Solana DeFi Major Serum’s ‘Incentive Ecosystem Foundation’ Is Raising $100M

The protocol that undergirds much of DeFi on Solana is raising funds to expand operations, and about $70 million has been committed so far.

AccessTimeIconJan 7, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 7:12 p.m. UTC

Having emerged from the shadow of former parent company FTX, Serum is now looking to soar.

The team behind one of Solana’s largest projects is midway through a $100 million fundraising to expand operations. According to a press release provided to CoinDesk, the Incentive Ecosystem Foundation, the legal entity staffing the team behind the orderbook-based decentralized exchange, is raising the funds to hire and move into new product verticals, including “NFTs, gaming, metaverse and DAO tooling.”

  • NEAR Launches Multichain Access
    15:12
    NEAR Launches Multichain Access
  • DeFi Market Rebounds to $50B as Speculators Hunt for Yield
    01:11
    DeFi Market Rebounds to $50B as Speculators Hunt for Yield
  • How Spool Is Aiming to Help Institutions Enter DeFi
    11:05
    How Spool Is Aiming to Help Institutions Enter DeFi
  • How a New Tax Proposal From the IRS Could Impact DeFi
    00:46
    How a New Tax Proposal From the IRS Could Impact DeFi
  • So far the round includes participation from Commonwealth Asset Management LP, Tagus, Tiger Global and executives at Golden Tree Asset Management.

    According to pseudonymous Serum core contributor JHL, the Incentive Ecosystem Foundation is an entity used to give contributors salaries and benefits. It will also manage the Serum Ecosystem Fund, which holds tokens in the Serum and Solana ecosystem, including projects like Raydium and Bonfida.

    Buyers in the round received both Serum’s SRM tokens as well as a portion of the ecosystem fund, with 85% going into the fund.

    Ecosystem funds are a growing trend among major projects. The funds source deals within their particular ecosystem, fostering early-stage companies and sending tokens from those projects to fund liquidity providers. One recent example is Avalanche’s $100 million “Blizzard Fund.”

    JHL told CoinDesk that the fundraising is still ongoing.

    “In committed capital, we’re right around $70 million,” he said, adding that the investments are locked for one year with a linear vesting schedule over an additional five years.

    The raise comes at a time when Serum is attempting to “further decentralize from the Alameda and FTX family,” JHL said. It also comes as the crypto markets are tanking, with Solana’s SOL among the top losers in recent days.

    “Serum was originally founded by [FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried], and at the time most of the contributors to Serum were employees of Alameda and FTX. Over time, both due to the evolving regulatory landscape as well as the desire to include the community further in Serum’s future, we’ve now decentralized Serum – it has its own employees, it’s completely separate in a legal sense and in every way possible,” he said.

    The Incentive Ecosystem Foundation will use the funds to help Serum become a self-sufficient entity and expand operations. Per JHL, the team is currently “five-to-10 people, really,” and a major use of the funding will be to expand the marketing and technical teams.

    Amid a broader crypto selloff, SRM is down 2.3% on the day to $3.15.

    Disclosure

    Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

    CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

    Andrew Thurman

    Andrew Thurman was a tech reporter at CoinDesk with a focus on DeFi.


    Read more about