has surpassed $1 billion in loans in relatively short order and is now looking to connect crypto mining borrowers with traditional asset managers willing to float voluminous loans.
The company offers undercollateralized lending infrastructure for institutional lenders and corporate borrowers.
Founded in May 2021, Maple hit the $1 billion mark in 10 months following its largest loan — $77.5 million — to digital assets quantitative trading firm Alameda Research.
“We are excited about the growth on the platform over the past year and we look forward to continuing to originate new loans with the Maple team,” an Alameda spokesperson told Blockworks in an email.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of crypto exchange FTX, founded Alameda in 2017 in an effort to provide liquidity via market-making to digital asset markets.
Maple aggregates loans on behalf of large borrowers. Rather than a borrower negotiating deals and maintaining contact with a dozen prospective lenders, one entity assesses the borrower’s risk and manages a collateralized asset pool.
Maple CEO Sid Powell told Blockworks that the company’s pools provide an “evergreen source of capital.”
“Alameda doesn’t have to go and find those parties — the delegate does that,” Powell said. “And Alameda doesn’t have to manage individual relationships; they just have to have one point of contact.”
Institutions looking to source yield through lending often don’t know where to start, he added, saying many lack the crypto-native know-how to negotiate an annual percentage yield (APY) or lack the bandwidth to properly source counterparties.
The future of lending?
Maple “is the rails on which the lending business of the future will be running,” Powell said, because the startup offers a comparably low-cost way to gain exposure to the growing field of blockchain-based fixed-income products.
A high-performing underwriter or risk assessor at a company such as JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs can leverage their expertise and relationships to run a Maple pool, according to Powell.
“You don’t have to go out and raise $200 million by talking to 20 different institutions or family offices,” he said. “You can set up the next Genesis, Celsius or PIMCO yourself.”
Crypto lender Celsius recently became the first centralized finance institution to deploy its services on Maple. Celsius last month moved to issue and manage under-collateralized loans from a $30 million pool of wrapped ether (WETH) for the first time.
A future focus on miners
Maple Finance is targeting $5 billion in originated loans by the end of this year.
About $3 billion is projected to come from Maple’s existing business, while $1 billion would come from its Maple Solana offering, set to launch at the end of the month.
In January, Maple unveiled its bid to acquire DeFi lending protocol Avari to expedite the platform’s launch on the Solana blockchain. Daniel Kim, Maple’s head of capital markets, said at the time Solana “has uniquely captured the interest of the largest capital markets participants.”
The remaining projected $1 billion in loans is expected to come from institutions lending to miners. Traditional asset managers and banks — even if they’re reluctant to invest directly in crypto — are showing an increasing interest to act as a counterparty for such loans, Powell said, adding that there’s a particular appetite for US miners tapping renewable energy.
Maple is targeting a lending pool for miners, initially amounting to $100 million or $200 million, by the end of the second quarter.
“Because it’s the oldest crypto industry, it’s the one that most people are familiar with and one that we see some of the highest levels of appetite for,” Powell said.
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