Ex-Sushi CTO Raises $8M for NFT Lending Platform Astaria

The platform, led by CEO Justin Bram and DeFi vet Joseph Delong, aims to provide instant liquidity for your JPEGs and should be available to the public by September.

AccessTimeIconJun 20, 2022 at 1:01 p.m. UTC
Updated Jun 20, 2022 at 4:15 p.m. UTC

Cam Thompson is a news reporter at CoinDesk.

Non-fungible token (NFT) lending platform and liquidity engine Astaria has raised $8 million in seed funding to build during the bear.

The round included True Ventures, Arrington Capital, Ethereal Ventures, Wintermute, Genesis Trading, LedgerPrime, Hypersphere Ventures, The LAO and many others. (Genesis is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which also owns CoinDesk.)

Astaria allows users to put up their NFTs as collateral to earn instant liquidity. According to co-founder and CEO Justin Bram, the recent dip in NFT sales followed by signals of a bear market makes Astaria’s services attractive for NFT owners looking to earn passive income on their digital assets.

“We’re very bullish on NFTs and bringing real assets in the future,” Bram told CoinDesk, when asked about current trends in NFT markets. “Over the next three to five years our hope is that we will expand well beyond art-based NFTs and profile picture NFTs.”

Users who put their NFTs up as collateral can use Astaria to take out loans in ether (ETH). According to co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Joseph Delong, a crypto veteran who previously led decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Sushi and worked at ConsenSys, Astaria will eventually integrate multiple chains beyond Ethereum to support loans in other cryptocurrencies.

“We know Ethereum will be here in three, five years. We don’t know which other layer 1s [blockchains] will be. We don’t know which layer 2s [companion systems] will succeed,” said Bram on the topic of cross-chain expansion.

The market for NFT lending services has grown over the past year, with companies such as NFTfi and Arcade providing peer-to-peer lending services. Astaria differs in that it will not mandate two-way approvals, in an effort to make transactions more efficient.

According to Bram, Astaria plans to use the funding round to expand its current eight-person team. He says the platform’s public launch could come as early as September.

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Cam Thompson is a news reporter at CoinDesk.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Cam Thompson is a news reporter at CoinDesk.