0x Labs, the firm behind a decentralized exchange (DEX) protocol and the ZRX token, has closed a $15 million Series A equity round led by Pantera Capital.
“We view 0x Labs as a holistic investment in the DEX space,” 0x’s Clay Robbins told CoinDesk in a phone call.
Additional participants in the round included Jump Capital, Blockchain Ventures, Coinbase Ventures and others.
The new round comes off the successful launching of 0x’s DEX router, Matcha, which came out in June and has processed $2.7 billion in orders. “The key thing we’re focused on is expansion of Matcha globally,” Robbins said.
The funds will also be used to further build out 0x Labs’ trading desk business, Periscope Trading; the professional-grade aggregation service, 0x API (which underlies offerings from companies such as ShapeShift, MetaMask and Zapper); and furthering its work on the underlying open-source protocol.
Which way did he go?
0x Labs offers its products without fees because they drive usage of the underlying 0x protocol and its ZRX token. Since version 3.0 of the 0x protocol, the ZRX token has become something market makers can stake in order to earn liquidity rewards. Overall, the protocol has seen $15 billion in trading volume, according to the company.
“In aggregate since the launch of these mechanics a little over a million dollars has been remitted to these holders. That currently represents about a 10% APY [annual percentage yield],” Robbins said.
As trading now drives value to the ZRX token, that remains 0x Labs core business model. As the creators of the 0x initial coin offering (ICO), the company remains a significant holder of ZRX.
ZRX was last noteworthy in decentralized finance (DeFi) circles in the early days of COMP liquidity mining, when it was a big gainer for staking and borrowing on Compound’s money market. So much so that governance moved to actually change the rules around how COMP returns were disbursed.
The token seems to be coming into its own, though. ZRX, like many other DeFi tokens, has seen outsize gains in recent weeks. Su Zhu of Three Arrows Capital has argued this is because the market is realizing that these tokens represent real value being added in the market:
Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match
Routing DeFi transactions is a tricky thing, like deciding which route to take through a busy city. You have to make a choice but there’s no way to know you made the right one.
0x attempted to give users confidence that its proprietary routing software is worthy of their trust by running a lot of transactions across different routing protocols to compare results. A 0x Labs report from October contends that 0x’s routing architecture delivered the best overall price seven times out of 10.
The one thing Robbins said that 0x is not working on with this new round is a new token. It is not going to do an airdrop of a Matcha token to past users, like its competitor 1inch did in December, or launch a liquidity mining program to attract customers.
“We feel it would be somewhat redundant and unnecessary to add a Matcha-specific token given that the protocol already has ZRX,” Robbins said.