DeFi Trading App Dharma Now Connects Directly to US Bank Accounts

The startup for trading in decentralized finance (DeFi), Dharma, has now enabled automated clearing house (ACH) purchases in 13 U.S. states.

Nov 2, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:26 a.m. UTC

The startup for trading in decentralized finance (DeFi), Dharma, has now enabled automated clearing house (ACH) purchases in 13 U.S. states.

ACH enables direct transfers from U.S. bank accounts so that users can go straight from holdings in U.S. currencies to cryptocurrencies. Purchasing tokens from a bank account incurs a 1.5% fee and there’s a limit of $25,000 in purchases per week.

With the new feature, Dharma is betting it can stand out in the crypto space by making accessing blockchains easier, in much the same way Coinbase did.

“Making an investment in DeFi has, up until now, been a bifurcated and highly technical process. Now, it’s as easy as downloading an app and connecting your bank account,” Dharma CEO Nadav Hollander said in a press release.

Dharma will offer all the assets available on Uniswap, covering gas fees for all users. Users can also trade between cryptocurrencies within the Dharma app.

To access ACH services, Dharma is using the API of financial services company Plaid, Hollander told CoinDesk via email. “We are processing ACH transfers through a direct partnership with a well-known bank active in the crypto space,” he added, without disclosing the bank’s name.

When announcing its funding round in February 2019, Dharma was focused on lending over Ethereum. It shifted to stablecoin-based savings in Summer 2019. It then introduced trading in July 2020.

Purchases from bank accounts are available in the following U.S. states: Arizona, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

“Our goal in building ‘the Robinhood of crypto’ is to bridge the final gap between these blossoming markets and the millions of individuals who will want to tap into them as they gain popularity and mindshare,” Hollander said.

The move comes on the heels of a Uniswap governance proposal put forth by Dharma being defeated over the weekend. 

Update (Nov. 2, 16:56 UTC): Adds information on how Dharma is processing its ACH transfers.

Update (Nov. 2, 17:21 UTC): After initial publication, Dharma notified CoinDesk it had secured clearance to provide ACH services in three additional states, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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