- The company’s recent $6 million seed round was co-led by Khosla Ventures and Kindred Ventures
- “Money should always be growing and money should always be spendable,” Seashell’s founder and CEO tells Blockworks
Fintech company Seashell has launched an app that offers up to 10% interest to users as it looks to grow further following a $6 million funding round.
The Seattle-based company has created Seashell Save, which allows users to transfer money from their bank accounts and start earning steady interest.
The offering provides up to 10% interest on the funds, and users can redeem money at any time without fees or penalties, the firm said in a Thursday announcement.
Daryl Hok, the former chief operating officer of CertiK, a smart contract auditing firm, created Seashell — named for one of the earliest forms of payment — to address issues he began to see materialize in the growing crypto market.
“Our approach of who we’re trying to target as our user base is not necessarily crypto people, because the bigger problem at hand is the inflation problem and the lack thereof of savings problem,” Hok told Blockworks in an email.
“Real yields are able to be had, but the normal person doesn’t know how to do it.”
The average interest rate for savings accounts in the US is 0.06%, according to a recent survey of institutions by Bankrate.
Meanwhile, bitcoin and ether saw gains Wednesday following the release of December’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) data. The CPI rose 7% year-over-year in December for all items, according to the report.
Seashell puts users’ funds into a diversified strategy, investing it into assets like gold, as well as stablecoins, which attract borrowers who are willing to pay higher interest fees.
The company announced a $6 million seed funding round co-led by Khosla Ventures and Kindred Ventures. Other round participants included Coinbase Ventures, Vlad Tenev, Robinhood’s co-founder and CEO, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, investor Elad Gil and J. Christopher Giancarlo, former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
“Smart savers should strongly consider using Seashell as a simple solution to beat rising prices,” Cuban said in a statement. “Due to inflation, prices have risen [7%] over the past year — the largest increase since 1982, leaving consumers searching for alternatives to bank interest rates, which have been trapped well below 1%.
Seashell has built the ability to access the best yields from a variety of blockchains, Hok said, noting that other investors in Seashell include the founders of Terra, Polygon, Avalanche and Solana.
The $6 million in funding will go toward additional hiring, as well as marketing and the development of potential future products, such as a direct deposit feature and budgeting tools, Hok explained.
“Our broader vision is to have a singular platform in which merchants and consumers are both on,” the Seashell founder added. “We want to enable two simple promises for money, which is that money should always be growing and money should always be spendable.”
Seashell is looking to compete against the [non-crypto] neobanks, Hok said.
“When a consumer has moved to Chime, or another neobank, then they’re in search for higher yields,” he explained. Unfortunately, those yields aren’t actually high — they’re using the same financial system as old banks, and they’re just calling it ‘neo’ because they have fewer people involved and no physical presence.”
Unlike crypto-focused companies offering high yields, Seashell looks to appeal to the masses, as Hok noted that it does not have the word “DeFi” on its website.
“It doesn’t focus on decentralization or tokens or things that are a little bit complex to the normal user, but rather we want to have a good customer experience, good customer service, a very good mobile application,” he said.
“As simple as Robinhood, as an example, for the masses, but now plugging into the benefits of crypto and DeFi.”
Unlike other high-yield products in the market, Hok added, Seashell is particularly focused on US compliance.
Though how regulation around digital assets will evolve remains to be seen, Hok said some crypto companies may not be ready from potential harsher rules from regulators such as the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).
“We want to do the slow and steady, but legitimate approach,” he said, “so that we’ll always be available regardless of what happens this year on the regulatory side.”
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