Pantera Leads $18M Round for Rift’s Liquidity Mining Alternative

The startup, which is coming out of stealth mode, offers protocol-based liquidity to DAOs that creates a better incentive model.

Feb 8, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. UTC

Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

Rift Finance, which offers protocol-based liquidity to decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO), has emerged from stealth with an $18 million funding round led by Pantera Capital, according to a press release provided to CoinDesk. The valuation of the firm after the funding was not disclosed.

Other participants in the round included Coinbase Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, Spartan Group, Defiance Capital, Hashed, Jump Capital, Vessel Capital and Morningstar Ventures.

DAOs, which are organized around a core mission and shared treasury, often issue tokens for governance and utility purposes, and also use the tokens to incentivize user deposits, a process called liquidity mining. Critics have said that liquidity mining offers imperfect incentivization and attracts temporary “farmers” who soak up the rewards and leave when the well runs dry.

Rift instead allows DAOs to deploy governance tokens from their treasuries without giving up ownership. The Rift protocol then creates liquidity pools by pairing a governance token with ether from retail and institutional depositors who receive high yield for their participation.

“Protocols have limited tools to generate sustainable liquidity for their network, which is a critical objective throughout their entire lifecycle. It has become unsustainable for projects to rely solely on liquidity mining, which is expensive and attracts mercenary capital to their ecosystem,” said Two Sigma Ventures principal Andy Kangpan in a press release. “Rift will usher in a new era for any tokenized organization looking to generate sustainable liquidity.”

Last year, Rift launched its beta product with a select group of DAOs on the Ethereum mainnet, including Fantom, Terra, Injective and Ramp. The beta reached its $50 million total value locked (TVL) cap within days.

On Tuesday, Rift opened the early access waitlist for depositors looking for high yield exposure to DAOs on the Rift ecosystem. The near-term roadmap includes plans to expand across additional layer 1 blockchains.

Rift was founded by Austin King and Tyler Tarsi. King previously founded Strata Labs, a crypto payments infrastructure company acquired by Ripple. Tarsi once built proprietary quant algorithms for institutional lending and borrowing desks at hedge funds.

Rift is among a growing number of protocols offering an alternative to liquidity mining. Stablecoin project Fei is working with protocol Ondo Finance to build a product that pairs native governance tokens with Fei stablecoins to create liquidity pools. Meanwhile, Olympus DAO, a decentralized reserve currency, has the Olympus Pro program that pairs liquidity pools with bonds.

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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