Fireblocks Sees $500M Stampede Into Terra DeFi in First Week

Pent-up demand for Terra’s ecosystem among Fireblocks’ early access program hedge funds and wealthy investors has been “crazy.”

Apr 26, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 26, 2022 at 2:09 p.m. UTC

Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

Cryptocurrency custody specialist Fireblocks said institutional customers stampeded into decentralized finance (DeFi) after it gave them access to Terra, the blockchain ecosystem and issuer of UST, the largest stablecoin behind tether and USDC.

Fireblocks CEO Michael Shaulov said pent-up demand from members of the company’s early access program, including crypto hedge funds, venture capital firms and high net worth individuals, has been “crazy.”

“Once we released the capability to access DeFi on Terra, we’ve seen this kind of crazy demand,” Shaulov said in an interview with CoinDesk. “So over $250 million was deployed in the first 72 hours, and I think it’s exactly a week now and there’s been half a billion dollars of transactions into Terra from our platform.”

The current Terra DeFi access for Fireblocks clients is fully permissionless and is not part of the custody firm’s know-your-customer (KYC) whitelisted DeFi pooling system, recently announced with Aave Arc. That could be in the cards further down the line, Shaulov said.

Founded by South Korea-based Terraform Labs back in 2018, and built on the Cosmos “internet of blockchains,” Terra has grown rapidly from an initial cross-border payments crypto in the form of the LUNA token, to span stablecoins, DeFi, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and gaming. Fireblocks began working with Terra as far back as December 2020.

Terra boasts some 4 million unique wallets and has seen 400% user growth in the past two years, with over $30 billion of total locked value, according to DeFiLama.

The expansion has seen the project look to bolster the algorithmic UST stablecoin (a smart contract keeps the price anchored to $1 by burning LUNA tokens in order to mint new UST tokens) by buying $1.6 billion reserves of bitcoin (BTC), and pledging to purchase a further $10 billion.

Still, grafting bitcoin reserves onto UST’s algorithmic stablecoin apparatus has been flagged up as a cause for concern by some financial experts. Fireblocks’ Shaulov said his custody platform is not involved in Terra’s bitcoin treasury management – which is overseen by the Luna Foundation Guard – but he takes a philosophical view when it comes to risk and innovation.

“Fireblocks’ mission is to provide secure access to well informed investors who have done their due diligence, follow that demand and understand where innovation is heading,” Shaulov said. “You don’t need me to say the model around stablecoins and specifically what Terra is doing is somewhat experimental. If you’re asking me if there is a place for this innovation around stablecoins, I think that the answer to that is yes.”

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Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

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Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

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