OpenSea Acquires Crypto Lending Platform Dharma Labs

With the acquisition, OpenSea intends to accelerate product development and expand into NFTs and Web3


Source: Blockworks


key takeaways

  • OpenSea did not disclose the terms of the deal
  • Dharma’s CEO and Co-founder Nadav Hollander will become OpenSea’s chief technology officer

OpenSea has acquired a cryptocurrency borrowing and lending platform, Dharma Labs, for an undisclosed amount, the company’s Co-founder and CEO Devin Finzer announced in a blog on Tuesday. 

Last year was noteworthy for many companies in the digital assets space due to the mainstream adoption of the industry as a whole. At the same time, the market for NFTs exploded — and Finzer does not expect 2022 to be any different. “As we enter 2022, NFTs are squarely in the center of the public interest — and we’re humbled by the opportunity to help drive the space forward,” he said. 

The Dharma Labs acquisition will help OpenSea, which is the largest NFT marketplace by volume, meet its goals, including accelerating product development; expanding trust, safety and reliability; investing in NFTs and the Web3 ecosystem; and growing its team, Finzer noted in the blog.

“In 2022 and beyond, we’re excited to turn our attention towards the focal point of crypto’s mainstream adoption: NFTs,” Dharma shared in a blog post announcement. “We will be bringing our knowledge, expertise, and technology to OpenSea in order to power a mainstream-friendly way to buy, sell, and mint NFTs. Together, we will push forward the NFT industry,” the now-acquired company said. 

As part of the deal, Dharma’s CEO and Co-founder Nadav Hollander will become OpenSea’s chief technology officer. Hollander is a long-time software engineer and Ethereum community member. He worked at Coinbase and Google prior to leading Dharma for about the past five years, according to his LinkedIn profile

“OpenSea practically grew 1000x overnight,” Hollander said in a series of tweets on Tuesday. “I’m humbled by the opportunity to join OpenSea as CTO at this critical junction. My #1 focus will be helping OpenSea scale to meet the reliability, performance, and uptime benchmarks its users expect and deserve,” he added.

Hollander will replace OpenSea Co-founder and current chief technology officer Alex Atallah, who will move into an externally facing role overseeing its Web3 and NFT ecosystem development efforts. 

Brendan Forster, co-founder and chief operating officer of Dharma, will become OpenSea’s head of strategy and hopes to bring a “Web3-native perspective into product, business, community, and marketing” to the company, according to the company’s blog.

Also as part of the acquisition, Dharma will be sunsetting the Dharma wallet app over the next 30 days. Users must withdraw or sell their Dharma Smart Wallet funds before Feb. 18, 2022, stated the blog.

OpenSea is the largest NFT marketplace by trading volume. It started the New Year off strong, after it secured $300 million in a Series C funding round earlier this month, bringing its post-money valuation to $13.3 billion. It has over 1.26 million active users, 2 million collections and over 80 million NFTs. 

“In 2021, the world woke up to the potential of NFTs to unlock utility and economic empowerment across a vast set of industries, communities and creative categories,” Finzer, previously told Blockworks. “Our vision is to be the destination for these new open digital economies to thrive. We’ll start this year by lowering the barriers to entry to the NFT space on OpenSea and investing in the ecosystem and the community that powers it,” Finzer added.

OpenSea declined to provide additional comments when requested by Blockworks on Tuesday but instead referred to blog posts from Dharma and Finzer for details. 

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