Investors Flock to India's DeFi Scene Months After Central Bank Ban Overturned

DeFi protocols UniLend Finance and PlotX announced Tuesday they had both successfully completed their seed rounds.

Sep 29, 2020 at 2:17 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:02 a.m. UTC

Six months after India's highest court overturned a banking ban on crypto companies, investors have jumped at the chance to back decentralized finance (DeFi) projects hailing from the subcontinent.

  • DeFi protocols UniLend Finance and PlotX announced Tuesday they had both successfully completed their seed rounds.
  • UniLend, a lending protocol, raised $3.1 million in a round led by Woodstock Fund, which includes data oracle provider, Band Protocol, in its portfolio.
  • (Disclosure: The author of this article has previously worked for one of the investors in UniLend, but has no current relationship.)
  • Meanwhile, DeFi prediction market platform PlotX raised $2.4 million in seed, including a commit from NGC, whose portfolio ranges from Algorand and Zilliqa.
  • The appeal of DeFi for investors has rapidly grown, as total value locked (TVL) increased more than tenfold over the summer, according to DeFi Pulse.
  • Just in the past couple of weeks, Linear Finance has finalized a $1.8 million seed round, and Dune Analytics, which specializes in providing data on the DeFi space, raised $2 million.
  • The raises for UniLend and PlotX come as the local cryptocurrency industry is finding its feet again after the Supreme Court of India overturned a two-year ban, imposed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), that prevented cryptocurrency companies from accessing mainstream financial services.
  • Speaking to CoinDesk, a UniLend spokesperson said the lifting of the ban had been part of a broader thaw, as India's government becomes "increasingly progressive" on the question of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
  • The spokesperson added that investors are turning to India as the hub for promising new blockchain projects.
  • "With such a strong base of developer talent and a rapidly growing community of crypto enthusiasts, India is poised to become a leading hub of blockchain innovation and people are increasingly recognizing this," they said.
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