Crypto funding: Firms concentrated heavily in DeFi sector raise $50M

DeFi is king this week with one major standout in the digital payments arena

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In Green/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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This week, 14 crypto startups secured funding amounting to $49.9 million. Six of these startups opted to keep their totals under wraps, however.

A digital payments provider called dtcpay brought in about a third of the disclosed venture funding at $16.5 million. The pre-Series A round was led by Kwee Liong Tek, the chair of Singaporean luxury real estate developer Pontiac Land Group. Other investors hailed from The Carlyle Group, McKinsey and KPMG.

Dtcpay acquired a license to run digital payment token services less than a year ago from the Monetary Authority of Singapore back when it was still branded as Digital Treasures Center.

Established in 2019, the Singapore-based company specializes in providing payment solutions for both traditional fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies. Additionally, it enables customers to convert fiat into digital currencies and vice versa. With this round of funding, dtcpay plans to continue pursuing its vision to bridge the gap between traditional businesses and Web3 by streamlining its payment experience.

Kanny Lee, the group CEO of dtcpay, said in a statement that he’s eager to work with some of the hospitality brands in Pontiac Land Group’s portfolio, including the Ritz-Carlton and Conrad Hotels in Singapore.

“We are excited about the prospect of working with globally renowned hospitality brands to open the door to their customers for digital payments,” Lee said. 

A focus on DeFi

Decentralized finance had two major fundraisers this week. One was Neutron, a blockchain network that raised $10 million in a seed round. Binance Labs and CoinFund were the lead investors with participation from ​​Delphi Ventures, LongHash and Nomad.

Neutron launched in May of this year on Replicated Security, after over 90% of Cosmos Hub community members gave the network the green light. It was designed to bring smart contracts onto the Cosmos blockchain through CosmWasm (Cosmos WebAssembly).

A statement from Neutron said the funds will be used to further develop key software. Avril Dutheil, the general manager of Neutron, added a little more context about the ongoing project, referencing “consumer chains.”

“The Cosmos Hub is currently undergoing a major technological and narrative shift with the release of Replicated Security,” Dutheil said in a statement. “This feature will enable the Hub to onboard ‘consumer chains’, blockchains which benefit from the full economic security of the Cosmos Hub.”

In a separate funding round this week, DeFi infrastructure provider Maverick Protocol successfully raised $9 million. Noteworthy participants in this capital raise included Founders Fund, Pantera Capital, Binance Labs, Coinbase Ventures, and Apollo Crypto.

According to a statement provided to Blockworks, Maverick will be focusing on the creation of efficient liquid staking token infrastructure, deploying on new chains and “solving cross-chain liquidity inefficiencies.”

Maverick launched in March of this year with its decentralized exchange. The DEX is powered by its native automated market maker (AMM) and has more than $37 million in total value locked, according to the company.

Other notable fundraises

  • Kaito, a startup with the goal of building an AI-powered search engine for crypto traders, raised $5.5 million at an $87.5 million valuation. Superscrypt and Spartan led the round.
  • Institutional crypto staking firm Northstake locked down about $3 million from investors PreSeed Ventures, Morph Capital and others.
  • Earn Network, a DeFi staking marketplace, took in $2.7 million with Shima Capital as its lead investor.
  • Anomica Brands subsidiary Anichess wrapped up a $1.5 million seed round to create a decentralized chess game with esports-like elements thrown in.
  • Binance Labs announced a Web3 incubation program and selected five firms to invest in. They were Bracket Labs, DappOS, Kryptoskatt, Mind Network and zkPass.
  • Reserve Protocol, a self-service, permissionless platform designed for users to create their own asset-backed stablecoins, is set to deploy a $20 million strategic investment in in the Convex Finance (CVX), Curve Finance (CRV), and Stake DAO (SDT) governance ecosystems.

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