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Alameda Research, Polychain Capital Back 'CeFi DeFi' Crypto Exchange AscendEx

AscendEX has raised $50 million in a Series B funding round led by Polychain Capital and Hack VC and backed by Alameda Research.

3 min read
DeFi investments. Image: Shutterstock

AscendEX, a Singapore-based crypto trading platform, has today announced it raised $50 million in a Series B round. Co-led by Polychain Capital and Hack VC, the fundraise also saw participation from Jump Capital and Alameda Research, and valued the company at $455 million.

Other investors in the round include Uncorrelated Ventures, Eterna Capital, Acheron Trading, Nothing Research, and Palm Drive Capital.

Launched as BitMax in 2018 and rebranded in March this year, AscendEX offers cryptocurrency futures and spot trading, custody, and staking services for both retail and institutional clients. According to the company, its current user base exceeds one million globally.

In addition, AscendEX is known for initial exchange offerings (IEOs) with projects like Serum, the Solana-based DeFi platform, offline mapping application Maps.me, and decentralized cloud computing marketplace Akash Network among the projects that opted for the platform’s launchpad.

“AscendEX is a leader in transitioning crypto projects from primary to secondary markets, as seen through the continued success of the tokens listed on the exchange,” said Olaf Carlson-Wee, Founder & CEO at Polychain Capital. “We look forward to deepening our collaboration with AscendEX by providing insights into evolving industry trends and providing guidance on top-tier projects to list on the exchange.”

The company said that it plans to use the fresh capital to accelerate international market entry, especially in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, as well as to expand its internal management team.

More DeFi innovation

Another area of focus for the exchange is further expansion and development of decentralized finance (DeFi) products, specifically focused on yield generating protocols, said Shane Molidor, global head of business development at AscendEX.

As described on the company’s website, AscendEX Earn is a central hub for staking and yield farming, as well as for products based on the exchange’s native token ASD. The offering “empowers users to extract the maximum value from their crypto holdings” through locking up specific tokens and contributing them to projects where the funds are used for different protocol functions that generate returns.

“Building a bridge to the DeFi ecosystem has allowed AscendEX to differentiate itself from other cryptocurrency exchanges and has made the platform a popular destination for innovative DeFi projects,” said Molidor.

Commenting on the fundraise, George Cao, CEO and co-founder of AscendEX, stressed the importance of backing from players like Polychain Capital, the San Francisco-based investment firm founded by former Coinbase employee Olaf-Carson Wee, and Alameda Research, which was founded by Sam Bankman-Fried, the billionaire CEO of crypto exchange FTX.

According to Cao, both Polychain and Alameda are among “the most prolific investors in the industry” and active catalysts of the DeFi ecosystem.

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