Kava Labs Launches Protocol Upgrade With Eye on Institutional DeFi Lending

New features from DeFi platform Kava look to get large bitcoin holders to lend – though the firm admits it could be a tall order.

AccessTimeIconApr 8, 2021 at 6:03 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 3:17 a.m. UTC

Decentralized finance (DeFi) firm Kava Labs is offering a protocol upgrade dubbed “Kava 5” that gives users of apps built on Kava access to new features. 

Kava Labs said Thursday the upgrade to its infrastructure, built on the Cosmos SDK, means there are a number of performance improvements for users, allowing them to borrow against multiple cryptocurrency assets and earn staking rewards.

The move comes at a time when DeFi is finding its legs on blockchains beyond its traditional home, Ethereum.

“This upgrade will finalize the transition of Kava as a single application blockchain to an industry-leading DeFi platform complete with interoperable cross-chain tooling, secure price feeds and enterprise-grade reliability that financial institutions can trust,” Kava Labs CEO Brian Kerr told CoinDesk.

Additionally, Kerr told CoinDesk the upgrade will also complete the Hard protocol, the first cross-chain money market built on Kava’s platform that offers lending, borrowing and yield on cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, XRP and BNB.

The upgrade is aimed squarely at institutional investors and corporate treasuries, according to documents shared with CoinDesk, touting the ability for firms to get 25% APY on their bitcoin without counterparty risk. While the risk of traditional players not fulfilling their lending obligations is obviated, it should be noted that smart-contract risk and other factors certainly remain in play.

“Convincing the institutions that hold Bitcoin to explore DeFi options will be a tall order,” Kava Labs admitted in a statement.


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