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Led by Tioga Capital and Blocktower Capital, Maple Finance has just announced a fresh $5 million fundraise.
GSR Ventures, Cherry Ventures, Veris Ventures, and The Spartan Group also participated in the round.
“By enabling third-party credit experts to operate and scale lending businesses on-chain, we believe Maple is a natural, value-add gateway for institutions to enter the space and foster sustainable growth in the digital asset market as a whole,” said general partner and head of venture at Blocktower Capital Thomas Klocanas.
Maple Finance lets pool delegates and credit professionals spin up their very own credit facility on the blockchain, opening their services to different borrowers to pull from their pool. In 2021, for example, Icebreaker Finance launched a $300 million lending pool on Maple to help miners hurting in the bear market.
More recently, the platform has rolled out a new pool that lets accredited investors in the United States gain exposure to tokenized treasury bills.
In both examples, Maple is merely the platform atop which these lending pools are launched. The pool delegates and lenders must independently underwrite and verify their risk.
The fresh capital raise will be put to work expanding Maple’s services globally, with the APAC region as a specific target. Various jurisdictions in the region, notably Singapore and Hong Kong, have recently opted for pro-crypto regulations.
Earlier this year, Hong Kong announced it would reopen crypto trading to retail investors, sparking speculation from experts that China would be next. Singapore, for its part, has been actively reigning in the industry by outlining clear rules for operating and issuing licenses to several notable crypto exchanges.
“There's obviously a lot of activity going on in places like Singapore and Hong Kong. We've also seen regulatory clarity, or rather, regulatory support for the sector,” Maple Finance CEO Sidney Powell told Decrypt. “That makes it a really attractive market for us to expand into.”
Maple Finance supercharges newly launched lending desk
Beyond platforming pool creation among third-party firms, Maple is now spinning up its very own pure-play lending arm. And that new money is going into powering its expansion.
Launched in June, Maple Direct offers overcollateralized loans secured by , , and staked Ethereum as collateral.
“Now that now that they've exited, we think that there's an opportunity to go into that market and offer an over-collateralized lending product,” Powell told Decrypt, referring to the exit of last cycle’s key lending players. “It also fits with people's risk appetite. And the way that we can do it differently is that we're doing it transparently on-chain.”
Critically, the borrowed collateral isn’t being rehypothecated–or put back to work in the market to continue generating yield. Instead, says Powell, “it’s just sitting with a qualified, licensed custodian.”
It's a low-risk first step for Maple, but something Powell expects will ramp up.
"We just wanted to start with what we felt had the clearest product market fit. Nobody's doing this product, and it's still going to be in demand," he said. "It's really going to be in demand when the next bull market is around. So we want to kind of build the house now."