Northstake, a cryptocurrency staking platform aimed at institutional investors, raised 2.8 million euros ($3 million) from PreSeed Ventures, Morph Capital, The Aventures Fund, Funfair Ventures and Delta Blockchain Fund.
The Copenhagen-based company, which saw over $80 million in crypto assets staked in 2022, takes care of the legal and technical sides of staking – the process of supporting a public blockchain such as Ethereum by posting collateral to the network in return for yield – in a regulatory compliant manner.
There are great expectations within crypto for financial institutions to get some exposure to staking crypto, particularly now that Ethereum, the second largest blockchain, has transitioned to a proof-of-stake consensus system.
Northstake simplifies the process while keeping compliance in mind through partnerships with custody technology firm Fireblocks and blockchain analytics provider Chainalysis. The Danish firm is courting interest from sovereign wealth funds and the like, CEO Jesper Johansen said.
“Institutional investors at the asset manager level, at the sovereign fund level are looking at this and trying to figure out what staking is and where does the yield come from,” Johansen said in an interview with CoinDesk. “It's significant that, in this round that we raised, one of our ultimate beneficial owners is ATP, a state-owned pension fund in Denmark and one of the largest asset managers in Europe.”
Northstake is focused on vanilla staking products, as opposed to complex decentralized staking protocols offered by providers like Lido or Rocketpool, Johansen said. That's because institutions can’t handle anti-money laundering (AML) risks associated with not knowing who a staking counterparty is, he said, or what type of funds are being funneled through smart contracts.
Kavita Gupta, the founder of Delta Blockchain Fund and an adviser to Northstake, said in a statement: “At Delta, we are bullish on institutional staking services as it allows them to realize the full potential of holding crypto by earning passive income, supporting the network and holding tokens beyond just having them sit as the speculative asset on the balance sheet.”
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