Solana-Based Perpetual Swaps DEX Drift Protocol Raises $3.8M

Multicoin Capital led the decentralized exchange’s funding round with Jump and Alameda also participating.

Oct 26, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 26, 2021 at 2:38 p.m. UTC

Venture cash keeps pumping into Solana-based decentralized finance (DeFi), as crypto derivatives exchange Drift Protocol is the latest to benefit with a $3.8 million seed round of funding.

Multicoin Capital led the token sale with crypto trading firms Jump Capital and Alameda Research joining the round, among others. Their participation highlights market makers’ appetite for exposure to Solana’s still-nascent decentralized exchange (DEX) scene.

Drift focuses on perpetual swaps, or futures contracts without an expiry. Across all of crypto, that market saw $170 billion in trading volume over the last 24 hours, according to CoinGecko, with the lion’s share riding atop the Ethereum blockchain.

Solana’s $7 billion swaps landscape is much less developed as only a handful of exchanges are participating, and even fewer DEXs. Mango Markets, dYdX and now Drift are competing for traders’ dollars.

Solana DEXs

Cindy Leow, a co-founder of Drift, said her DEX uses a “dynamic automated market maker” to keep the needs of Drift’s liquidity pool in line with market demands. She claimed Drift is more capital-efficient than the automated market makers (AMMs) prevalent on many chains.

In practice, that means the market mechanisms that worked when bitcoin (BTC) was trading at $10,000 may no longer be suitable.

“Who’s going to pay 3% for a 1 BTC trade? That’s ridiculous,” she said. “We have a mechanism that essentially repegs the core of the virtual AMM – where you have the most liquidity, the lowest slippage – back to the current oracle price.”

Drift is set to launch this month with support for SOL, BTC, ETH and Solana ecosystem tokens.

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Danny is CoinDesk's deputy business editor. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.