Lightspeed, Pantera Join $20M Raise for Crypto Market Maker Wintermute

The Series B will fund a push into Asia and the launch of a derivatives business.

Jan 20, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:58 a.m. UTC

London-based Wintermute, an algorithmic liquidity provider for digital assets, closed a $20 million Series B led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from Pantera Capital. 

Other investors joining the round include Sino Global Capital, Kenetic Capital, Rockaway Blockchain Fund, Hack VC, DeFi Alliance and Avon Ventures, a venture capital fund affiliated with FMR LLC, the parent company of Fidelity Investments. 

Announced Wednesday, Wintermute plans to use the funding to open its first international office in Singapore in the first quarter of this year, spearheading a general push into Asia, the company said.

The company also plans to launch a derivatives business and offer RFQ or “request-for-quote” services for counterparties, typically used for trading illiquid markets. 

RFQ is basically an automated version of Wintermute’s over-the-counter trading business and something the firm was “literally pulled into” by its counterparties, according to Wintermute COO Marina Gurevich.

“We were doing a lot of OTC transactions with various institutional counterparties and many of them were asking us to offer RFQ so they could trade more with us,” Gurevich said via email. “With institutional demand for OTC growing in December, we’ve seen demand accelerate, so we were doing pilots and are launching Beta RFQ now.”

Founded in 2017, Wintermute provides liquidity on more than 500 spot trading pairs, on dYdX perpetual swaps and a handful of crypto exchange-traded products (ETPs) from 21Shares. As well as centralized exchanges and OTC, Wintermute is focused on the burgeoning world of decentralized finance (DeFi).

Gurevich said Wintermute will look to provide liquidity to decentralized exchanges (DEXs) that the firm believes in, even if their volumes are low. 

“We work with many DeFi projects supporting liquidity of their tokens on CeFi exchanges. We don't charge fees and we partner with the projects we believe can have an impact long-term,” Gurevich said. “We help projects start AMMs [automated market makers] and support liquidity there. We work with DEX aggregators to provide liquidity directly and this is what we believe will grow in future.”

Back in July 2020, Wintermute raised $2.8 million in funding from Lightspeed. Over the course of last year, the company said it has seen explosive trading volumes, growing at a 60% monthly rate and reaching $30 billion monthly trading volume by December.

As part of today’s announcement, Jeremy Liew, partner at Lightspeed, will join Wintermute's board of directors.

"Wintermute has grown almost 25x since we led the Series A round just six months ago,” Liew said in a press statement. “That rarely happens.” 

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