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zkLend Raises $5M to Launch Money Market Protocol on StarkNet

The company’s first funding round will help it launch a money market protocol on the Ethereum Layer 2 network StarkNet.

zkLend Raises $5M to Launch Money Market Protocol on StarkNet
Shutterstock cover by zblaster

Key Takeaways

  • zkLend has raised $5 million in a seed funding round led by Delphi Digital to develop a money market protocol on StarkNet.
  • StarkNet is a ZK-Rollup-based Layer 2 scaling solution on Ethereum built by Israeli crypto unicorn StarkWare.
  • zkLend will feature two money market products, Artemis and Apollo, to cater to both DeFi users and whitelisted institutional users.

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zkLend, a money market protocol building on StarkNet, has raised $5 million in a seed funding round led by Delphi Digital.

zkLend Closes $5M Seed Round

zkLend to launch two money market products on StarkNet.

Today, zkLend announced that it raised $5 million via a seed funding round led by venture capital firm Delphi Digital, with participation from StarkWare, Three Arrows Capital, Alameda Research, CMS, and Genesis Block Ventures.

A Tuesday press release stated that zkLend would use the money to develop and launch two money market products, dubbed Artemis and Apollo, on StarkWare’s Ethereum Layer 2 network, StarkNet. Artemis will be a permissionless money market protocol geared toward regular DeFi users similar to Aave, while Apollo will be a permissioned, KYC, and AML-compliant solution for institutional and corporate users. Artemis is expected to launch later this year, and Apollo is due out in early 2023.

Commenting on the $5 million seed round, zkLend co-founder Jane Ma said:

“ZK-Rollups are the ultimate solution to true Ethereum scaling—where security is guaranteed by math, not people. Building our next-generation money market protocol on StarkNet means that we inherit Ethereum’s security and decentralization while leveraging ZK-Rollup’s massive scalability potential. It means that permissionless and secure financial services that put individual sovereignty first are within reach for the first time. Given the passionate StarkNet community, we are certain that this will be the future L2.”

StarkNet is an Ethereum Layer 2 scaling solution built by the four-year-old Israeli crypto startup StarkWare, which recently hit a $6 billion valuation after raising $100 million in a Series D funding round led by Sequoia. It leverages ZK-Rollup technology to help Ethereum achieve an order of magnitude higher transaction throughput with reduced gas costs by a factor of 100 to 200. According to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, ZK-Rollups like StarkNet could help the network scale from 20 to over 100,000 transactions per second.

Besides benefiting from StarkNet’s high throughput and incredibly low transaction fees, zkLend will feature several innovations in the money markets domain, including double-sided borrowing & collateralization factors, protocol-to-protocol lending, variable interest fees. It will also feature a native governance token, ZEND, allowing users to participate in governance and earn a portion of the revenue generated by the protocol through staking.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this feature owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.

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