Near’s largest decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol, Bastion, has closed a $9 million Series A funding round, signaling mounting venture capital interest in the Near ecosystem.
Crypto venture and trading firm Three Arrows Capital led the round, with participation from FTX Ventures, Jump Crypto, Jane Street, Crypto.com Capital, Spartan Group, CMS and Hypersphere. Bastion declined to disclose the round’s valuation.
Bastion is a lending, borrowing and exchange protocol built on Aurora, the Ethereum-compatible layer of the Near blockchain.
The funding round announcement comes on the heels of Bastion’s impending token launch.
Near DeFi 'Legos' click into place
Bastion says it has $620 million in total value locked (TVL) though public data sites place it lower, making it the largest DeFi protocol in the Near ecosystem. The project first launched on March 7 as a fork of Ethereum’s popular lending and borrowing DeFi protocol Compound.
“We have isolated markets,” said Bastion’s pseudonymous founder N^2 (“Near Squared”), who described Bastion as distinct from Compound due to the “separate” lending protocols operating underneath Bastion.
“Compound is restricted in the number of assets it can offer,” N^2 told CoinDesk. “If one asset gets hacked, it can drain the entire pool. Meanwhile, we can compartmentalize.”
N^2 also told CoinDesk that he is doxxed to Bastion investors but he prefers staying pseudonymous to the public in order to “focus on building the product with fewer distractions.”
Near ecosystem hype
The project says it plans to use the new funding towards hiring, marketing, business development and partnerships.
Last month, Bastion closed a $2 million seed round, also at an undisclosed valuation.
Near has attracted a wave of DeFi and investment activity of late, with Tiger Global leading a $350 million raise for the layer 1 blockchain earlier this month.
Near’s NEAR token is up 48% over the past 30 days, compared to paltry 6% and 0% gains for ether (ETH) and bitcoin (BTC), respectively.
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