In brief

  • The Keep Protocol has raised over $7 million for its Ethereum privacy layer solution.
  • Keep is supporting tBTC, a project to build a Bitcoin token on the Ethereum network.
  • tBTC will enable Bitcoin holders to access Decentralized Finance dapps for the first time.

Updated with launch date for tBTC.

tBTC, a much-anticipated Bitcoin token on the Ethereum network, is to launch on April 27, and the project just got a major boost. The Keep Protocol, a privacy layer for Ethereum and a contributor to the tBTC project, today announced that it’s completed a $7.7 million token sale to fund its development.

The private token sale was led by digital asset investment firm Paradigm.

Bringing Bitcoin to DeFi on Ethereum

While tokenizing Bitcoin on Ethereum has been done before, tBTC aims to bring all the benefits of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) to Bitcoin, for the first time. Many proponents, including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, believe it’s long overdue. 

tBTC’s developers, Keep and interoperability solutions provider Summa, are creating a trustless way to bring Bitcoin to Ethereum, via a workaround. Essentially, it will involve a decentralized issuance mechanism between two parties. And central to the project is keeping data private. 

“Privacy has been a big blocker for public blockchains reaching their full potential,” said Paradigm co-founder Fred Ehrsam, in a statement. “Keep is the solution we've been waiting for, to unlock the next stepwise growth in adoption. I am especially excited about tBTC, the first ‘killer app’ supported by the Keep network, that allows people to safely earn with their Bitcoin and take advantage of decentralized finance products built on Ethereum.

Keep is named after its central feature, an off-chain container for private data dubbed a “keep,” which enables contracts to access the Ethereum blockchain privately. Thus, with tBTC, Bitcoin holders can access lending dapps such as Compound and MakerDAO; or save with Dharma Network or Pool Together. Keep also handles custodianship for tBTC.

The protocol’s developer is San Francisco-based venture studio Thesis, which also develops Fold, a mobile application that enables anyone to use Bitcoin at major retailers such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.

But this isn’t Keep’s first token sale. In 2018, the protocol raised $12 million for its KEEP token, with participants included Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, Draper Associates and other leading venture firms.

However, another high profile project, Ren Protocol, which also aims to bring Bitcoin to DeFi in a decentralized way, is also just weeks away from launch. 

Crypto holders are about to be spoilt for choice.